Posts Tagged ‘economic rights


Human Rights 2.0

Published in Daily Star

Economic rights are human rights. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/ Drik News

AS I walk out of a hearing by a Congressional commission on the Bangladeshi human rights situation last week, the Bangladeshi ambassador to the US cordially walks up to me and says: “I believe in a lot of things that you said today, but at the end of the day we have to be realists.” 

Yes, he is referring to the much dreaded “unrealistic” view of a human rights activist. The one that talks about social justice, equality and a dream land where the most basic fundamental right for a human being is supposed to be guaranteed by the state. 

This is perhaps unrealistic in today’s world, but sixty years ago, a charter was formed on what’s considered to be the gold standard that everyone should strive towards. However, the big questions are how comprehensive the work of a rights activist need to be surrounding this charter and in what priority, especially in the developing world where these rights are constantly being compromised due to poverty and deprivation, what more can be done than just raising “awareness” and “demanding” justice in this new world of decreasing resources and increasing international competition between governments.

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