In wealthier countries, we take many good things for granted. Life is safer, with many opportunities. This is not the same for all countries, where some rights do not exist, or are not respected.
These include the right to vote at age 18, to serve in an army
at 18 or get married at 16, drink at 18, or drive a car at 17.
The Suffragette movement involved women in the 19th and early 20th centuries, who, believe it or not, fought hard for the right to vote.
Emmeline Pankhurst, a suffragette, became famous because
of her bravery. Along with many other women, she helped win
the right to equality. Since 1928 women over the age of 21 in
the UK have had the right to vote.
In America, Rosa Parks sat at the front of a bus and refused to
give up her seat to a white woman, which was unheard of. She
stood up for her right to be a human being. The Civil Rights
movement was born in 1954 out of the lack of rights for non-white Americans. They did not even have the right to sit in the front seats of buses, they were not allowed to eat in restaurants, stay in hotels, or drink water from the same places as white people.
When they fought this injustice, they were beaten and
In countries such as Israel, North Korea, and Cuba serving in
the army is compulsory. You do not have the right to refuse.
In the US people have the “right to bear arms”, which means
they are allowed to carry a weapon. While this is freedom of
rights, the issue is that weapons are sometimes placed in the
hands of people who end up doing a lot of harm.
In the last year, there have been new and older violent conflicts in Syria, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Mali, Cameroun, and Ukraine to name a few, and all of these have in one way or another to do with rights and how they are understood, or misunderstood.
The importance of having the right to live the way you choose
allows for peace of mind and hopefully peace where you live. So it’s important to know more about human rights and what they try to achieve.
Michelle Lowe is a Relationship Coach
This article first appeared in the Peace issue and is still very relevant today. It has been updated.