I know a lot of the time when we think of Human Rights, we are thinking of ourselves. It’s only normal to personalise it because it affects all of us personally. But here’s the thing, we are great at being advocates of Human Rights but not so much for our human responsibilities and after having gotten these rights that greatly influence the world we live in, can we all honestly say that we are responsible in how we benefit from them?
We have the right to: life and liberty, associations, property, freedom of expression, the right to work, the right to an education and so much more…
The world is ours to explore and make a change, in as many ways as possible. But with every Human Right, there is a Human Responsibility that is attached to it. The fact that someone can freely express themselves is good and well until what they want to freely express is perhaps culturally/racially or even sexually offensive, right?
Having rights does not give us permission to infringe our rights on other people. We are so adamant on exercising our rights that we sometimes forget to exercise them correctly. Very recently we all heard and saw the news on the man of God who resurrected one of his church members, without getting into the details – we all have the freedom of religion but we have to be responsible with our religious practices. ‘Resurrecting people from the dead’ as a means to show your congregation that you are an anointed man of God who can perform ‘miracles’ is abusing the right to freedom of religion.
The more irresponsible we are with exercising our rights the less weight they carry. Having the right to property only to vandalise it or use it as a sex trafficking exchange office is being irresponsible. Freedom of speech is how we ended up with platforms like the ‘Shade Room’, where people exercise their freedom of speech to bash others and publicly scrutinise complete strangers.
It’s so liberating to have so many Human Rights and to be able to practice them, but we need to be conscious of the great responsibility that comes with all these rights. As individuals, we need to practice our rights in a way that does not take away the rights of others, let our rights liberate us and not cause a questionable doubt about whether or not we deserve to have them.
It’s time we realise that we can’t be complacent with our human rights and that we are responsible for our own liberation.