H. Brennen, July 22, 2014
Barrington H. Brennen
It is it sad and seems so unreal that the human race
over the millenniums has inflicted unkindness, violence,
and injustices upon its very own. It is like a dog
eating his own foot off preventing it from walking.
Millions of men, women and children have painfully,
emotionally and physically suffered. Historically, the
ones who have suffered the most, and dealt a blow of
injustice and pain are the children and women. It was
just a few hundreds of years ago that children were
considered no more than “talented toys.” At age eleven
they were forced to work in factories and dark dungeons,
mining coal and working on farms. Today, in many
countries around the world, children are still being
raped, beaten, used and abused. Thus, governments have
passed laws to protect the right of children to be
safe. It has been about fifty years since the women in
The Bahamas were allowed to vote. It has been about
fifty years that black people were truly free. Also,
when slaves were free soon after black man was legally
allowed to vote in the United States of America (in some
states), but women, white and black, had to still
struggle for equality. It was not until almost six
decades later in the USA (1921) that white and black
women were given permission to vote. In The Bahamas it
was not until ten decades later (1963).
Because of the ill treatment of humans, many treaties or
conventions have been developed to bring equality,
justice and fairness. These conventions, having been
created by the United Nations, are to be agreed upon by
each member state. It is a shame that we humans had to
develop treaties to remind us what should be so basic
and humane—fair treatment, freedom from violence, equal
voice, power, vote, access and opportunity. Here are a
few conventions that have been written simply because of
humans being unable to act like humans:
The Conventions of Human Rights,
The Convention of the Rights of the Child,
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women,
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,
United Nations Convention against Corruption,
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
Crime of Genocide,
International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination,
Convention on the Rights of Persons with
International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Below I will share will you excerpts from a few of the
conventions or declarations. Notice how basic, yet
important, they are. First, I must share the
Declaration of Rights of the Afghan Woman given in
2000. Declaration of Rights for the Afghan Woman in
Douchanbé, Tadjikistan, June 28, 2000. Note how so basic
they are and how we take such rights for granted.
The fundamental right of Afghan women,
as for all human beings, is life with dignity, which
includes the following rights:
The right to equality between men and women and the
right to the elimination of all forms of discrimination
and segregation, based on gender, race or religion.
The right to personal safety and to freedom from torture
or inhumane or degrading treatment.
The right to physical and mental health for women and
The right to equal protection under the law.
The right to institutional education in all the
intellectual and physical disciplines.
The right to just and favorable conditions of work.
The right to move about freely and independently.
The right to freedom of thought, speech, assembly and
The right to wear or not to wear the veil or the chadri.
The right to participate in cultural activities
including theatre, music and sports.
Here are a few excerpts from the United Nations Convention
of the Rights of the Child
See full rights
Article 6: Life, survival and development. The right of
the child to life and the state's obligation to ensure
the child's survival and development.
Article 9: Non-separation from parents. The right of the
child to retain contact with his parents in cases of
separation. If separation is the result of detention,
imprisonment or death the State shall provide the
information to the child or parents about the
whereabouts of the missing family member.
Article 11: Illicit transfer and non-return of
children. The State shall combat child kidnapping by a
partner or third party.
Article 18: Parental responsibility. Both parents have
common responsibilities for the upbringing of the child
and assistance shall be given to them in the performance
of the parental responsibilities.
Article 19: Abuse and neglect (while in family or care).
States have the obligation to protect children from all
forms of abuse. Social programes and support services
shall be made available.
Article 23: Disabled children. The right to benefit from
special care and education for a fuller life in society.
Article 24: Health care. Access to preventive and
curative health care services as well as the gradual
abolition of traditional practices harmful to the child.
Article 28: Education. The right to free primary
education, the availability of vocational educating, and
the need for measures to reduce the drop-out rates.
Article 34: Sexual exploitation. Protection of the
child from sexual exploitation including prostitution
and the use of children in pornographic materials.
Here are just a few excerpts from the International
Convention on Human Rights
Article 1. 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.
Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and
freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without
distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national
or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis
of the political, jurisdictional or international status
of the country or territory to which a person belongs,
whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or
under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and
security of person.
Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or
servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be
prohibited in all their forms.
Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary
arrest, detention or exile.
Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of
movement and residence within the borders of each
state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country,
including his own, and to return to his country.
These conventions really cause one to think. Shouldn’t
these be so natural for all humans to follow?
Unfortunately it has not been the case. What part are you
going to play to bring equality, justice, fairness, and the
illumination of all forms of violence? What are you
personal codes for conduct and relating to others?
Barrington H. Brennen is a
marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical
psychotherapist, USA. Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or
write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org or
call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002