Blog Action Day 2013 is on the subject of Human Rights.
Human rights is a term which has become more commonly used in recent decades.
There are many issues which seem to me to be in need of more publicity and concerted action. For the purpose of this post I shall focus on two.
These two issues of inequality for girls and women in much of the world and slavery, which involves people-trafficking are not unrelated. Many girls are sold as slaves at a younger age than the legal age for marriage in western countries.
The problems faced by many people around the world are overwhelming. There are pressures from poverty, natural disasters, wars and lack of stability in government.
How can these issues be addressed?
In the past change has come through campaigns. In Britain there were campaigns against slavery, where William Wilberforce is a name which is associated with the abolition of slavery. He lived to see it made illegal. Women rose up to demand equal voting rights with men and were known as Suffragettes, because the right to vote was suffrage.
Many people do not want to be disturbed by hearing about the dreadful things which happen to other people, who should be enjoying the same human rights as they are. It is important to discuss what the issues are. Education (at home and abroad) and co-operation are important where change is needed. The emphasis should be on self-sufficiency and self-government rather than long-term aid and government by outsiders.
Television, the internet and air travel have made the world a much smaller place. What happens to people in far off lands should matter to all of us. I have never travelled to a developing country, but when (for example) I see homeless people on city streets, I am disturbed by their lack of a basic right.
There are many agencies which are working towards a better future. They sometimes seem to be competing against each other to gain the attention of potential donors. They are better able to help more people have the sort of life that was envisaged by the people who drew up the Human Rights documentation than ordinary individuals acting alone.
Does that relieve us of a duty to do anything as individuals?
If we consider ourselves to be writers, we can write to raise awareness and to advocate change.
Those of us with faith in God are able to pray in the words of Jesus,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
It may be that God also requires us to act in some way to help those who are unable to help themselves.
Update 17 Oct: check this post for specific instances. http://fairtrade.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/the-spooky-side-of-chocolate/