The fundamental understanding of “Human Rights” is that these rights are inherent in human nature – which means that they are essential to the nature of being “human.” Analogically, orangeness is an essential part of being an orange; or appleness is essential to being an apple. Philosophers throughout human history have endeavoured to describe Human Rights. One thing on which they were unanimous is that these “human” rights are not “conferred” by any human authority. They can only be discerned by a proper study of human beings. The most succinct description of Human Rights is found in the American Declaration of Independence of July 4th. 1776. This Declaration states that: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights , that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness- . . . .”
The principles derived from this understanding of Human Rights are enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization by resolution 217 A (iii) of December 10th. 1948. The Preamble states: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. . .” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights goes on to spell out the Rights in 30 Articles.
Up to this time, this Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been the charter for every political system, economic theory and social programme which has been developed. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights still remains the bedrock of all national and international activities. The respect for and compliance with this Universal Declaration has proved to be beneficial to all humankind. It needs to be emphasized that this Universal Declaration remains the Standard for all international relationships and has remained the reference point for all disputes between nations or between ethnic groups or racial entities. So far no group or nation has repudiated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
What is worrying, however, and extremely disturbing is the attempts that are being made by many vested interests to distort this Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many examples can be given, but we will limit ourselves to pointing out just two of these aberrations which are a threat to the peace and unity of the human family.
The Right to Life. In recent times, attempts have been made to distort this Right in the name of a newly concocted “Women’s Rights.” Extreme ‘feminist’ groups have (falsely) claimed that there is a threat to the rights of women by simply honouring the universal Right to Life. These arguments have taken many different forms. They claim that women should have the right to destroy the lives of babies in their own wombs on the grounds that they enjoy a so-called “reproductive” right. There is no such thing as a reproductive right, just as there is no such thing as a digestive right or a pulmonary right or a neurological right. The right to life of an unborn baby is as inalienable as the right to life of the mother. There may be specific cases in which the parents, the doctors and the ethicists may have to decide on the choice to be made; but there is no justification whatsoever to claim that the life of the mother takes priority over the right to life of the unborn baby. Such a false arguments leads to the destruction of all human social norms. In effect, we will be affirming that only the strong will live. This is the law of the jungle. It is a direct violation of Human Rights as we understand it. In fact, a healthy society will make special efforts to preserve the rights of the weakest and the most vulnerable sections of that society. It will redound to our eternal shame and discredit that in the twenty-first century we have made the killing of unborn infants legal. The promotion of abortions, whether in the name of women’s reproductive rights or in the name of development, remains repugnant to all decency and rationality. What is even more disturbing and distressing is that even powerful governments such as that of President Barack Obama are pressurizing governments in Africa and Asia to declare that abortion is a human right. They are threatening to cut off all development aid unless their demands are acceded to. A more shameful disregard to Human Rights has never before been witnessed in human history. The administration of President Barack Obama is on record that if a baby is born, even after a failed abortion, it is better to leave it to die. Such insensitivity and brutality is unprecedented in modern times. At the other end of the spectrum, powerful governments in Europe and in the U.S.A. have been making frantic efforts to legalize the killing of the aged, the disabled, the feeble and the most dependant. The most absurd arguments are being proposed to legalize euthanasia. In the Netherlands and Belgium, for example, it has been argued that the killing of the elders and of the disabled is justified on the ground that it causes anxiety to the relatives to see these unfortunates in such a state. Nay, the argument gets even crazier. Now the doctor can decide, unilaterally, whether the patient should live or die.
Equal Right to marry. The “homosexual” lobbies all over the world have been engaged in vigorous efforts to distort the law of equality under the law which is guaranteed by most Constitutions. They are arguing that because all citizens are equal under the law, any two people, irrespective of their biological sex or their familial relationships should be allowed to “marry.” The logical consequence of such weird arguments is that two people who love each other should be allowed to “marry” even if they happen to be father and daughter or mother and son, or brother and sister. The “same sex” marriage advocates are emphasizing the equal right of all citizens to marry, while deliberately ignoring the very meaning of “marriage” which is inherent in human nature. Marriage is defined, by Human Nature, and by tradition, as the sexual union between a Man and a Woman for the purpose of procreation and mutual support towards becoming more human – emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. The family has been honoured from time immemorial as the very foundation of social stability and the nursery of personal and social values. The destruction of the family – which will inevitably follow the legitimization of “same sex marriages” - will result in the disintegration of society itself. The absurd (in fact crazy) argument proposed by the homosexual lobbies is not only irrational; it is unnatural, as homosexual behaviour is.
Every trick in the book is being used to convince us that our understanding of Natural Rights is mistaken. The efforts are being directed to convince us that Right is wrong and that wrong in right. Sexual identity is being defined in terms of “orientation” which itself is admittedly “fluid” and can change from day to day and from moment to moment.
We are standing, today, on the edge of a precipice. Civilization itself is under threat. Social institutions such as marriage and the family are being attacked by evil forces. Children are being indoctrinated to believe that same sex unions – whether legalized or not – are normal. They are being seduced into “experimenting” with sexual activities outside marriage. Contraception and abortion are glorified as the scientific cures for unwanted (or unplanned) pregnancies. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is being undermined by powerful vested interests. Rationality itself is being questioned.
Averthanus L. D’Souza.