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Citizen Action in a Globalized World
Transcript of Citizen Action in a Globalized World
Social 10-1: Unit 8
By: Laura Somers (MacSween)
After World War 2, which raged on from 1939-1945, many countries were left in ruins and were tired of fighting. Soon after the end of the war, 50 countries came together in San Francisco in April 1945 to discuss rights that would apply to every person in the world, no matter who they were or what the looked like. The idea of having rights just because you are human was not new. Going as far back as 27 BC, the French realized that everyone tended to follow the same laws, and so everyone should be given the same rights. Ever since, the fight for human rights has been a long and tough battle, however, this was the first official attempt made by the international community to make these rights a reality.
By December 24 of 1945, the charter for the United Nations (UN) was created, and more than 50 nations were finally working together. "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" was adopted in December 10, 1948, and it was then when the official start of human rights began.
When The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created, the aim was to establish peace amongst the world's nations. As forces such as globalization quickly came to play an increasing role in world affairs, some of the rights presented in the declaration were put at risk. One of these rights is Article 18, which you will learn about throughout this action plan. Let's take a look as to how this right came to be, the extent to which globalization and democracy affects it, and how we can all work together to make this article a reality. Here we go!
background on the universal declaration of human rights
A prominent article within the 30 given human rights is Article 18,
which is stated as followed:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom,
either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest
his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
With religion being a key factor in the formation of WW2, it was imperative that freedom of religion was guaranteed to all people, no matter what nation they belonged to. This, along with freedom of thought, allowed for citizens to speak out about corruption and the wrongdoings of groups with authority. It gave them power. Power to make their communities better, to change their beliefs as they wish and to practice these beliefs without fear of repercussion.
To this day, terrorist attacks on the basis of religion are becoming alarmingly common, and people are being imprisoned everyday for speaking their minds. Without the diversity that comes from allowing everyone to share their thoughts, large issues can not possibly be resolved in a fair and democratic manner. This is why the promotion of Article 18 is vital to the success of the global community as a whole.
Impacts of Globalization on Religious Freedom
According to Pew Research Center Polls,
of the world's population will be Christian and
will be Muslim. The other
will be made up by all other beliefs, (Hindu, Buddhists, Jews, Folk Religions, the Unaffiliated, and Others.)
The increase of globalization is largely to blame for the rise in Christians and Muslims. As Westernized culture takes over other areas of the world, so does their religion, (Christians currently make up 3/4 of the American population.) This, along with the population increase in Middle Eastern countries, means that only two religions make up the majority of the world's belief. The diversity of religions in the world is shrinking, which will result in believers of smaller religions to lose their sense of community and independence. This greatly hinders the ability to freely express your beliefs, especially if you are in the minority.
Pew Research Center predicts religious populations of 2050
--> Bishop Carroll Youtube Page (Story of Human Rights)
--> YouTube (Pope Celebrates Religious Freedom, Immigrants)
Globalization promotes the expansion of Western culture, and encourages developed countries to impose their views on smaller countries. As businesses and people move transnationally and invade other cultures, a trend of uniformity slowly begins to take over. These superpower cultures eradicate smaller, more diverse cultures and enforce the spread of only a few certain religions. This not only limits religious diversity, but isolates less popular religions and interferes with their ability to worship freely. By looking at the populations of each religion in the world, we can see if any religions have a larger following than others.
IMPACTS OF DEMOCRACY ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
globalization also impacts religious freedom
While globalization can bring a lot of Western religious influence to mutiple parts of the world, it also brings pluralistic views from the developed world to countries that struggle to freely express their thoughts and religons. When totalitarian rulers are open to judments from the global community, the citizens in that country can gain inspiration from the freedom that other countries are given. Globalization allows for developing countries to raise the standards as to what rights they are given and fight for the freedom to believe in whatever they choose.
The technological advancements that have aided in the growth of globalization have also greatly benefited religious freedom. No matter where a person is geographically, they can research any religion they want on the internet in a matter of seconds. By educating themselves on all of the options that are available to them in terms of religion, people can choose what is best for themselves.
In many ways, the growing closeness of developed countries and developing countries can prove to be beneficial for religious freedom. As usual however, the question as to whether or not globalization is a positive force does not have a simple answer. It all depends on whose perspective is being looked at.
Democracy is defined as
“a system of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives.”
This power is vital to Article 18. Political factors tend to stop people from practicing their human right of expressing their thoughts and beliefs. In war environments, the wrong belief could easily have you killed, or even in a very religious community, can lead to discrimination or isolation. People need to have an outlet to express their view, and need to be able to pick a government that will rule in favour of the freedom of their thoughts. Instead of rulers who only govern by one set of religious beliefs, people can be governed by leaders that can seperate church from state.
Pluralism goes hand in hand with democracy, as people with all sorts of differents views and beliefs can join together to find a governing power that suits all of their interests. In places where democracies are the central political system, (such as Western and European countries,) there is also an increased acceptance level for different ways of thinking. This is why democracy is so important in spreading the interests of Article 18.
A problem that can arise with democracy and religious freedom is if the majority of a population want a certain religion to govern, then the minority religions will not have the support needed to express their own beliefs.
Even developed societies with long ties to democracy, like France, have put bans on religious clothing in public places, such as the "Burka Ban" of 2011. In this instance, the French government agreed to ban all religious symbols from publicly funded places, like schools. They believed in total seperation of faith and state, or simply secularism, although some students believed that their right to express their religion was being ignored. If a developed country can limit religious freedom, then it proves that in some cases, democracy is irrevelevant in the spread of Article 18.
Also, in some places of the world, democracy just isn’t an option. When American troops attempt to instill democracies in places where radical believers ruled before, bribery and threats are an obstacle for people to vote in an election. Citizens are threatened to vote a certain way, or are given money by a corrupt party. Out of need or fear, they vote for a party that they don’t want to rule, which takes away their ability to freely express what they believe.
In theory, democracy is the best choice of political system for the encouragement of Article 18. If people have the power to decide what is best for their society, they will be able to express whatever things they believe in. This only works however if the democratic system is fair, and factors such as corruption, theats, or bribery are not in the way of the citizens' freedom of speech. Another important factor to take into account is the fact that the public is always right. If the people choose to seperate the government from religion, as France did, this will limit religious freedom, but secularism might be best for the society as a whole. In short, true democracy is definitely beneficial in the spreading of freedom of belief.
democracy impacts religious
But sometimes, democracy
In the end, democracy
Responsibilities That Citizens Have In Promoting Religious Freedom
Now that we know more about Article 18 in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is time to take some action in protecting this fundamental human right. Tolerance is a necessary pillar in the structure of our society, so by respecting other's opinions and other's rights in our everyday lives, we can build a community of pluralistic and open citizens. This can be as simple as allowing others to freely speak about their faith without judgement. If you are lucky enough to be able to vote, or have the chance to become involved in your community, take advantage of these rights! Join a club at school, or research different parties and their views on human rights so that you can make a smart and decisive vote.
Along with making basic changes to your everyday life, it is important to stand up and talk about difficult issues that are happening around the world. When looking at countries whose freedom of religion is not tolerated, it is clear that they do not have a voice to respond to this injustice. Contacting your government through letters, petitions, or organizing protests demanding that freedom of religion becomes a worldy concern can be great ways of letting your voice be heard.
If anything is to be learned from this action plan, it is that voicing your opinions is not only important, but it is your right. Starting conversations about religion or about human rights in generally is great for developing our society. No matter what, our human rights are the one thing that connects every single person in this world with one another. We are lucky to have them, but there is still a long way to go before everyone can have the chance to fully appreciate them.
As Pope Francis once said:
"It's the duty of everyone to defend religious freedom and promote it for all people."
Good luck with your continuation of this action plan, and thanks for stopping by!
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