Global Citizenship and Human Rights
Boundaries and community identity
The phrase “human rights” suggests that mere existence in human form entitles one to universal standards of being. It implies that all humans should have these rights—whatever they are---in contrast to any rights granted only to a human sub-set, such as those based on gender, age, ethnicity, or geographical citizenship. If people agree that all fellow humans should have certain rights, these must be blind to any other markers of identity.
Humans need a concept of human rights because our whole history is one of being subjugated to other boundaries of identity. The concept that individuals should be treated equally under a mutually binding common socio-political system has not been a central more of all civilizations. Humans have historically assigned hierarchical roles based on gender, age, skill, and prestige. People have been organizing into families, tribes, communities, cities, nation-states, nations, and multi-national blocs with group membership as a primary political identity; in contemporary terms this has become citizenship. Many national boundaries disregard preferred identification of sovereign ethnic or cultural groups, but citizenship is still the defining political reality.
The nature of biological generations confers an inherited identity by birth-line association. Family origins can convey one's primary citizenship under the “right of blood” (from the Latin jus sanguinis) which would apply to the children of expatriates. Citizenship is also conveyed via the “right of soil” (jus soil in Latin) based on one’s location of birth. Citizenship law and requirements differ between nations.
The way our world works right now, a human baby is automatically assigned citizenship to a national government. There is no choice in the matter---we are raised by families and grow up somewhere, where we have to obey all the local laws. The way our national political systems have developed, national law is the highest authority in its domain, and nations go to war with each other to gain territory, resources, and power. The hapless citizens born into these systems are expected to contribute and obey to secure their protection and future survival. Access to power and resources is entirely dependent upon the individual’s providential birth circumstances.
Human rights conceived
The concept of human rights has developed in contrast to the “might makes right” paradigm that has perpetuated war culture. Without a global human authority to intervene, what legal and ethical basis is there for peace?
The League of Nations was created after World War I to prevent such a crisis from ever re-occurring. After World War II, the new United Nations took over that role in hopes that a stronger international framework for conflict resolution and justice could prevail. Here is the history of the UN:
Human rights enumerated
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. The human rights of the Universal Declaration include:
-life and physical security
-personal liberty (as opposed to slavery or captivity)
-due process of law
-freedom from discrimination based on demographics
-mobility across geographical political borders
-right to national citizenship and to change citizenship
-consent and equality in marriage
-property ownership and protection
-freedom of religious belief
-freedom to express opinions
-freedom of assembly
-political participation in one’s government
-freedom of employment choices, equal pay for equal work, and unionization
-right to education
-protection of children’s welfare
-basic standard of living that offers health and well-being
Human rights enforced?
In theory, member states are obligated to assist in the enforcement of UN standards that they agree to adopt. In practice, the leverage and resources of the United Nations are limited because it depends upon participation from member nations, whose national security interests may conflict with international humanitarian goals. But despite its weakness as a central authority, the United Nations has laid the groundwork for global standards of peace and justice.
Humans everywhere have almost all been processed into hierarchical communities where obedience to a civic and/or cultural authority assigns political identity. If we are very lucky, we are citizens of a government that grants us a fair voting process. But even then, our voice is limited. What if we had a vote as a global citizen instead?
This writer propose the following ideas:
-Adopt a concept of global citizenship, to be granted upon an internationally recognized age of majority (suggested: age 18)
-Global citizens are identified by fingerprint profiles
-Global citizens are provided free access to UN-sanctioned news sources of unbiased information about issues of international concern
-Global citizens vote on all UN resolutions, policies, and proposed actions at voting booths set up a special UN voting task force
-Global citizens work together to build the resources needed to enact and enforce United Nations policies that benefit the entire planet
Let the world’s people democratically express our concerns for the global community. Let us work together towards a sustainable, peaceful future where all humans' rights are protected.