Supporting human rights goes so much farther than simply going to a demonstration or sending money to a far away country. It is the adherence to a set of moral rules that dictate a standard of how we interact and treat people. It is, simply put, integrity.
This integrity mandates that those who support human rights do what is right all the time, even when they are doing so without anyone knowing about it. These principles are the parameter through which we gauge how to behave and act both in public and in private.
While these moral standards are expected to be applied across the board for all people no matter what their position in society, some do not adhere to them and behave as they wish. Such people can be seen in positions of power and influence and sometimes cause great emotional and physical detriment to others.
Yeonmi Park is someone who has had first hand experience with being on the receiving end of such individuals. She had to flee her home country of North Korea because of the lack of human rights she felt existed. She had to endure unreal conditions such as severe hunger and unspeakable violence.
She was not always on the receiving end of such atrocities. She was born into a family that was a part of the ruling elite in North Korea. Her mom was a nurse for the army and her father was a civil servant for the Worker’s Party. When circumstances and political parties changed, so did her comfortable life and freedom.
She soon found herself on the receiving end of a government that was less than tolerant of differences and personal opinions. She found herself constantly scared of being watched and followed and soon found herself a witness to the killing of a close family friend.
We all have an inherent human vulnerability. This is what makes us all human. It is when this vulnerability becomes the paranoia of a ruling class that seeks to make conformity the norm and punishes differences. Yeonmi of yeonmi.net and her family soon found that fleeing North Korea was their only choice.
There has been a lot of debate over what human rights entail. Some feel that it is an obligation that we all owe each other as inhabitants of the planet. Still others believe that it is a set of guidelines that can be bent and altered as needed to ensure the safety of the greater whole of each society.
Everyone agrees that this talk of human rights should be something that is universal for every person in every country. That is about where the agreement over the term ends. Whether one lives in Zimbabwe or Paris human rights should entail a life without fear, pain or suffering. One should not be submitted to harm at the hands of others, and the basic needs of existence should be something that all can attain no matter what their status is in society. Finding a decent life should not be hard, and one should be allowed to pursue it to the best of their ability.