Having an opportunity to commit yourself to someone that you love is awe inspiring but one homosexual are currently band from experiencing. Homosexuals are denied the right to show each other’s love for one another and in some countries they have to suffer a consequence (The Human Rights Campaign, 2012).In Senegal, West Africa the penal code criminalizes sexual acts “against” nature by five year imprisonment and a fine, (ILGA, 2009). This is a direct breach of article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(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). This encourages fellow countries to punish human beings because of their sexual orientation. The Senegal punishment is relatively light compared to the death penalty in Mauritania, West Africa its northern neighbour (ILGA, 2009).
May 2008, at the height of persecution in Senegal when homosexuals were being rounded up by policemen, beaten and tortured (Ranker, 2013). Those who ran for freedom to Gambia were running into their biggest nightmare, the Gambian President Yahya Hammeh said in his speech “The Gambia is a country of believers … sinful and immoral practices [such] as homosexuality will not be tolerated in this country”(Ranker, 2013) this then lead to homosexuals having no choice but to leave the country within 24 hours before the security forces start capturing them and decapitating them as punishment. This is a breach of article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration, as homosexuals are not getting treated equal in dignity and rights. Senegal’s law criminalizing consensual sexual conduct among adults is discriminatory and invites abuse of homosexuals by both the police and the general public (Nath, D 2013).
For the first time in U.S history they are trying to protect the rights and civil laws for homosexuals in African countries, “It should never be a crime to be gay.” Stated Hilary Clinton (Clinton, H 2011). The U.S is a good example for other countries to follow as they are accepting the rights of homosexuals and they are encouraging other countries to also respect and treat everyone equality. Although the U.S are trying to help decriminse the laws against homosexuals there is only so much action that they can take into their own hands as it’s not up to them to change the laws for other countries as they are not the leaders, but they can encourage other governments to accept everyone’s rights.
These issues are what form the foundation of this picture book. As Children need to have a good understanding of the human rights laws that are in the Universal Declaration so they have knowledge for when their generation gets older not to abuse power and they learn to treat everyone equally, the U.S are evidence of this as they are standing up for people’s rights and are treating people equally. Human Rights set standards but also produces change for their generation (University of Minnesota, 2000). Some think it obvious that children do have rights, but they do not realize that they need to teach them the understanding of the Human Rights which can affect how they treat others in the future.(Archard, D 2010). Children need to learn that everyone has equal rights but others like to abuse the Universal Declaration as they believe they have more power such as the Senegal government who believe they have more power than homosexuals and believe they need to be punished.
When getting older each child will come to realization that everything that has been taught to them when younger through books and music will help their journey for success in life such as learning to respect others and treat them with respect can help them make friends and open up better career options(Simple Mom, 2013). Most situations that they are in should be challenging for them to overcome but learning to not always accept the unfairness in the world. An example of involvement from children around the world is 13 year old Rachel, she has helped raise enough money to build 27 (2 room) homes in Haiti and a basic education facility for other kids after the destruction of the earthquake in 2010 (food for the poor, 2012). As children get older they need to learn that power in society is negative and if people want a better future for their kids who have rights then they need to start teaching them young.
The techniques that are used in this book are similar to other authors and illustrators who have also left underlying messages throughout their stories to teach children in a better understanding about equality amongst everyone and acceptance in society. Most story lines contain elements such as animals or situations that often occur in their childhood that they can relate to(Vaux R 2013) In my story I am attempting to encourage better understanding for children when it comes to equality in society. By using most common animals such as a dog, cat and mouse it immediately becomes easier for a child to understand an important human right that they would not normally learn about. In the story a cat and mouse are representing two homosexuals who want to be able to show their sexuality in society without getting judged, the dog is representing someone who is high up in government who is not allowing this as he believes love can only be between a man and women.
The story book shows a common situation that happens all the time around the world. By including detailed illustrations help children understand the story a lot better and are a useful way to communicate with the child as an author. From when a child is young it’s important that as a parent you need to teach them about the positives and negatives of society a way to help with this is reading story books that encourage the teaching of human rights. This helps them set up their journey into the world as they get older. They can then use their knowledge that they have learned all their life to help change all the wrongs in the world; this will provide their generation with a better future and the correct use of power and equality in society.
Archard, W. (2010). Childrens Rights. Available: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rights-children/. Last accessed 20th Feb 2013. Food For The Poor. (2012). Rachel’s Mission: Build More Homes in Haiti.Available: http://www.foodforthepoor.org/help/rachel-wheeler/. Last accessed 21st Feb 2013 Human Rights Watch. (2010). Senegal: Law Promotes Violence Against Homosexuals. Available: http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/11/29/senegal-law-promotes-violence-against-homosexuals. Last accessed 20th Feb 2013. ILGA. (2012). Being Gay in Senegal. Available: http://ilga.org/ilga/en/article/nK6Vv6R17J. Last accessed 19th Feb 2013. Jamie. (2013). Teaching life lessons. Available: http://simplemom.net/10-picture-books-that-teach-important-life-lessons/. Last accessed 21st Feb 2013. MANÉ, B. (2011). Senegal, Towards the decriminalization of homosexuality?. Available: http://guinguinbali.com/index.php?lang=en&mod=news&task=view_news&cat=2&id=1769. Last accessed 18th Feb 2013. Ranker. (2013). 7 Worst