In response to the end of World War II, the UN mandated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
This Declaration dictated the basic human rights that every person under the sun deserves, in hopes of preventing the type of atrocities that had occurred during two worldwide conflicts.
These rights focus on all aspects of life surrounding work, education, freedom expression and general unanimous equality across the board.
Despite the success of the mandate on an international scale, it could only ever be merely a guide as it possessed no enforceable action.
Some countries, such as America, exercise all rights outlined by the Declaration.
But millions of people who are entitled to these basic rights live in countries where the Declaration is neglected and ignored, leaving them both deprived and oppressed.
Before I spent an entire semester traveling last year, I had a very narrow perspective.
I’m not a die-hard American. I don’t own any patriotic clothing or listen to country music, but I used to take America for granted.
I used to be the first to say “I hate America” because I didn’t like the potential presidential candidates, or hated seeing money taken from my paycheck for taxes.
But living in another country for an extended period of time showed me just how lucky I am to be an American.
Americans are lucky to live in a place where basic human rights are valued.
While some of them seem straight-forward and obvious, the truth is, many people around the world aren’t as privileged as we are.
Although there is always social conflict surrounding equality, America ultimately strives to give everyone the respect they deserve.
The list of privileges Americans are given are endless.
If I were to name them all, we would be here all day. Because some of these basic human rights seem so morally obvious, it’s easy to forget that not everyone in the world is as lucky as we are.
Here are five major human rights we take for granted in America every day:
1. Access To Education
Every child in America is required to receive some sort of education.
While some attend expensive elite private schools and others are home schooled, every single person in America must receive an education until he or she is at least 16.
It’s so easy to forget the value of education. I complain about how much homework I have on a regular basis.
But then I remember all the other kids around the world who can’t even read, and instead of going to school, they go to a sweatshop because they are forced into child labor.
2. Ability To Travel
Americans can come and go as they please. There are no prominent limitations.
But in some countries, like North Korea and Sri Lanka, citizens have no choice. They are limited by the cover of their passports, and are forced to stay where they are.
3. Freedom Of Speech
This one is obvious, but many Americans forget how lucky we are to have this.
Americans are allowed to say whatever the f*ck they want with little to no consequences. In other countries, people are shot down and tortured for speaking their minds.
4. Freedom Of Self-Expression
Self-expression is a big one as it covers a lot of area. It goes hand-in-hand with freedom of speech, but Americans are allowed to be whoever they want to be.
They can say what they want, wear what they want, and nobody can stop them.
5. Innocent Until Proven Guilty
In America, one is innocent until proven guilty. This means everyone has the right to a fair and public trial, and will not be convicted for something until after going through the legal system.
Many individuals in other countries are not given this opportunity.