Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

When I was working on my paper and researching the history and political turmoil that generated the massive human rights violations in Argentina, I was really fascinated to learn exactly how much the politics and the consummate ideologies of a society factor into the establishment of a regime that is capable of rationalizing (if that is even possible) acts such as genocide or clandestine disappearances. I don’t mean to imply that a country's particular set of political beliefs can somehow cause violations of human rights to occur on a national scale, but rather, in cases like Argentina, extreme polarization in the political landscape can initiate a pattern of retributive political violence that can escalade to human rights violations.

This was the thing that drew me towards writing a paper on Argentina, as it was a conceptualization of violence that I had never before come across. Before taking this class, I liked to think that at the core of most extreme cases of human rights violations there would necessarily be a vehement dictator or general that was at the root of such evil (Hitler comes to mind). And the one solace in such a conceptualization is the fact that in many ways if this was the case, the horrors of such violence could be ultimately blamed on one 'bad egg'. However, in learning about the work done by the South African TRC and the Argentinean CONADEP, I now know that there are an alarming number of cases where a whole sector of society can be held accountable for the tragedies such as Apartheid and Disappearing. To me, the fact that whole groups of people can be implicated in the orchestration of such immense tragedies is something that is almost as troubling as the tragedies themselves.

With that being said, here is an interesting video on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that I came across as I was procrastinating this past weekend. At least maybe with work such as this, the international community is taking steps in the right direction. I certainly hope so. Enjoy...

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