Human rights: Food for a detrimental thought
Human Rights Reader 394
CAN WE GET AWAY FROM SPURIOUS MYTHS SUCH AS HUMAN RIGHTS NOT HAVING UNIVERSALITY AND LEGITIMACY?
Human rights are not just the prerogative of prosperous nations; (neither are social protection institutions). (M. Loewe).
1. A widespread lack of understanding-of and misperceptions-about human rights (HR) is one of the mother-of-all-problems we have in our work. Therefore, in our HR work, we absolutely need to vernacularize, to give meaning and to frame HR so people can understand and then take ownership of their rights. The information most needed in this is the one to be used for myth busting in the realm of HR.
*By now, we ought to know this*
2. Human rights particularly apply to those who are disadvantaged, excluded, ignored or demeaned. Consequently, *HR do address the distributional, structural and other wrongs experienced by these out-groups. This actually means addressing five main purposes or dimensions of HR work, namely*,
• the redressing of disadvantages;
• the addressing of stigma, of stereotyping, of prejudice and of violence;
• the embracing of difference;
• the pursuit and achievement of structural changes; and for the latter,
• enhancing the voice and influence of claim holders leading to their staking of concrete claims.
3. These five dimensions embrace the more dynamic conception of HR particularly as regards achieving equality. Using this disaggregation, HR are better able to respond to the real and concrete wrongs as experienced by women, children, minorities and other out-groups.
The aim of human rights work is not necessarily to eliminate difference, but to prohibit the detriment attached to such difference.