The Importance Of Equal Human Rights


Thoreson, The Queer Paradox of LGBTI Human Rights mentions the anti-homosexuality bill of 2009. The bill aims to protect the traditional heterosexual family and to safeguard the culture and values of Uganda. The bill, “recognizes the fact that same-sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic”. The consequence of this bill is that people are suffering for not being a heterosexual in sub-Saharan Africa, and hence can’t simply enjoy their rights as a citizen in the UDHR because of their gender identity. However, if a convention is made for the rights of gender identity, what are the outcomes? Will countries follow it, and is this a priority for countries who don’t have basic necessities such as clean water? Do governments prioritize conventions?

This brings up the question of are there some criteria for a convention (e.g. activism for women’s rights)? With gender identity possibly having its own convention, it is showing the government that this group of people matters and should be treated as equals who can enjoy basic necessities rights.  It brings up the concept of unity in diversity, we should all be treated as equals regardless of our background. I believe that conventions should be created to be the voice of those who cannot stand up for themselves. It is tough to say whether adding new conventions is beneficial because new rights are showing a sign of equality, such as women’s right to vote showed equality. But that does not mean the government will follow these conventions since people are still suffering to this day from discrimination/violence.

For example, Kauiskas’ Asia’s Different Standard discusses that East and Southeast Asian countries place themselves in the international human rights mainstream. Their aim is to stake out distinctive places in line with their own histories and cultures. Therefore, the movement towards human rights has not expanded, which is why they are similar to the West, because of inescapable political realities. Kauiska noted that there is a general discontent throughout the region because of a Western interpretation of human rights. While I agree that there can be many interpretations of human rights from worldwide, human rights and human rights violations should not always be justified from a Western perspective. Kauiska mentions that not every one of the 50 states of the United States interpreted the Universal Declaration the same way, so why specifically Southeast Asia countries should do the same? One point of view is that it easy to blame or glorify human rights in the Western world because that is where the human rights documents composed. The West does not have a significant influence over the East and Southeast as before, but the wealth of the West still pushes them to be on top. A way to prevent this is to gather a consensus of what is the underlying value of human rights. Once this is achieved and agreed upon worldwide, the blaming and glorifying of the Western can significantly decrease, and countries can interpret human rights text best fitted to their country’s government.