The Universal Declaration of Human Rights or UDHR was established in 1948 to provide for and protect the rights that all people are entitled to. The United States prizes sub on being a champion of the underserved, a beacon for those who seek refuge and a place where quality reigns and the American dream can be realized by all. The reality however is that human rights violations are a global problem and United States is not a immune to it. In fact, The United States is a constant on the list of watchdog groups and organizations that monitor the human rights violations around the world. From the reports of these groups it is evident that no country is without human rights violations against its citizens. Many countries like the United States in Malaysia have violations in common.
Throughout history to the present day, violations are perpetrated against the most vulnerable of society; women and children, minorities, and the impoverished. Unfortunately, they suffer these injustices at the hands of the various systems that were set up to protect them. The rights of women and children are at the forefront of the fight against human rights violations. The UDHR provides for adequate healthcare, social services, access to housing and security of privacy in person. In the US, women were denied adequate housing facilities after refusing the sexual advances of maintenance workers. Women and their children were left with leaky, moldy unsafe apartments in Federal housing projects. These abuses went on for years with reports being made all the way to the head of the housing commission and nothing was done about it. Only recently did a lawsuit come to light where in hundreds of women have come forward.
In North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky, children under 15 mostly Latino are working in tobacco fields and being subjected to unfair child labor laws and unsafe working conditions. In Malaysia, children and women are raped at alarming rates. Underage girls who are raped are often forced into arranged child marriages with their attackers who thereby escape prosecution. The UDHR has provisions that protect those with disabilities that they will enjoy the same rights as other citizens along with the right to participate fully in the cultural life and community. In Malaysia, the disabled are socially excluded.
Policymaking is done without regard for this segment of the population. The Malaysian mindset is that disability is the sin of God. This incorrect thinking leaves those with disabilities without the fundamental right to access mobility, healthcare and information which is vital to self-sufficiency. In the US, corporal punishment is still practiced in 19 states.
Children with disabilities receive corporal punishment at a disproportionate rate to their peers. The UDHR protects against unfair, unlawful and arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, degrading treatment or punishment. The abuse of power by the police is a global problem has been increasingly troublesome in the past few years and serious reform is needed.
In Malaysia, in 2015, police torture of suspects in custody with some cases resulting in death due to excessive force continued as a serious problem. In the US, the cases of Freddy Gray, Michael brown and Philando Castile, just to name a few further echo the need for tighter police reform and are further examples of direct human rights violations based on race and color. Freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly is given to everyone by the UDHR. However, per a 2015 report, Malaysia is creating a culture of fear by criminalizing peaceful expression. There are laws specifically written to restrict freedom of expression such as “The Official Secret Acts of 1972”. The government targets political opponents, the media, social media outlets and civil society to hamper freedom of assembly and expression.
Across the US, peaceful protesters are tear gassed, arrested and most often released without being charged. Even more recent, a top aide to the President of the US, stated that the media should ” shut their mouths”. Further, Trump is using executive orders to issue gag orders against scientists and the National Park Service for tweeting about climate change. The UDHR, further provides for the right to work, free choice of employment and favorable working conditions. Both the United States and Malaysia faired poorly in this area. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the worst) Malaysia received a 5 whole the US received a 4. Malaysia’s ranking was due in part to factors that keep workers from being able to form trade unions and strike against unfair labor practices.
The 4 earned by the US means that the US is guilty of systematic violation of rights. It was reported that the companies in question engaged in serious efforts to stifle the voice of its employees and that the country has an extremely high inequality rate and workers are often repressed when they seek better working conditions. In conclusion, even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was established to proclaim the rights of all people in all nations it is a document that is hardly abided by.
Many people are probably unaware that such a document even exists for their protection. What’s even more surprising is that the United States is in violation of many of the rights that have been outlined. The US, one of the most developed and industrialized countries in the world shares human rights violations with Malaysia, a country that does not enjoy the wealth and advancements that the US does. Both countries have been in violation of the rights of the most underserved in our population.
Women, children, minorities and the poor should fare better and share in the same rights and protections as everyone else with this document in place. Instead it appears that they continue to suffer the most.