Everyone in the world, no matter your age, gender, sexual orientation or beliefs, is entitled to the same basic human rights. According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, human rights are defined as, “the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life” (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2018).
These essential human rights are based on principles such as equality, equity, dignity, respect, and self-reliance. Unfortunately, there are many countries around the world that lack the protection of the fundamental rights to life. Canada is obligated to defend rights such as gender equality and the rights of all women and girls, LGBTQ rights and the freedom of religions and beliefs, including refugees around the world because Canada is a country that fights for the basic rights of people.
This is a country that has enough power to bring attention to any issues around the world. Canada should use this power to help fight for as many issues as we can, especially the most basic and important ones. These rights are applicable to everyone, not just those who are mistreated and unheard. Over the last two decades, there has been a drastic reduction in global poverty, but, not everyone has been benefiting equally. Millions of people, especially women are still extremely poor and have unequal access to opportunities.
They also face extreme violence and economic or political insecurity. For example, a country like Saudi Arabia, also known as one of the world’s worst places for women, does little to ensure equality between men and women. Women in Saudi Arabia are generally expected to wear a full hijab, which covers their whole face and body, except their eyes.
This is to be worn at all times when there are men present that are not family. There are very strict policies, one which includes sex segregation in public places, including the workplace, malls or restaurants. Women in Saudi Arabia can do almost nothing without the permission of a man. Women need the permission of a male guardian to leave their homes, find a job, and even to marry or to divorce. Usually, a woman’s guardian is the father until marriage. It then falls to her husband, which is clearly a potential issue when it comes to a woman seeking a divorce.
Other countries, such as Jordan, are not as serious or severe, but still, have many gender equality issues. For example, Jordan has equal rights for men and women when it comes to education, but they do not have an equal economic opportunity or participation. Unemployment for women in Jordan is more than double for men (World Bank, 2017). This country has one of the world’s lowest rates in women’s workforce participation, with only 13.2 percent. This is partially due to the social norms and traditions that have suppressed women’s advancements as members of society.
Also, violence against women in Jordan is still prevalent and consistently underreported due to pressure from families and societies. Based on analyzing 141 studies in 81 countries from 1983 to 2010, researchers found that about one in every three women around the world is a victim of physical or sexual abuse by a man. This is highest by more than 20 percent for central sub-Saharan Africa at 66 percent. For countries in South Asia, like, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, it’s 41 percent. More than 600 million women around the world live in countries where domestic violence is not even considered a crime. Women in these countries are considered a man’s “property”. Even with these extremely high numbers, there is violence that is unreported, so these statistics may possibly be higher than they are. In order to reduce violence and disrespect towards women around the world, there needs to be more funding for women’s rights groups.
According to the government of Canada website, ” Gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, and the promotion and protection of their human rights are key Canadian values, which Canada is committed to promoting,” (Government of Canada, 2018). Countries like India or Bangladesh do not have the funds or even the means to fund these kinds of groups, so, unless countries like Canada help, there will never be an end to these issues. People all around the world have to face violence and inequality because of who they love, how they look or who they are. Sexual orientation is a crucial aspect of one’s self and should never lead to discrimination or abuse.
Many countries go as far as torture, killings, executions, arrests under unjust laws, unequal treatment, medical abuse and domestic violence. Being openly gay is illegal in more than 70 countries. Most of these countries are in Asia, the Middles East, almost all of Africa and more than half of the European Union. In some countries, same-sex encounters are placed in the same category as bestiality. In India, it is illegal to “voluntarily have carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal,” (ABC, 2017). In Uganda, a law provides a seven-year jail term for anyone who conducts a same-sex wedding. As of 2017, there are 11 countries that have a death penalty in place for same-sex sexual acts.
The death penalty applies in Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and in parts of Nigeria and Somalia. Canada has already begun helping LGBTQ rights around the world, simply by legalizing and allowing the LGBTQ community to be able to live a normal life without any fear or worry. Canada has been open and helpful when it comes to defending same-sex marriage. In September 2017, the Canadian government announced that nearly 30 victims of the anti-gay purge in Chechnya, Russia have been safely resettled.
LGBTQ organizations around the world need supportive states to provide moral support, monitor and report on human-rights abuses, denounce discrimination, follow court cases, provide meeting spaces, mediate with hostile governments and do the heavy lifting at international meetings where LGBTQ issues are debated. Canada should continue to support and aid people suffering all over the world simply for being who they are. Religious and non-religious beliefs bring hope to millions of people around the world. This freedom is a fundamental right of every person, no matter what you believe in. Although this is seen as a basic right, it is still under attack in many countries around the world.
As a basic human right, freedom of religion is essential to all believers, and even non-believers. But, in the countries where this is not respected, we see a lot of conflicts, and sometimes bloodshed. These conflicts can destabilize nations and cause economic uncertainty. This became a fairly larger issue over the past few years, with the refugees from the Middle East seeking refuge in countries all over the world. Canada is known to be a very open and safe country when it comes to the freedom of religion, beliefs, and opinions.
But, there are many countries around the world who have had to deal with hate crimes and attacks on the refugees who only wanted to seek protection in a new country. For example, in 2016, Germany was experiencing an average of almost 10 attacks a day on refugees. These attacks injured about 560 people, including 43 children. This all began because of racism and the lack of respect for people of different religions and backgrounds.
Although Canada has already granted asylum for many refugees and families in need, the country can still make an effort to help as many countries as possible to create a safe and protected environment for the children and families who need a safe place to live. Hate crimes not only alters, and sometimes ends, a person’s life; it creates a sense of fear that can suppress an entire community. Canada should help other countries put in place laws and systems that can effectively prevent hate crimes from happening, simply because of what a person believes in. Canada is a country that supports and fights for all rights, including the equality of its citizens and the fight to make discrimination disappear. Canada should defend the fundamental human rights such as the rights of all women and girls, LGBTQ rights and the freedom of religions, beliefs, and opinions, including refugees around the world.
Canada is a country that has a great amount power and should bring as much attention as possible to any issue that does not allow a person be themselves due to the worry and fear of getting hurt or being discriminated against. Canadians care about human rights and expect their government to help build respect for human rights not only in this country but all around the world. Although Canada already works with other governments and organizations to help strengthen the international rules that protect the universal human rights, there is still much more they can do to help improve the world and possibly end up saving the lives of thousands, maybe even millions, of innocent and underappreciated people.