- Perspectives on “Human Rights and the Well-Being of the Humanity”
- Human Rights: A Product of the History of Oppression and Struggle
- Human Rights: Towards New Challenges and Broader Definition
- Human Rights: Basis for Further Steps towards Peace and Harmony
- Human Rights: Insufficient and Insecure in Presence of Human Ignorance
- Human Rights: A Success Story will Depend on Linkage to Constructive Ethics
- Synopsis Buddhist Approach on Laws: Principle for Practice
Human Rights: Basis for Further Steps towards Peace and Harmony
What is the objective of the UDHR? It is for virtuous being and peaceful existence of the world or of the humankind. The UDHR helps to guarantee that human beings lead a virtuous, calm, and peaceful life. Yet it is not sufficient.
For example, in bringing up a child, parents do not act only on the basis of that child’s rights, but give it even more than the minimum standards to which a child is entitled. Parents take care of their children with love and kindness, without even considering about the children’s rights. With this nature of mind that parents treat their children, will the humankind be able to live in harmony.
We must look at things from two sides; on one hand, we must take efforts not to let anyone be deprived of human rights, on the other hand, we must not limit ourselves to only at the level of “rights,” we must go beyond it. As I have said before that parents do not give to their children only because they recognize the children’s rights, but they give from the depth of their hearts without even considering the extent of the needs of the children, but they give them more than that. As a result, children have good lives and then society stays stable and peaceful. Only with this kind of mind, with this kind of love and care that parents feel for their children that this world can be sustained and can live on.
The concept of human rights, therefore, is only one side of a coin or measures only certain degree of human progress, but in no way is it sufficient. If we do not realize this fact, we will face two extreme scenarios.
One is in some societies, no consideration will be made on life, safety and freedom; violations against life, property and personal freedom and liberty will always take place.
While, on the contrary, in other societies, rights are always demanded, living is determined only by whatever rights one is entitled to.
Both extreme scenarios are problematique. For those who do not care about others’ rights, it is clear that problems are most likely to arise and will do great harm to human society. Too many examples should already be clearly seen. There is no need to cite one or another here. At another extreme end, there are those who are too pre-occupied with “rights,” too absorbed with demanding for and guarding their rights, which does happen in some societies.
We may take for example cases in American society which has a tendency towards the “rights” end. Today, neighbour and neighbour, patient and physician file suit against one another more than too often. Even, relations between parents and children in the U.S. have a tendency to be a treatment simply on the basis of “rights.” If one thinks of only one’s rights and only treats others in accordance with their rights, what then is likely to happen? If parents only give to their children as their rights are prescribed by laws and think that the act of bringing up the children must not conflict with or violate against their rights to leisure, what will happen?
If parents begin to feel that way, what will happen to the children? They will be brought up simply on the basis of “rights.” Each side will seek to gain more from the other side, meanwhile making efforts to protect one’s rights. Children will always question whether their parents give them enough or in accordance with all the rights they are entitled to, always demand to have all their rights provided, and stand ready to sue their parents.
This problem is said to be increasingly happening in the US nowadays. If parents mistreat their children, the children may call the police or tell a teacher to call the police to arrest the parents. This problem has been going on for some years. The Americans themselves know too well that family as an institution is disintegrating and almost holds no place in the society.
Learned people consider family as the most basic unit of the human society. If family as an institution disintegrates, that society is then in a risky position, in danger. For this reason, the Americans now have lost much confidence in their society. These are things that need to be realized. Some think that the American society is still a perfectly fine society, an obviously outdated thinking. Such perception is certainly misplaced and does not reflect the real situation of the American society. Now the American society is very much in a disturbing and weak condition and we must realize this fact so that we ourselves can act properly and avoid not to fall into the same situation.
The two extreme scenarios can be described as follows:
– Society in which its members do not care about one another’s rights, allow violations against life and property to occur, deprive people of freedom and liberty, that society has not yet reached the point of civilization.
– Society in which its members define their roles limitedly by always guarding one’s rights to the extent that even parents and children treat one another on the basis of rights protection and demand, that society is apparently approaching the end of civilization.
In brief, we must avoid not to fall into either of the two extreme scenarios. We must realize that the real objective of the UDHR is to serve as a basis for access to virtuous and peaceful society. And with that realization, we will not stop ourselves at gaining, exercising, protecting and maintaining our rights. But we use the UDHR as a basis for further steps towards a better society, a “caring society.” Society then can survive and live on in peace and harmony.