HUMAN RIGHTS IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY 1
Higa,L. 2015. FGM: A Modern-Day Scourge in the United States. TheNew York Times.Retrieved fromhttp://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/22/fgm-a-modern-day-scourge-in-the-united-states/?_r=0
Humangenital mutilation is taken as a problem of young girls living in thedeveloped countries. Thousands of girls are drawn from schools indifferent communities to undergo the cut. However, the problem hasalso raised concerns in the developing world. According to the Centerfor Disease Control and Prevention, more than 513,000 women in theUnited States are at the risk of undergoing through female genitalmutilation (Higa, 2015).
In1996, the United States illegalized the practice after stakeholdersin the health department noted that it did not have any medicalbenefit. Higa (2015) provides the various methods of FGM that younggirls undergo. They range from partial to extreme removal of theexternal genitalia leaving only a small opening to pass the menstrualblood. Those who undergo the process endure intense pain. Accordingto the author, parents compel their daughters to go through FGM timprove their prospects of marriage (Higa, 2015).
JahaDukureh, an American from Gambia who had gone through FGM started theChange.org petition to rally individuals to support her quest againstFGM. She eyed about 1,000 supporters to kick off her campaign (Higa,2015). Her campaign was received positively by the citizens, and shegot more than 22,000 individuals rallying behind her. This was aclear indication of the awareness that people have on FGM and theirdisregard for the practice.
Thearticle further provides the intensity of the practice in developingcountries like the one Dukureh hailed from (Higa, 2015). For example,in Benin, more than 72% of the girls have undergone FGM. IN Gambia,about 82% of the young girls have been forced by their parents tohave their genitals mutilated. In the United States, immigrants fromthird world countries form the bulk of the populations upholding thepractice (Higa, 2015).
FGMcan be explained through cultural relativism theory from ananthropological perspective. The rationale for this is that it isinstigated by beliefs and practices of various communities. Thecontinued practice depicts a serious violation of children rights.According to a UNICEF report authored in 2013, more than 125 milliongirls have undergone FGM in countries in Africa and the Middle East(Belizán, Miller, and Salaria, 2016 P1). Additionally, the problemhas also been practice in various jurisdictions of the first worldcountries. A report by Tackling Female Genital Mutilation indicatesthat in the United Kingdom, about 66,000 women have undergone FGM(Berer, 2015 P148).
FGMis an important human rights issue. The rationale for this is that isthat the United Nations recognizes FGM as a violation of human rightssince children are forced to face the knife and endure intense pain,yet the practice has no medical benefits (Belizán, Miller, andSalaria, 2016 P1). It is regarded as torture, cruel and degradingtreatment. More importantly, it is termed as a threat to the right tolife because hundreds of young girls succumb to bleeding during thecallous operations or later complications, especially duringchildbirth.
Inrealization of the danger posed to Heath and life by the practice,the United Kingdom enacted the FGM Act that makes it illegal forBritish Nationals to perpetrate the act on its soil (Berer, 2015P146). It is also against the law to aid or abet it, and it attractsa fine of up to 14 years and a fine. Although there are stillhundreds of young girls being subjected to the process, the law hasbeen critical in deterring parents and other groups from popularizingthe practice in the UK.
HuffingtonPost. (2013). Nadia Eweida Wins Religious Cross Battle With BritishAirways After European Court Ruling. TheHuffington Post.Retrieved fromhttp://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/15/christian-cross-nadia-eweida-british-airways_n_2477068.html
Apopularized decision by the European Court of resultedin Nadia Eweida, a British Airways worker, winning a case against heremployer after she claimed being discriminated for being forced toremove her cross while attending her duties (Huffington Post, 2013).The plaintiff argued that her employer contravened the 9th and 14thamendments of the European Convention on that restrictsreligious discrimination and freedom of thought. The issue ofreligious freedom took center stage during the case. There was noevidence to indicate that other religious expression includingwearing turbans or hijabs had any implications on the operations ofthe company (Huffington Post, 2013). Eweida held that christens had aright to express loyalty to their religion just like otherindividuals from other sects. The court also found that her cross wasmodest enough and it did not attract undue attention that couldinterfere with her rendering of services to the clients.
Eweida’scase falls into the category of rights and freedoms protected by theEuropean Convention on that are also enforceable incourts in the United Kingdom. The case was also a human rights issuesince it involved a question of the contravention of the right ofreligious expression. In addition, it attracted the examination ofArticle 9 of the Act of 1998 that provides for thefreedom of thought, belief, and religion. The right is also protectedby the European Convention on (Grabenwarter, 2014 P17).
Thereis always a contention between absolute and non-absolute rights andthe boundary that marks a possible contravention. According toDzehtsiarou et al. (2015), when organizations act contrary to the Act of 1998, they argue that there is a window for somerights to be interfered with under various circumstances (P21). Thesocial egalitarian theory provides that equality should prevail inany given society. However, there Act is categorical on the instancesin which some of the human rights may be bent or disallowed. Forexample, an individual may not be allowed to enjoy a right providedfor in the Act if there is an intention to commit a crime or there isa need for the protection of the public order.
TheEuropean Court dealing with human rights did not find anyinconsistency with Eweida wearing the cross or interference with theactivities that she was carrying out in her place of work. Inaddition, the Equality Act of 2010 outlaws various types of behaviorthat amount to discrimination (Rainey, Wicks and Ovey, 2014 P21).Religion and belief are some of the protected rights in the Act. Onthe other hand, the institutional liberties to control employeebehavior were clipped by the court ruling. However, this should notbe construed as an undue external interference because theinstitutional polices have to be compliant with the basic humanrights. The regulation offers a basic framework for the protectionagainst any form of direct and indirect discrimination in any placeof work. Eweida’s case became a major point of reference fororganizations when setting workplace policies to avoid being incontravention of the Act of 1998 and the Equality Act of2010.
Travis,A. (2014). Gay asylum seekers face ‘intrusive’ sexual questions.TheGuardian.Retrieved fromhttps://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/oct/23/gay-asylum-seekers-sexual-questions-uk-immigration
Theinflux of refugee in first world countries has been instigated byreceding standards of living in developing countries and areas whererival groups are warring. The rights of LGBT groups have been incontention is to whether they qualify to be regarded as human rights.More often than not, individuals identifying themselves with thedivergent sexual orientation from what is regarded as mainstream havefaced various forms of discrimination. While writing for theHuffington Post, Alan Travis examined the rights of LGBT immigrantsin the UK and the various questions asked of them that depict apossible discrimination. According to the author, more than 10% ofthe interviews given to gay and lesbian immigrants include intrusiveand unsatisfactory questions about their sex lives (Travis, 2014).
Accordingto John Vine, a chief inspector in the Home Office, the questions inthe interviews must be reviewed to avoid contravening the rights ofthe same-sex couples (Travis, 2014). The author cites variousoutlying cases whereby the asylum seekers were being asked about thenumber of sex partners they have had in the past and also being askedto narrate ordeals that would have rather remained confidential. Furthermore, some of the questions being asked by the interviewerswere deliberately meant to make the asylum seekers feeluncomfortable. Also, a number of inquiries from the Home Officeemphasized on sexually explicit questions that embarrassed thevictims (Travis, 2014).
Thisissue is also a human right concern. Same sex marriages can beexplained from a social conflict theory. The ideology describes thatthe society is based on a conflict that leads to ideological changes.The rationale for this is that the questions posed to the asylumseekers are in contravention of the right for non-discrimination. TheDiscrimination and Equality Act indicates that all individuals areentitled to all the liberties outlined in the irrespective of their color, sex, race, religion or any other status.In addition, the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 passed in the UnitedKingdom provides for the legal recognition of same-sex couples (Monk,D., 2015, P13). The law was conceived by the increasing number ofsame sex couples and the lack of a strictly prohibitive law againstthem. A closely related Equality Act of 2006 and 2010 criminalizesall forms of discrimination based on an individual’s status (Monk,2015). In 2010, U.K adopted the Equality Act to protect individualsfrom discrimination on the grounds of race and sexual orientation.
Thequestions as asked to the immigrants in the country can be subjectedto examination using the three acts. First, under the Declaration of, it would be unfair to single out individuals as aresult of their sexual orientation (Donnelly, 2013). In the UDHU,gays and lesbians fall under the category of “any other status.”Also, under the Equality Act of 2006, asking questions with theintent of making the LGBT individuals uncomfortable amounts todiscrimination (Donnelly, 2013).
The2010 Act prohibits the profiling of individuals on the basis of theirsexual orientation (Gray and McDowall, 2013 P22). In addition,digging deep into the particulars of the sexual habits of the asylumseekers jeopardizes their right to privacy and confidentiality. It isalso unfortunate that the asylum seekers are disadvantaged in thattheir recommendation is in the hands of the interviewers (Travis,2014). Therefore, they have to put up with the questions posed tothem. Since the inquiries were singled out to have been asked to gaysand lesbians only, it amounts to profiling and discrimination.
BBCNews. (2016). Belgium minor first to be granted euthanasia. BBCNews.Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37395286
Thehistory of euthanasia dates back to ancient Greek where doctors wereallowed to given poisoned concoctions to terminally sick patients. InSeptember 2016, Belgium became the first country to permit euthanasiawithout considering the age of the patients. In the world over,taking the lives of terminally ill patients is controversial (BBCNews, 2016). One school of thought believes that it is unacceptablewhile another one presumes that it can be permissible under variousconditions. The article appearing on the BBC news indicates that thehead of the federal euthanasia commission allowed the euthanasia ofthe teenager because he was suffering from unbearable physical pain.The patient was put on sedatives to induce him into a comma beforethe process began. However, the consent of patient’s parents wassought, and they agreed to have their child be put through euthanasia(BBC News, 2016).
Theissue in Belgium touches on various aspects of human rights. TheUniversal Declaration of provides for the right to lifeof all individuals. In fact, it is one of the inherent liberties (BBCNews, 2016). The question looms as to whether the right to lifeshould extend to the liberty to decide when one ends life. Proponentsacross the board agree that there are various circumstances underwhich the process can be appropriate, for instance, when a patient issuffering from unbearable pain with no prognosis of recovering.Article 3 of the Act indicates that everyone has theright to life, but various jurisdictions have enacted laws to decideon the parties that can terminate the liberty (Donnelly, 2013 P31).
Thestructure and agency theory can be used to explain the status ofeuthanasia in the United Kingdom. The ideology illustrates that thereis a conflict between what the society deems as correct and anindividual’s interest. In the United Kingdom, euthanasia is notpermitted and any individual found having aided the process is liableto 14 years in prison. The Suicide Act of 1961 criminalizes thepractice in the country (Law, 2015 P2). In addition, the country isnot clear on the later amendments that have not been given enoughattention by the house. For instance, the bill proposed by LordFalconer dubbed Assisted Dying Bill of 2014, has not come to asubstantial conclusion (Law, 2015 P2). The bill proposed the allowingof terminally ill and mentally competent patients to undergoeuthanasia after the process has been approved by two doctors.
Accordingto Huxtable and Mullock (2015), during the second reading of thebill, the House approved it (243). However, two opposing amendmentswere proposed, and they were not substantially debated due to thepreparations made for the elections taking place in May the sameyear. As a human rights issue, the inherent life to life is put toquestion (Law, 2015 P2). The supporters incline to the premise thatpeople should be allowed to exercise their autonomy by making choicesin their life. However, opposers believe that the passing of the billwill be an avenue for its abuse through forced deaths and this wouldcontrary to the initial intention of the proposed law. The twodivergent groups make it difficult for the United Kingdom to debateand pass the law, and it remains vague.
PressAssociation. (2015). Businessman is first person jailed under forcedmarriage laws. TheGuardian.Retrieved fromhttps://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/10/34-year-old-man-first-person-to-be-convicted-under-forced-marriage-laws
Forcedmarriage is not common in the developed world. However, occasionalcases are prosecuted in court, and their lack of popularization makessome people believe that such intimidations do not exist (PressAssociation, 2015). The article by the Press Association withholdsthe name of a prominent businessman who was jailed after being foundguilty of forced marriage. The perpetrator used the voyeurism toblackmail his victim. He attached a hidden camera in the bathroom toinfiltrate on the privacy of the victim. The nude footage of theMuslim woman taking a bath was used to compel her to marry thebusinessman for fear of the pictures and videos being put on thepublic platform (Press Association, 2015).
Additionally,the felon misled the victim to believe that her boyfriend was gay andit lacerated their relationship. Judge Daniel Williams found theentrepreneur guilty of using consistent threats to bar her fromsharing information about her distress (Press Association, 2015). Healso found him punishable for voyeurism that was later used tosilence the victim. More importantly, the mogul forced the25-year-old woman into sex, and he confessed of having raped her upto four times. The 16-year sentence handed to the businessman becamethe first major form of incarceration for forced marriage in theUnited Kingdom (Press Association, 2015).
Theissue is an important human rights concern since it touches onvarious aspects contradicts the right of the woman to exercise herconsent while entering a marriage affair. The natural theory of humanrights indicates that the inherent liberties to choose consciouslycannot be alienated by any individual or institution. Article 16 (2)of the Universal Declaration of provides thatindividuals who have attained the legal age have the right to enterinto marriage freely without any limitation that would be termed asdiscriminative. Furthermore, the article indicates that any marriageentered by parties has to be out of consent of both parties(Donnelly, 2013 P43). By dragging the lady into a blackmailedmarriage, the businessman contravened this provision since there wasno consent.
Inthe United Kingdom, the idea of forced marriage was prohibited andclassified as a criminal act by the Anti-social Behavior, Crime, andPolicing Act of 2014. The act defines forced marriage to include anyphysical, emotional, financial and sexual exploitation (Kingston andThomas, 2015 P3). The law also stipulates that individuals foundguilty of the offense may be incarcerated for up to seven years.
Theenactment and adoption of the law gave strengthened the ForcedMarriage Protection Orders that allow individuals to pursue othersin civil courts on the onset of noting that they are being forced toenter into a marriage (Siddiqui, 2016 P169). It was also a furtherintensifying-tool to the declaration on human rights. By sentencingthe entrepreneur, Judge Williams demonstrated the willingness andcommitment of the United Kingdom in observing human rights byadhering to the internal strengthening structures.
Allen,K. (2016). UK women still far adrift on salary and promotion asgender pay gap remains a gulf. TheGuardian.Retrieved fromhttps://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/23/gender-pay-gap-average-18-per-cent-less-uk-women
Womenhave been on constant agitation to earn equal pay as their malecounterparts. However, the equality has not been achieved even in thedeveloped countries. The feminist movements in the 20thand early 21stcentury were critical in the recognition of gender equality in workplaces. Gradually, the glass ceilings and stereotyped occupationshave been weakening. According to Allen (2016), women earn 18% lessthan men. This makes Britain have one of the widest gaps among thefirst world countries. The Institute for Fiscal Studies alsoindicates the gap in equality pay widens after women bear children.The mandatory maternal leave that women have to go through makes thembe left out during critical promotions (Allen, 2016). The author alsoindicates that men have a 40% chances higher for promotion thanwomen.
Additionally,research funded by Joseph Rowtree Foundation revealed that onaverage, women experience a 33% less hourly p[ay than women (Allen,2016). During his term in office, David Cameron had dedicated himselfto ending the gender pay gap through the introduction of laws thatwould compel employers to make their pay gaps public. However,although the gap has been on the decline, it is still close to 20%,and there is a need for intense efforts from the authorities (Allen,2016).
Thepostmodernism theory has been instrumental in deconstructing themasculinity language. The gap in pay in the United Kingdom could berelated to the impact made by the Elimination of all Forms ofDiscrimination against Women that was ratified by 186 countries in2009. The convention sought to achieve the equality of men and womenin various positions that were marred by historical genderinequalities (Freeman, Rudolf, and Chinkin, 2012 P8). According toCole (2013), the countries that ratified the proposal agreed to makean effort to implement local structures that would put men and womenat par on different social platforms.
Theadopted bill also relates closely to the Equal Pay Act that wasenacted in 1970. In the regulation, the parliament prohibitsunfavorable treatment that could be taken to discriminate either menor women (Boone, 2015 P3). The Equality Act of 2010 also served tostrengthen the CEDAW. The 2010 ratification was informed by otherprevious legislations including the Discrimination Act of 1975, thediscrimination Act of 195b and the Race Relations Act of 1976 16(Freeman, Rudolf. and Chinkin, 2012 p21). The gradual process ofimplementing the equality laws has been consistent although slow.
Allen,K. 2016. UK women still far adrift on salary and promotion as genderpay gap remains a gulf. TheGuardian.Retrieved fromhttps://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/23/gender-pay-gap-average-18-per-cent-less-uk-women
BBCNews. 2016. Belgium minor first to be granted euthanasia. BBCNews.Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37395286
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HuffingtonPost. 2013. Nadia Eweida Wins Religious Cross Battle With BritishAirways After European Court Ruling. TheHuffington Post.Retrieved fromhttp://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/15/christian-cross-nadia-eweida-british-airways_n_2477068.html
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PressAssociation. 2015. Businessman is first person jailed under forcedmarriage laws. TheGuardian.Retrieved fromhttps://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/10/34-year-old-man-first-person-to-be-convicted-under-forced-marriage-laws
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