My ROTC Speech on Human Rights
The Oxford English Dictionary defines human rights as “rights that are believed to belong justifiably to every person.” The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights lists 30 types of human rights, including rights like freedom and equality, the right to life, liberty and security of person, and the right to free elementary education. To me, human rights are rights that every human needs in order to create peace, success and happiness among people in society. Since I come from Tanzania in East Africa, I’d like to share how my beliefs about human rights have been shaped by the experience of growing up there.
In my country, I’ve seen many examples of what I’ve realized are violations of human rights.
As an example, in Tanzania, many police and politicians are corrupt. Once, when we were driving, a policeman stopped us for no reason and demanded money before he would allow us to leave. Because of this kind of corruption, people are scared of the police instead of trusting them to protect them. Another violation of human rights I’ve experienced in Tanzania is child abuse. In most schools, kids are legally beaten with sticks believing that it will change their behavior. Children get really scared of their teachers and can’t express what’s really inside them. Their right to an education is violated because kids can’t learn well in an abusive environment. The final example I’d like to share is vigilante justice. People can decide to light an accused thief on fire even when he’s not been proven guilty. Innocent people who might have played a good role in the society are killed or punished without even breaking the law.
In my country, I believe that the most important human rights violation is child abuse. Child abuse is cruel or violent treatment to a child. In Tanzania, corporal punishment, a form of child abuse, is legal and encouraged. According to AllAfrica.com, just last year, our Minister of Education, Philipo Mulogo, said that the reason our national exam scores are declining is because teachers are not beating children enough. Child abuse can have a very big impact on a child. It can cause physical and mental damage, low self esteem and also makes you hide who you really are. The reason I believe this is the most significant human rights violation in my country is because it makes children afraid to stand up for their rights from the time they are very young. Adults who have been abused as children grow up being scared to defend their human rights. I believe child abuse is the cause of all human rights violations because it makes even adults scared to defend their human rights. As Nelson Mandela once said, “The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children.”
Nelson Mandela also said, “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” I believe to deny people their human rights is also to destroy the possibility of the world we all dream of. Without human rights, we’ll never have peace, justice, happiness and liberty.