Integral ecology

Universal human rights?

Where are the supposedly universal human rights? It is clear that these rights are not equal for all. Their respect is the condition for the social and economic development of a country.

Jaime Gutiérrez Villanueva-May 14, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes
Hospital peru coronavirus

I have just been informed of the death of Graciela and Santos at the hospital in Chimbote (Peru). An impoverished couple dedicated to the service of others in a free and disinterested way. They died within a few days of each other. There they were fighting for their lives for several days because of COVID. They had to pay for everything: tests, medicines, X-rays, rental of the oxygen machine, medical support person, ambulance... And when the resources ran out, the only thing left was to face death and burial, another drama for the impoverished who cannot even die with dignity due to the impossibility of paying the funeral costs.

Where are the supposedly universal human rights? It is clear that these rights are not equal for all. Their respect is the condition for the social and economic development of a country.

When the dignity of the person is respected and his or her rights are recognized and protected, a multitude of initiatives in the service of the common good emerge.

Observing what is happening in our society we discover with Pope Francis "numerous contradictions that lead us to ask ourselves if the equal dignity of all human beings, solemnly proclaimed 70 years ago, is truly recognized, respected, protected and promoted in all circumstances.

Numerous forms of injustice persist in today's world, nourished by reductive anthropological visions and by an economic model based on profit, which does not hesitate to exploit, discard and even kill human beings. While a part of humanity lives in opulence, another part sees its own dignity unknown, despised or trampled underfoot and its fundamental rights ignored or violated" (FT 22).

What does this say about equal rights founded on equal human dignity? Pope Francis, once again, denounces this indifference in Fratelli tutti: "In today's world, feelings of belonging to the same humanity are weakening, and the dream of building justice and peace together seems a utopia of other times. We see how a comfortable, cold and globalized indifference reigns, the daughter of a profound disillusionment that hides behind the deception of an illusion: to believe that we can be all-powerful and forget that we are all in the same boat... Isolation and closure in oneself or in one's own interests are never the way to restore hope and bring about a renewal, but rather it is closeness, the culture of encounter" (FT 30).

The aggression against the fundamental right to life is becoming increasingly globalized, which is why action in defense of all human life requires a joint and globalized effort on the part of all of us who make up society; development must not be oriented towards the growing accumulation of a few, but must safeguard the dignity of the poor and human, personal and social, economic and political rights, including the rights of nations and peoples.

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