A Need to Know Basis: WHAT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS?

Human rights are those activities, conditions, and freedoms that all human beings are entitled to enjoy, by virtue of their humanity. They include civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Human rights are inherent, inalienable, interdependent, and indivisible, meaning they cannot be granted or taken away, the enjoyment of one right affects the enjoyment of others, and they must all be respected.

However, only governments are in a position to put in place the laws and policies necessary for protection of human rights and to regulate private and public practices that impact individuals’ enjoyment of those rights. Therefore, we think of national governments (“States”) as the guarantors, or violators, of human rights.

  • “Can it really be true that a people whose fore-parents suffered the worst possible human rights abuses at the hands of English slave-masters now have less regard for human rights than the English? Oh, say it isn’t so Barbados!” via Barbados FreePress

Two senior United Nations officials who have visited four Caribbean countries — Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Dominica — have also noted that violence against women is a human rights violation, “which precludes the realisation of all other human rights and is a barrier to the effective exercise of citizenship rights”.

Rashida Manjoo, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, as well as Commissioner Tracy Robinson, Rapporteur on the Rights of Women of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, conducted the study during the period April 15-28.

“The rapporteurs note that many interlocutors described violence against women and girls as normalised, widespread and of pandemic proportions, and underreported. Some of the manifestations referred to within the home, community, workplace and in state institutions included psychological, physical, sexual, economic and institutional violence,” the statement noted.

It said that human rights issues affecting lesbian, bisexual and transgender women were referred to continuously in meetings, including practices described as “corrective” violence. The issue of a rise in the prevalence of gender-related killings, as the ultimate act in a continuum of violence, was also highlighted in some contexts.

The statement said the issue of sexual violence against girls was raised in all four countries as a widespread concern.

“Numerous interventions highlighted the struggle of civil society to maintain the focus on violence against women and girls, despite the evidence of its pervasiveness, and the lack of adequate support and partnership in provision of services including safe houses.”

The Rapporteurs said that the numerous challenges identified require that in order to provide an effective response to violence against women and girls,”there needs to be more resources allocated; ongoing monitoring and evaluation of policies and training programmes; proper data collection; and implementation of appropriate complaint mechanisms to strengthen accountability”. via un.org 

  • “Abuse doesn’t come from people’s inability to resolve conflicts but from one person’s decision to claim a higher status than another. So while it is valuable, for example, to teach nonviolent conflict-resolution skills to elementary school students—a popular initiative nowadays—such efforts contribute little by themselves to ending abuse. Teaching equality, teaching a deep respect for all human beings — these are more complicated undertakings, but they are the ones that count.” ― Lundy Bancroft

Antonio abuser

The above email is an exchange between my abuser ex-boyfriend and I. In this email he mentions how much he “EMBARRASSED” me during our relationship. I decided to copy and insert this comment because it is a testimony to how much my HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIGNITY were violated by this man. The fact that he mentions an understanding of causing me EMBARRASSMENT also denotes that he knew full and well the torment and abuse he was inflicting although he never stopped even though we aren’t together anymore. The relationship ended but the EMBARRASSMENT and ABUSE never did. The embarrassment I faced took many forms. The physical abuse was the most shocking and violent. This abuse was very embarrassing because I knew that he knew what he did to me and I knew what he did to me which was a direct assault on my self dignity. One of his forms of emotional abuse would be abandoning me to be alone on the island for days/weeks by myself with no or little contact from him. Another form of physical abuse would be how he’d make sure I walked for long periods of time in extreme weather conditions, while traversing rough terrain with no support, and he would most often walk ahead of me or run ahead and leave me behind. He would embarrass me by yelling at me and degrading me in front of his young children, friends, and even his parents. He would embarrass me after abusing me and those who knew I had been abused but saw that we were still in a relationship saw the lack of respect he had for me. The neighbors wherever I lived saw how much I was alone or saw/heard how he treated me and so I lived in constant embarrassment of what the neighbors thought of me. And on and on. HE CARED NOTHING ABOUT MY RIGHTS AS A HUMAN. Period. And yes, that’s very embarrassing.


Excerpt from Mirror Image speech by Errol Barrow, 1st Prime Minister of Barbados: 

I lived in a little country when I was young, the Virgin Islands. It was just bought from Denmark by the United States of America. My father was a Chancellor. I was too young to go when he was transferred. So when I was three months old, I went.

There is no unemployment in that country. They don’t manage their affairs as well as we did in the past. They don’t receive any big lot of grants and loans and that kind of thing, even from the United States.

They have to bring in workers. They have the largest oil refinery in the western hemisphere run by a man called Hess. But that is a small country. But there is another small country which is run by a friend of mine. That country has 210 square miles; it is 40 square miles bigger than Barbados. If you took the Parish of St. Philip and put it right in the little curve by Bathsheba that would be the size of the country of Singapore of Lee Kwan Yew.

But you know the difference between Barbados and that country? First, Barbados has 250,000 people. You know how many people Singapore has on 40 more square miles? Over two-and-a-half-milion, on an island just a little larger than Barbados.

They don’t have sugar plantations; they don’t have enough land to plant more than a few orchids on. It is one of the orchid centres of the world. They grow orchids in Singapore. They don’t have enough land to plant a breadfruit tree in the backyard and nearly every Barbadian, even in the metropolitan area of Bridgetown, have some kind of fruit tree in the backyard.

Sixty per cent of those three million persons have been housed by the government of Singapore. They don’t have oil for ministers to steal. They don’t have any beaches like we do here. There are people here in this audience, Barbadians who have served in Singapore, who can tell you about Singapore. There is no unemployment in Singapore.

They have developed an education system but they are teaching people things that are relevant to the 21st century. They are not teaching people how to weed by the road. They are in the advance of the information age.

But you know the difference between you and them? They have got a mirror image of themselves. They are not looking to get on any plane to go to San Francisco. Too far away. The government does not encourage them to emigrate unless they are going to develop business for Singapore.

They have a mirror image of themselves. They have self-respect. They have a desire to move their country forward by their own devices. They are not waiting for anybody to come and give them handouts. And there is no unemployment.

Is that the mirror image that you have of yourselves? Anyhow, ladies and gentlemen, I done.


-Tru Focus-

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