Base Camp is where visitors go to relax, unwind, and get familiar with an anthology of earlier material.

Know Your Rights

Angelina Jolie’s Tattoo // Source:

To take hold, human rights must be known to those who seek them. They must be understood.

Human rights are universal and guaranteed by international law.

They’re also guaranteed by many national laws around the world. People ask for their human rights to be respected, to be upheld, to be defended in the wake of adversity and injustice. But what are they?

The universal declaration of human rights lists them as follows:

  • Article 1
  • Right to Equality
  • Article 2
  • Freedom from Discrimination
  • Article 3
  • Right to Life, Liberty, Personal Security
  • Article 4
  • Freedom from Slavery
  • Article 5
  • Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment
  • Article 6
  • Right to Recognition as a Person before the Law
  • Article 7
  • Right to Equality before the Law
  • Article 8
  • Right to Remedy by Competent Tribunal
  • Article 9
  • Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest and Exile
  • Article 10
  • Right to Fair Public Hearing
  • Article 11
  • Right to be Considered Innocent until Proven Guilty
  • Article 12
  • Freedom from Interference with Privacy, Family, Home and Correspondence
  • Article 13
  • Right to Free Movement in and out of the Country
  • Article 14
  • Right to Asylum in other Countries from Persecution
  • Article 15
  • Right to a Nationality and the Freedom to Change It
  • Article 16
  • Right to Marriage and Family
  • Article 17
  • Right to Own Property
  • Article 18
  • Freedom of Belief and Religion
  • Article 19
  • Freedom of Opinion and Information
  • Article 20
  • Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association
  • Article 21
  • Right to Participate in Government and in Free Elections
  • Article 22
  • Right to Social Security
  • Article 23
  • Right to Desirable Work and to Join Trade Unions
  • Article 24
  • Right to Rest and Leisure
  • Article 25
  • Right to Adequate Living Standard
  • Article 26
  • Right to Education
  • Article 27
  • Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of Community
  • Article 28
  • Right to a Social Order that Articulates this Document
  • Article 29
  • Community Duties Essential to Free and Full Development
  • Article 30
  • Freedom from State or Personal Interference in the above Rights

Pretty straightforward, at first glance, self-evident, but you’d be surprised at what we take for granted. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to define.

So much for universal rights. As far as nationally-defined human rights go, one must research their local and national databases to find out what they are.

The problem is that most of the people living in deprivation or injustice can’t research their rights because they lack the resources and/or capabilities. It’s a vicious circle from which they can’t get out, a black hole hungry for livelihoods. To escape it, help must come from above or the side.

This, of course, presents a problem. It’s usually in the name of rights that rights are trampled, so interfering to save others can’t be taken for granted. But neither can staying put and watching people suffer. It’s truly tricky business, helping someone, especially on the mass scale, a process larger than any generation, and which bears fruit long after initiatives are launched.

So here we are, eager to improve the world and make things better for ourselves. It’s taken us roughly three thousand years to reach the stage where we are now. One would say we’ve come a long way, others that we’ve done very little in the grand scheme of things. Where we go from here and how we fare from now on depends on how well we grasp the history of human rights and the nature of their content. Without local leaders to champion and enact these rights on regional levels, in ways that not only sound good on paper, but which function on the ground, they’re nothing more than squiggles on paper, fancy words that the privileged exploit in the name of those in whose interest they claim to intervene, making matters worse, feeding that black hole.