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Taiya Hickman

Wilson
HELA 10
February 11, 2015

Human Rights
We hear a lot of talk about human rights. Its on TV. Its in the papers. Its in daily discussion. Its
everywhere; because it affects us daily.
So, what are Human Rights?
Human Rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, residence, sex,
national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. Every human being is
equally deserving of their human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated.
They are interdependent. They are indivisible.
Its important that we know the history of which our Human Rights came from. Why? Because,
Human rights havent been in existence forever. It actually took a long time to get them to where
they are today. At one point in time there were no human rights. People lived by unofficial
laws that everyone followed naturally due to their class or occupation. If you were in the
higher ranks, life was easy. If you were amongst the poor, you had a harder time. You can
consider these to be Natural Laws. It wasnt until around 540 B.C, when Cyrus the Great
decided to free all the slaves and declared that everyone should have the right to choose their

own religion. He then wrote these rights on a clay tablet known as the Cyrus Cylinder. This was
the first set of official human rights. Of course, not everyone agreed to them. These rights were
stepped on by many powerful leaders throughout time. In 1215, the Manga Carta was made
which made the King subject to law. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was written,
which claimed that all men had the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The
official Human Rights were made in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, with
the leadership of Eleanor Roosevelt. Today, there are 30 human rights that all people are
deserving of. The best part is that no one can take them away.
This isnt a happy ending though. We have all 30 human rights and they are violated all the time.
We have the freedom of speech but we see people getting beat and put in jail for saying their
beliefs. We have the right to education but we see an unequal chance of receiving one in
countries all over the world. We have the right to be innocent until proven guilty but we see the
police brutality on TV all the time. The problem here is that we have our rights- but we dont
have the enforcement needed to back it up. There is still inequality almost everywhere we look.
Now, when talking about equality there are many differences of opinion. One side says we need
to be equal. Inequality isnt fair. It isnt right. We should all have a chance at living the best life
we can. Then the other side says that inequality is a good thing. Its natural. If someone has better
abilities that would benefit the society or country, they should have more. Think of it as survival
of the fittest, if you will. They believe that we are born unequal; however, Human Rights would
balance us out in the end. Yes, these ideas are slightly different but you cannot change the fact
that everyone undeniably has their human rights. In both arguments there is a need for human
rights; there is a need for a more even playing field.

The importance of human rights is maximal. It affects everyone you know and dont know. If
everyone is equally deserving of their rights, why are there still so many issues with topics like
racism, people being homeless, torture camps or even wars over religion? We have been told that
we have all 30 rights and no one can take them away. Yet, at times they seem to have ceased to
exist. This is a huge social issue and needs to be solved. Many people are struggling and dealing
with discrimination every day and they havent done anything wrong. We teach children the
golden rule all the time, but we still treat people as if they are less. Its time we advocate a better
enforcement when dealing with our rights. As of right now, the Human Rights written in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights is simply just words on paper. Its our job to put them
into action.
"In small places, close to homeso close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of
the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the
school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places
where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without
discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.
Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress
in the larger world."

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt,