The world today is more connected than it has ever been, due to technology. New economic opportunities across continents have brought people from different cultures closer. In this scenario, openness and acceptability have emerged as vital qualities to have. Being able to adjust in a cross cultural team is critical to business today. Similarly, being able to live in harmony in a cross cultural neighborhood is critical to a healthy society. Therefore, it is important to find connections between people, and what connects cultures across the globe are human values.
As we observe Human Rights Day on December 10, 2012, it is worth pondering what this means. The term ‘human rights’ gives the impression that our rights need to be protected by an act of law. The human rights movement gained momentum after the atrocities of Holocaust in the Second World War came to light. However, if human rights need to be preserved by an act of law, it is not a sign of a highly developed society. Of course, laws are needed but they are a remedial step, a deterrent. If we look at any instance, we will see that what leads to human rights violations anywhere in the world is a narrow and prejudiced mindset. To ensure human rights are preserved and honored everywhere, we must provide ways to replace this narrow mindset with a broad outlook towards life.
Laws can suppress the bad in people, to a degree, but the goodness in people cannot be enforced by law. We need to nurture, encourage and manifest it with the right environment and guidance. I would say access to peace and happiness within oneself is the most basic human right. It is present in seed form in everyone and needs some nourishment before it becomes an everyday reality of life. I see governments all over the world today spending all their time and resources in creating deterrents — more laws and more ammunition, rather than nurturing goodness.
If our legacy to the coming generations is a set of laws to run the world by, they will continue to fight over rights. But if we could show them the right values to live by, we will leave an inheritance they can cherish.