Food for a Combative Thought

Your problem is my problemHuman rights: Food for a Combative Thought
Human Rights Reader 410

JUST AS CAPITALISM IS GLOBALIZED, WE MUST GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE FOR THE RIGHTS OF THOSE RENDERED POOR. (Roshan Bhati)

Keep in mind: The power of the people is stronger than the people in power. (Babu Owino)

Human rights embody a social learning process originating from social struggles for legal recognition

1. Human rights (HR) have to be demanded by those who are the victims of the existing unjust, discriminating structures. This is essential to ensure that HR are appropriately contextualized, are clearly linked to social mobilization, and are based on in-depth political analyses of national and global structures and policies.

2. But what we see is that people’s struggles and claims are constantly de-politicized and distorted by those in the service of the-power-of-the-day; distorting and misusing the HR vocabulary is often the cynical tactic integrated into their lingo. Consequently, in their hands, de-politization of the development agenda acts as a powerful tool to silence any dissent. The HR discourse is thus ideologically abused. Quite often too, their official references to HR principles and standards take the form of ‘soapbox oratory’ confirming there is no real intention to fulfill the realization of HR. Ultimately, therefore, HR projects are always at risk of becoming distorted-elite-driven-projects disconnected from those whose rights have been violated.

3. The conditions for the struggle for the realization of HR are thus dependent on a bottom-centered logic including the capacity of public interest civil society and social movements to organize ad-hoc campaigns at the national and transnational level. We cannot forget that the ‘political will’ of duty bearers must be pushed –and this depends on the capacity of local, national, and transnational civil society to push governments and relevant international agencies to be consequent with the HR framework –regardless of its complexities.(i)

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Know Your Special Rapporteur

Special RapporteurKnow Your Special Rapporteur:
Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Special Rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The position is honorary and the expert is not a staff of the United Nations nor paid for his/her work. He/she expresses his/her view in an independent capacity and does not represent his/her Government.

Since 1979, special mechanisms have been created by the Commission on Human Rights, the UN human rights body, to examine specific country situations or themes from a human rights perspective. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, replaced by the Human Rights Council in June 2006, has mandated experts to study particular human rights issues. This system of experts is better known as the Special Procedures system.

The human right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

The right to health is an inclusive right, extending not only to timely and appropriate health care, but also to the underlying determinants of health, such as access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation, healthy occupational and environmental conditions, and access to health-related education and information, including on sexual and reproductive health.

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