If you want to know about human rights and democracy, you can start it by knowing the history of violence and how human overcome the chaotic condition into peace and harmonic life. Several weeks ago, I went to a tour inside Taipei city together with a lot of friends, from local Taiwanese to foreign student. We visited the 228 memorial park, Democracy Hall, and the Deng Foundation for democracy. I was amazed with a well documented picture there about the struggle for democracy and campaign of human rights. I’m sure that Taiwan has improved better in democracy nowadays. However the old picture there left a message for us that human rights issue is not an easy work. It was an evolution from the past and will always become something that we must concern nowadays.
Basic human rights is valuable, a gift from God that cannot be taken out from someone. There are a lot of documents and evidence about human right protection. An ancient document written by Cyrus the Great in Persia has stated about this. The world had also written a common rule about human rights called The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It states about the freedom of speech, freedom to choose, and freedom of right within the principles of equality, liberty, dignity, and brotherhood. The world order then changed ever since. We also had celebrated a human rights day every 10th of December. Yet nowadays we still find that the human rights violation become an important matter that we must concern. It happens not only in the third world countries, but also in the developed countries all around the world.
This year, in 2008, according to Amnesty International 81 countries practices torture, 23 countries with laws against women, 15 countries with laws against migrants, 14 countries with laws against minorities, and 77 countries restricted freedom of expression.
So now we arrive to a simple question, what is wrong? Why in such a global and modern world nowadays can we still see an abuse, sexual harassment, famine, and poverty? It shows that human right is actually a common, daily issue which we must handle carefully. Then another question rise, who responsible for this matter? In protecting the human right it is certain that we need a legal act, we need a friendly government that respect every rights of the human being. But is it enough? If we talk about the government effort, we know a fact that in some countries government even became one part that allows human right violation.
The answer is clear actually. The human rights are everybody’s responsibility. It is an individual and societal obligation to protect human rights wherever they are and whenever it happens. As an individual right, it is also an individual responsibility to ensure that to protect their fellows from any threat that going to take out this basic right.
The youth, especially student and the human right activist should play more important role in this problem, because lots of youth has a better academic view in this problem. The problem surrounding human rights in youth should be solve by the youth too since they will understand more about how to protect the people in their age and what are they really need in their age.
By triggering the potency of youth to arise their knowledge in human rights, we hope that we can minimize the problem and also increase the active effort for youth in struggle towards human rights protection all around the world. I personally hope that we can have a big solution for this, for the human rights issue, and for the sake of human kind. (*)