Human rights plays a role in everyone’s life, but not everyone realizes it. As humans, everyone is entitled to their rights. In this essay I will describe why human rights are a choice, what human rights are and using the movie ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ as an example of why the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is in place and how it came about. Humans aren’t born homophobic, racist or sexist. We are born equal in dignity and rights (Article 1). We are born equal. It was at times like the Second World War when this was forgotten. When German children like Bruno (Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) were schooled by the Nazi law that the people of the Jewish religion were ‘evil’ and ‘not human’ and that the dehumanization of the Jewish was for the greater good of Germany. The belief of one man in power (Adolf Hitler) wiped out half of an entire religion. Why is it that a person high up in society can get away with something other people cannot?
“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal”-Martin Luther King (Civil rights leader) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created by world leaders in 1948. This was to try to ensure the rights of all humans are respected and that the wrongs of the past were not repeated. In Article 25, it states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, medical care etc. So why is it that 21 000 people die of starvation each day, and yet nothing is done about it? The Universal Declaration of Human rights is not law enforced universally, so it is each country’s choice to whether the enforce it. In The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Schmall is denied this right as he was poorly fed, and is not given the medical treatment he needs after he is beaten. People may be different on the outside, but they are all human.
What defines human? It is not race, gender, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. It is the ability to speak, think, count, express emotion through actions. Humans are able to express love, hate, joy, anger, pain. It is the ability to control these emotions to ensure that their actions are respecting others rights that makes them humane. No one should be held in slavery or torture (Article 4). Yet for centuries, thousands have been enslaved. Today, slavery is illegal all over the world, and yet, less people were enslaved in the eighteenth century. It is shown in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, that the Jewish who were not killed in concentration camps were forced into slavery and tortured if they did not carry out the tasks set for them. Inhumane experiments were carried out on Jewish prisoners without their consent.
Even now in this modern world, wars are fought. People are killed over opposing beliefs on religion, sexuality and race. In conclusion, human rights are a choice. The Universal declaration of Human Rights was set up to ensure that every human should be entitled to them and yet, all over the world, people do not have a choice. In the Second World War, the choice of the Jewish was taken away by the Nazi’s in the belief that it would make Germany a better country. Humans have a choice to become racist, homophobic or sexist or to respect the basic rights of others.