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HUMAN RIGHTS AND GLOBALISATION

Would globalization enhance the implementation of human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the subsequent United Nations agreements, particularly the covenant on civil and political rights (1966), the covenant on economic, social and cultural rights (1966) and the declaration on the right to development (1986)? Attempting an answer to this question is not an easy task, mainly because of the different and contradictory connotations of the term globalization. If globalization is conceived as turning the whole world into one global village in which all peoples are increasingly interconnected and all the fences or barriers are removed, so that the world witnesses a new state of fast and free flow of people , capital , goods and ideas then the world would be witnessing unprecedented enjoyment of human rights everywhere because globalization is bringing prosperity to all the corners of the globe together with the spread of the highly cherished values of democracy , freedom and justice. On the other hand if globalization is conceived as turning the world into a global market for goods and services dominated and steered by the powerful gigantic transnational corporations and governed by the rule of profit then all the human rights of the people in the world, particularly in the south would be seriously threatened. Literature on globalization, in general, by both the so called advocates and opponents of globalization is abundant. However the critics of globalization lay much more emphasis on its impact on human rights, particularly of the poor people and of the developing countries. Their analysis and conclusions are usually supported by facts and figures drawn from international reports and statistics to prove that human rights have been adversely affected by globalization. They usually relate one or the other aspect of human rights to one or the other aspect of globalization, such as relating poverty in developing countries to debt or relating unemployment to privatization, or relating health deterioration to the monopoly of medicine patents. Or they enumerate the aspects of deteriorations in human rights, such as impoverishment and lowering standards of living, increasing inequality discrimination , deprivation of satisfaction of basic needs such as food clean water and housing , illiteracy etc and explain these facts by globalization in general through making comparisons between the state before globalization ( usually before the 1990s ) and after it , such as stating that progress in reducing infant mortality was considerably slower during the period of globalization (1990-1998) than over the previous two decades. The advocates of globalization do not deny the fact that in some regions basic human rights are not respected during the past decade but they explain this by the resistance of some countries and peoples to globalization and they claim that globalization must have winners and losers. The losers resistance to globalization is attributed to their state of stagnation and rigidity or to their traditional culture or even to the nature of their religions which is anti democratic and anti modernization. So both advocates and critics of globalization agree on the fact that human rights are in some way or the other adversely affected by globalization particularly in the south , but they differ in their explanation of this fact and hence in their prescription for the remedies . While the advocates prescribe more absorption of peoples and countries in the global system, the critics

of globalization prescribe opposition and resistance of the hegemony of the transnational corporations and the injustice inherent in the globalization process. Who is right? To answer this question we need, as I think, to examine the underlying basic assumptions of both the human rights agreements and the globalization agreements, particularly the economic, which I believe are contradictory as far as human rights are concerned. The tensions between human rights and globalization can be read in the parallel historical development of an international human rights regime with a so-called free trade regime. These two international regimes have developed without entering any real dialogue until very recently, although they are both claiming to serve the interests of humanity. Whereas the primary responsibility for the enforcement of human rights standards lies with national governments, there is a growing acceptance that corporations also have an important role to play. Instruments of the human rights regime attempt to share or complement states responsibilities with private actors responsibility. Indeed, the human rights regime affirms explicitly the prevalence of the human right to fair remuneration over wealth creation, rationale of the free trade regime. The contradiction is apparent and the human right to fair remuneration highlights the incompatibility of the two regimes. If economic corporations became transnational and that much powerful what is needed is a powerful transnational government based on real democracy for all the countries and citizens of the world. A government which is capable of issuing and implementing global rules aimed at realization of the maximum use of all humankind achievements for the sake of all the dwellers of our globe. A government, which is capable of making economy in the service of man instead of making man a victim and a slave for the market economy, is the solution for the present times.