Politology (Unit 5)

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Unit 5.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

 

Text 1

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a charter of civil and political rights drawn up by the United Nations in 1948. These rights include the right to life, liberty, education and equality before the law; to freedom of movement, religion, association, and information; and to a nationality. Under the European Convention of Human Rights of 1950, the Council of Europe established the European Commission of Human Rights (headquarters in Strasbourg, France), which investigates complaints by states or individuals, and its findings are examined by the European Court of Human Rights (established in 1959), whose compulsory jurisdiction has been recognized by a number of states, including the UK. In 1988 the European Court condemned as unlawful the UK procedure of holding those suspected of terrorism for up to seven days with no judicial control.

Human rights are those rights and privileges held to belong to any man, regardless of any legal provision that may or may not exist for them in his legal system, simply because man, as man, may not be forbidden certain things by any government. Exactly what the list of these rights is, or why we are entitled to them, varies from thinker to thinker. Since the Second World War there have been several quasi-official listings. The two most prominent are probably the United Nations Charter of Human Rights, and the European Declaration of Human Rights. This latter is actually partially enforceable, because it forms the legal basis for the European Court of Human Rights, to which citizens of subscribing nations may bring cases against their own governments. Typical elements on any list of basic human rights will be, for example, the right to freedom of speech, religion, the right to family life, the right to fair trial procedures in criminal cases, the right to be protected against the inhumane punishment, the right to political liberty, and so on.

Civil rights are those rights which are, or which it is argued should be, protected constitutionally or legally as fundamental rights that everyone should enjoy, irrespective of his or her status. They fall essentially into two categories: basic human rights to fair and decent treatment for the individual; and political rights which are seen as vital for a healthy and liberal society, whether or not they are actually desired by many people.

The first category includes the right to legal equality and to equality of treatment and provision, the right to a fair trial and the right to be exempt from unjust or inhuman punishment. The right not to be discriminated against because of one's race, whether by the government or a private agent, as well as protection against arbitrary arrest, a biased jury, police brutality and so on, are seen as basic rights that all should enjoy, and which require constitutional protection in any society.

The more specifically political rights include the right to freedom of speech, to form or join a trade union, to worship as one wishes, and to protest in public against government policy. All these are rights taken for granted in a liberal democracy, but they are arguably not absolutely basic to decent human life.

(Hutchinson Gallup. Info 92. The Penguin Dictionary of Politics)

 

Vocabulary Practice

I. Read and translate the text using a dictionary if necessary

 

II. Find in the text the English equivalents for the following:

всеобщая декларация прав человека; хартия; политические права; свобода; равенство перед законом; Европейский Совет; штаб-квартира; комиссия; рассматривает жалобы; Европейский Суд по правам человека; осуждать; обязательный; признавать; подозревать; юридический контроль; привилегии; запрещать; выдающийся; несправедливое и негуманное наказание; быть освобожденным от; конституционная защита; либеральная демократия.

 

III. Supply the missing words or word combinations choosing among given below.

1.      The universal Declaration of Human Rights is a charter of…

2.      In 1988 the European Court condemned as unlawful the UK procedure of…

3.      Since the Second World War there have been several…

4.      The two most prominent are…

5.      Civil rights are those rights which are protected constitutionally or…

6.      They fall essentially into two categories: basic human rights and…

7.      The first category includes the right to legal equality and…

8.      The more specifically political rights include the right to freedom of speech, …

 

or legally as fundamental rights;

quasi-official listings;

civil and political rights drawn by the United Nations in 1948;

holding those suspected of terrorism for up to seven days with no judicial control;

probably the United Nations Charter of Human Rights and the European Declaration of Human Rights;

and political rights;

to form or join the trade-union;

to equality of treatment and provision.

 

IV. Study the following words and use them in sentences of your own.

exist; to belong; legal system; partially enforceable; basic human rights; criminal cases; to protect against; the inhuman punishment; status; vital for; a fair trial; to be exempt; unjust; arbitrary arrest; a biased jury; police brutality.

 

Comprehension Exercises

I. Reread the text and answer the following questions:

       What is the name of the charter of civil and political rights drawn up by the United Nations in 1948?

       What rights are included in this charter?

       What organization established the European Commission of Human Rights in 1950?

       What are its responsibilities?

       What are the responsibilities of the European Court of Human Rights?

 

II. Define the following key terms and memorize the definitions:

charter; equality; jurisdiction; commission; condemn; procedure; discrimination; brutality; punishment.

 

III. Match the two parts:

  1. brutality

  2. protection

  3. punishment

  4. liberty

  5. procedure

  6. provision

  7. privilege

a)      supply smth.

b)      freedom

c)      special right

d)      cause of suffer

e)      keeping from harm

f)        course of action

g)      cruelty

 

IV. Speak on the list given below, try to guess the meaning of these words:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Fund for Agricultural Development, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, International Trade Organization, United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, International Atomic Energy. Agency, International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, International Aviation Organization; International; Telecommunication Union, International Development Association, International Finance Association, International Labour Organization, International Monetary Fund, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Fund for Population Activities, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

 

V. Comment on civil and political rights in Russia.

 

VI. Comment on the following and give your reasons for or against.

1)      Do you feel any social inequality?

2)      The root of social inequality is poverty.

3)      Can life be organized without inequality?

 

Text 2

Your rights made simple

Here is a simplified text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). All 30 rights are equal to each other and it is the duty of governments to protect and promote them.

1. All Human Beings are free and equal in dignity and rights.

2.    All people are entitled to rights without distinction based on race, colour, sex, language, religion, opinion, origin, property, birth or residency.

3.    Right to life liberty and security of person.

4.    Freedom from slavery.

5.    Freedom from torture.

6.    Right to be treated equally by the law.

7.    Right to equal protection by the law.

8.    Right for all to effective remedy by competent tribunal.

9.    Freedom from arbitrary arrest.

10.   Right to fair public hearing by Independent tribunal.

11.   Right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty at public trial with all guarantees necessary for defence.

12.   Right to privacy in home, family and correspondence.

13.   Freedom of movement in your own country and the right to leave and return to any countries.

14.   Right to political asylum in other countries.

15.   Right to nationality.

16.   Right to marriage and family and to equal right of men and women during and after marriage.

17.   Right to own property.

18.   Freedom of thought and conscience and religion.

19.   Freedom of opinion and expression and to seek, receive and impart information.

20.   Freedom of Association and assembly.

21.   Right to take part in and select government.

22.   Right to social security and realisation of economic, social and cultural rights.

23.   Right to work, to equal pay for equal work and to form and join trade unions.

24.   Right to reasonable hours of work and paid holidays.

25.   Right to adequate living standard for self and family, including food, housing, clothing, medical care and social security.

26.   Right to education.

27.   Right to participate in cultural life and to protect intellectual property rights.

28.   Right to social and international order permitting these freedoms to be realised.

29.   Each person has responsibilities to the community and others as essential for a democratic society.

30.   Repression in the name of rights is unacceptable.

 

I. Read the text.

 

II. Answer the questions:

1) Say whether you think people in the 20th century had more problems than they have today?

2) What measures would you take to improve people’s position if you were the President?

3) Who, do you think, are more socially active in our country?

4) What are the advantages to live under UDHR?

5) Why is women’s participation in power lower than that of men?

6) Should women and children have some privileges?

7) Should life be changed in the near future in Russia?

8) Are you satisfied with all the articles?

9) What would you advise to add to the Declaration?

10) If you could change one article what would that be? Why?

 

Text 3

The West stressed the importance of civil and political rights like the right to choose a government, freedom of expression, conscience and belief.

But the Communist bloc gave priority to economic, social and cultural rights, such as the right to work, housing and access to health care.

As a result two covenants were adopted in 1966 to give legal force to the UDHR:

     The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

     The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

So are human rights really universal?

The Vienna Declaration of 1993 stated: "All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated... While the significance of national and regional peculiarities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms."

However, some countries have argued that human rights are culturally relative, and that the Universal Convention on Human Rights amounts to an imposition of Western values on other societies.

 

I. Read and translate the text without a dictionary.

 

II. Put questions to the text.

 

III. Make up a dialogue according the theme raised in the text.

 

IV. Make the list of the most important rights you would like to see in Russia nowadays.

 

Text 4

O&A: PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS

Most countries have signed international conventions or treaties guaranteeing the protection of human rights. But what are human rights, how are they enforced, and are they the same for everyone?

What are human rights?

Human rights usually refer to those rights that society has agreed are fundamental to people everywhere, such as the right to life, the right to live without oppression, and the right to equal freedom of opportunity.

Until World War II it was up to each country to decide what rights to grant its citizens but in 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Its 30 articles are the foundation upon which all later human rights instruments are built.

 

What is the UN Human Rights Commission?

The UN Human Rights Commission was created in 1946 as the main vehicle for promoting acceptance of the principles laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its first 20 years were spent drawing up the two International covenants that gave legal force to the Universal Declaration.

It was not until 1970 that it was authorised to investigate persistent human rights abuses. Since then its profile has increased and its annual meetings in Geneva each March are attended by hundreds of diplomats and campaigners. Countries will go to great lengths to avoid being criticised.

 

Do all countries respect human rights?

Many countries are criticised by the UN Human Rights Commission and non-governmental organisations for human rights abuses.

Two permanent members of the UN Security Council - Russia and China - have come under attack in the last year.

Russia has been accused of ignoring international law in its war in Chechnya, where civilian casualties have been high.

China has been criticised for the severe sentences it hands out to political dissidents, and for repressing freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Western democracies do not escape condemnation. Human Rights Watch, for example, has raised concern about the UK's anti-terrorism legislation, and the death penalty and police abuse in the US.

 

How are human rights enforced?

A raft of legislation exists to protect human rights, but it is much more difficult to ensure states respect the treaties they have signed.

Two covenants - on civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights - were adopted in 1966 to guarantee the rights enshrined in the UDHR. Other treaties - on children's rights, women's rights, racial discrimination and torture -have followed.

Nearly every government has signed up to at least one of these international treaties, with some notable exceptions. The US and Somalia are the only two countries not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Organisation of African Unity, the Council of Europe and the Organisation of American States have all adopted charters or conventions to further human rights in their regions. They impose additional binding obligations on signatory countries.

 

I. Read and translate the text using a dictionary.

 

II. Comment on the following:

1)      What do some people think about protecting Human Rights?

2)      Is there a problem with Human Rights in your native city/country?

3)      What are the reasons for increasing protection of Human Rights?

4)      What is the role of the UN Human Rights Commission?

5)      How are human rights enforced?

6)      What countries haven’t ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

7)      What other treaties are followed after 1966?

8)      Do you think the UDHR really influence the state’s social behaviour?

9)      Do you agree that there is no justification for terrorism, racism?

10)  Petty laws breed great crimes, don’t they?

11)  Parents should be punished for child abuse, shouldn’t they?

12)  What measures can the state take to protect human rights?

 

III. Speak on what universal schoolchildren rights you would like to have in your school?

 

IV. Write down the Universal School Rights.

 

V. Discuss the Universal School Rights for school #63 written by O. Kopyatina, 10A.

Universal School Rights for school №63.

1)   Every child is unique and has his own talent.

2)   Every child must be respected.

3)   Every child must be given the best chance to develop his abilities.

4)   Teachers and other staff must help children to prepare for adult life.

5)   Children must be taught about their rights and rights of other people.

6)   All children have the right to non-discrimination whatever their race, sex, religion, language, opinion or family background.

7)   All children have the right to express their views and they must be listened to carefully.

8)   Every child has the right to protection.

9)   Everybody must be polite.

10)    Everybody should do the things in the way he wants, but mustn't affect other people's rights.

11)    Every child must try to get as more knowledge from the school as he can.

12)    Teachers must be always ready to help children.

13)    Every child can share his problems with teachers and school psychologists.

14)    Every child has the right for the rest during the school day.

15)    Every child can choose his school and if he wants he can go to another school.

16)    Every child mustn't be offended or beaten at school.

17)    Every child can join the organization he likes.

18)    Every child mustn't be forced to do anything.

19)    Every child is independent.

20)    Every child must assert his rights.

By Kopyatina Olga, 10 «A».

 

Text 5

Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict

The Optional Protocol entered into force on 12 February 2002. UNICEF encourages all governments to ratify the text.

Worldwide, an estimated 300,000 children are engaged in armed conflict in their countries, with tragic consequences. Often recruited or abducted to join armies, many of these children - some younger than 10 years old - have witnessed or taken part in acts of unbelievable violence, often against their own families or communities. UNICEF has seen many children that had been immunized, educated or otherwise helped by programmes later systematically brutalized when armed conflicts took place in their countries.

In article 38, the Convention on the Rights of the Child urges governments to take all feasible measures to ensure that children have no direct part in hostilities. On 25 May 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict which raises from 15 to 18 years the age at which direct participation in armed conflict will be permitted and establishes a ban on compulsory recruitment below 18 years.

In addition, the Protocol requires States to make a declaration, upon ratification, regarding the age at which national forces will permit voluntary recruitment, as well as the steps that States will take to ensure that such recruitment is never forced or coerced. This clause is particularly important because, although the Optional Protocol sets 18 as the minimum age for compulsory recruitment, it does not establish age 18 as a minimum for voluntary recruitment. For that reason, UNICEF is encouraging all states to ratify the Optional Protocol, making unequivocal statements in their endorsement of 18 as the minimum age at which voluntary recruitment will be permitted.

UNICEF had sought consistency on 18 years as marking the point at which adulthood begins and the concern is for the best interests of the child, regardless of where they live or on which side of the conflict they are situated. UNICEF has consistently promoted the position that protection only becomes meaningful if a clear ban is imposed on the direct and indirect participation of children under 18 in hostilities, regardless of whether they have been forced or have voluntarily decided to join the armed forces.

In establishing 18 as a minimum age for participation in peacekeeping operations, the United Nations set an important precedent and bolstered the efforts of all those supporting the Optional Protocol to the Convention. The United Nations further recommended that this policy serves as an example for police and military forces worldwide,

UNICEF calls on governments to swiftly ratify the Protocol, in order to achieve 100 ratifications by the time of the Special Session in Spring. As stated by Carol Bellamy, "every day that we delay, the toll of death and suffering among children in armed conflict will continue to grow - and that is simply unconscionable."

To date, 117 countries have signed and 88 have ratified this Protocol. See the detailed table of participants.

 

Vocabulary Practice

I. Read the text, translate it using a dictionary if necessary.

 

II. Find in the text the English equivalents for the following:

вступить в силу; вовлекать; вооруженный конфликт; трагические последствия; вступать в армию; невероятная жестокость; принять все возможные меры; военные действия; вовлечение; прямое участие; налагать запрет на; обязательный набор новобранцев.

 

III. Guess the meaning of these international words:

protocol; require; permit; voluntary; ratify; precedent; recommend; conflict; convention; detailed.

 

IV. Find the synonyms to:

endorsement; unequivocal; adulthood; to bolster.

 

Comprehension Exercises

I. Answer the questions:

1) Why does UNICEF fights against involving children in armed conflicts?

2) What does Article 38 say?

3) Who adopted by consensus an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child? When was it?

4) What is the minimum age for compulsory recruitment?

5) What did the UN recommend?

6) What makes UNICEF call on the governments to swiftly ratify the Protocol?

7) What are the important instruments for the protection of children around the world?

8) What are the States required make upon ratification?

9) What for has the Committee adopted guidelines for each of the Optional Protocols?

 

II. Make up dialogues on information given in the text above.

 

III. Project works:

a)      Investigate children’s position in Russia.

b)      Armed conflicts and children.

c)      Death and suffering among children in the war against Yugoslavia.

 

IV. Speak on:

a)      The negative and harmful role of hostilities in child’s life.

b)      The impact of aggressive acts on children’s character.

c)      Principles of non-discrimination, best interests and child care.

 

V. Write down a composition about your childhood.

 

VI. Look through the children’s works on children’s school rights. Say whose the best and why.

 

The rights of the child.

Article 1 All pupils have the right to choose where to study.

Article 2 Each pupil has the right to get a good education.

Article 3 All pupils have the right to join different organizations.

Article 4 Each pupil has the right to be respected.

Article 5 Each pupil has the right to leave the school if he wants or to continue his education after compulsory secondary education.

Article 6 Each pupil has the right to say what he thinks.

Article 7 The school should protect pupils.

Article 8 Pupils have the right to choose different subjects according his abilities.

Article 9 The school must give pupils good medical care.

Article 10 Each pupil has the right to eat good food and drink clean water.

 

 

1)   Children have the right to express their views.

2)   Children have the right to information.

3)   Children have the right to take a full and active part in school life.

4)   Children have the right to leisure.

5)   Children have the right to teach favorite subjects.

6)   Children have the right to good school stationery

7)   Children have the right to graduate teachers.

8)   Children have the right to good school building

9)   Children have the right to teacher's help.

10)  Children have the right to parent's support.

11)  Children have the right to teacher's respect.

12)  Children have the right to school with medical service.

13)  Children have the right to good labs.

14)  Children have the right to prize giving for good learning.

15)  Children have the right to friendly atmosphere, tolerance and mutual respect.

16)  Children have the right to protection from bulling.

Revyakina Y. 10A

 

Text 5

Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

UNICEF supports the worldwide ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (in HTML). An estimated one million children (mainly girls but also a significant number of boys) enter the multi-billion dollar commercial sex trade every year (see also this speech by UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy). The 2nd World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in December 2001 in Yokohama and co-organized by the Government of Japan and UNICEF, showed the commitment of the international community - States, international organizations, NGOs - to tackle this global issue urgently. During the negotiations for adoption of this protocol, UNICEF had promoted the consideration of several issues aiming at the highest level of protection for children. The Optional Protocol gives special emphasis to the criminalization of serious violations of children's rights - namely sale of children, illegal adoption, child prostitution and pornography. Similarly, the text stresses the value of international cooperation as a means of combating these transnational activities, and of public awareness, information and education campaigns to enhance the protection of children from these serious violations of their rights.

It is important to recall that as an Optional Protocol to the CRC, this text must always be interpreted in light of the Convention as a whole and be guided always by the principles of non-discrimination, best interests and child participation.

To date, 110 have signed and 87 have ratified this Protocol.

 

Comprehension Exercises

I. Read the text using a dictionary if necessary.

 

II. Answer the following questions:

1. What international organizations fight for children rights?

2. Why is it a serious problem in nowadays?

3. How many children enter the commercial sex trade every year?

4. When did the 2nd World Congress Against Commercial Sex Exploitation of Children hold?

5. What did it show?

6. What had UNICEF promoted during the negotiations for adoption the protocol?

7. What does the Optional Protocol give special emphasis to?

8. What should people do to protect children from serious violations of their rights?

9. How many states have signed and ratified the Protocol?

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