Human Rights and Minorities Dr. J.D. Bowers Department of History Genocide and Human Rights Institute Northern Illinois University Introduction • To the Concepts • Anytime we enter into a – What are we talking about? new situation we have – Why? to step back and figure – How will we do this? out what that situation • To You – Who are you? can provide us—for – Why are you here? good or for ill. We must – What do you want to know? remember, things do • To me not always turn out as – Why am I here? we think or suspect. – What do I have to teach you? What can Dr. Seuss tell us? Overview • In this session participants will, through lecture, discussion, the reading of primary and secondary documents and excerpts and activities, consider what it means to profess a belief in the concept of inalienable rights. • Some of the essential questions concerning human rights include: – Are all peoples entitled to the same level of protection? – Do rights apply equally in all situations? – When are the rights of the majority given precedence? – What responsibilities does the majority have to protect the minority? • All of these ideas will be explored with the goal of making us all aware of our obligations to each other and the privileges we enjoy. What are human rights? Origins – Development – FDR’s “Four Freedoms” -- DOCUMENT – The UN Declaration of Human Audio mp3 Address Rights – DOCUMENT • UN Convention on Genocide – How human rights differ from civil rights – Individual rights v. collective rights Universal Declaration of Human Rights DOCUMENT • December 10, 1948 • Today this is “Human Rights Day” • Declared by UN General Assembly • Thirty articles defining the rights of all persons throughout the world • Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Defenders of HR • Who are the defenders of human rights? – Individuals – Society – World Order • United Nations – DOCUMENT • International Criminal Court – Institutions SCENARIO Activity Who do you chose? Scenario • A disabled soldier returning from • You are traveling on a train Afghanistan for a three-day journey • A prostitute between Chicago and • A man who smells strongly of wine and whose clothes are dirty Seattle. Your ticket is four a • An athlete who seems to have plenty four-person couchette so of money • An Indian immigrant who only speaks you must share with three a little English other people. From the • A German lesbian who has at least 30 visible piercings following list you must • A white older man who is hard of choose the three people hearing • A mother with two infant children you would most want to • A Japanese businessman ride with and the three • An African American youth with dreadlocks people you would not want • A blind musician to ride with. • A woman just released from prison Majority v. Minority Rights • How are minority human rights different from majority human rights? – Common humanity – Levels of protection – Consociation and condominium rights – Voice of the majority – EQ: Should minority groups have protected interests and rights? Always? To what extent? Violation of Rights • Why are human rights violated? – Visions of utopia – Imperialism – Tragedy of the Commons – DOCUMENT – Real politik Tragedy of the Commons (Abridged) 1. The morality of an act is a function of the state of the system at the time it is performed. 2. In situations where rational pursuit of individual self-interest leads to collective ruin, we MUST agree to self-imposed limits. Problems can only be solved by a change in human values or ideas of morality. Historic Case Studies – Spanish American War and Imperialism • Treatment of the Filipinos – DOCUMENT – Women – Minorities in the US • Native Americans • African Americans Reflection Questions: • Japanese Americans 1. When is the majority justified • Hispanic Americans in their actions? 2. Whose rights does a – Divided Societies democracy protect? • Cyprus 3. Is it ever right to protect a • Northern Ireland minority even when it goes against the rights of a • Palestine / Israel majority? 4. Whose values do we accept? Extending Rights • We can address the problems inherent in the “contest of rights” (as expressed in our reflection questions) and address the tragedy of the commons by rethinking our approach and the very conception of rights. – Setting common standards – Accept globalization – DOCUMENT “Clash of Civilizations” – R2P—Responsibility to Protect – Enhanced Rights Activity 3: Culturenary Future Rights • A future for rights? – Rights violated, rights lost? – East v. West? – Global terrorism – Religious challenges – The “New” minorities – Moral relativism Activity 4: New Rights Activities 1. On a piece of paper, write your favorite joke. 2. Using two Post-it Notes, write down two (one on each note) of the most important rights for an individual. 3. Culturenary. Each group will be given a word to draw/depict and explain to the larger group. 4. Think ahead ten years. What three rights do you want to have in the future that do not currently exist?