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What Does It Mean to Live in Dignity?

What Does It Mean to Live in Dignity?

What does it mean to live in dignity?

Amnesty International is posing this question with Demand Dignity, a new multi-faceted campaign to eradicate global poverty.

According to the campaign’s site, “The campaign will demand the leadership, accountability and transparency that are essential to end the human rights violations that keep people poor…It is the combined abuse of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights that drives and deepens poverty. By demanding dignity we are demanding that all states adopt and implement the laws, policies and practices that will end deprivation, insecurity, exclusion, and voicelessness.”

Illustrating how poverty compromises people’s rights, Amnesty has divided the campaign into four themes: Maternal Mortality, Slums, Corporate Accountability, and Making Rights Law.

Maternal Mortality
Amnesty reports that half a million women per year die from pregnancy or childbirth complications. While uncommon in developed societies, in some countries in subsaharan Africa, as many as 1 out of every 7 women lose their lives. Amnesty defines this as “not only a global health emergency [but] a human rights scandal.”

“Women have the right to have access to services that could save their lives or prevent disabling injury in childbirth. Governments are responsible for providing those services.”
 
Slums
Over 1 billion people worldwide live in slums, or informal settlements that are often overcrowded and lack basic services. Slums have grown tremendously because more people are moving to urban areas in search of work. The settlements are often prone to violence inflicted by by gangs and/or the police.

“Amnesty International is calling on governments to end forced evictions, ensure equal access to public services for people living in slums, and ensure their active participation in all plans directed at slum upgrading.”

Corporate Accountability
The unprecedented growth in corporate power has resulted in disregard for human rights around the world, whether it be directly through abominable working conditions or indirectly through consuming and polluting natural resources, thereby endangering the livelihoods of the local communities.

“A system of regulation must urgently be put in place that ensures redress for those affected and prevents the pursuit of profit at the expense of human rights.”

Making Rights Law
This crucial aspect of the campaign centers on an individual’s right to be protected under the law, and to be able to demand justice when their rights are violated. Amnesty is currently campaigning for the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Optional Protocol), or a justice system for those who are unable to secure their rights in their own countries.

“Amnesty International will use this as an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with governments on the measures they should be taking nationally to ensure that economic, social and cultural rights are enforceable and that victims have access to effective remedies.”



Thousands of people around the world have added their voices to the conversation describing what they believe it means to live in dignity. Add yours in the comments section below, and visit Amnesty’s official Demand Dignity page to join the campaign.

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20 comments

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6:41PM PDT on Sep 26, 2009

As a private school teacher for 23 years, I have noticed the way the majority of parents now teach their children which is, the importance of their looks, money, spending more time in after school classes instead of spending more time with their children. Values are know taught in school but must be practiced at home. We need to go back to basics and remember that values make us better human beings. Our children today, will be the our future leaders of tomorrow, so we must teach them through our actions about being sensitive to other people's pain! We can all start today and make a difference in someone's life and be sure that your children participate in this experience! I really admire people who have money that take the time and share what they have with the less privileged. My guess is that these people had parents that took the time to teach them about values!

8:02PM PDT on Aug 21, 2009

UNBEARABLE....I HIGHLY SUPPORT THIS CAUSE

4:32PM PDT on Aug 2, 2009

Yes, there is great judgment and the any real regard for sooo many people in the world. Poverty stops the expression of truly worthy people globally and in America.....Rich people are preceived as "better than" and more successful than poor people.....in America people are facing their "rich illusions!"
Less is now more!

6:05PM PDT on Aug 1, 2009

We are all created equal - we all are entitled to rights to live as we chose whatever our beliefs maybe just so long as we do no harm!!! Respect and understanding and compassion for those who are different from us is paramount and most important of all LOVE.
Abuse, intolerance and murder in different societies of the female race are unacceptable - no matter what the belief is - because every single being on this planet has rights and is entitled to the best they can possibly afford themselves.
We did not come onto this planet to live our lives by what someone else thinks we should be, do or say - we are all individualist and our choices are just that OUR CHOICES.
Brightest Blessings
J

12:18PM PDT on Jul 31, 2009

Everybody has a right to live a good life no matter where they live and that is a fact.

12:47PM PDT on Jul 29, 2009

There are so many ways that human beings degrade one another's dignity. I applaud the breadth of Amnesty's current campaign because it addresses so many aspects of what it means to live in dignity. Every human being on the face of the earth deserves to be treated with care and respect, and with concern for his or her physical, psychological, and spiritual well being, no matter what his or her ethnicity, religion, gender, or age might be.

10:42AM PDT on Jul 29, 2009

For me dignity is being able to hold your head high, and to be able to live without stigma and ridicule, by this i mean, single parents, survivors of domestic abuse, people with mental health problems, gay and lesbian people, racism and those with aids. also i believe that to live with dignity is to be treated better by those who run the welfare state.

3:21PM PDT on Jul 28, 2009

If you really want to understand the causes of the poverty and choas in much of the world today you have to look at the historical causes. Although the USA did not generally engage in the tye of colonalism of the European Powers that does not mean we did not meddle in the economic and political afffairs of these countries. Usually this meddling was done at the behest of corporations using the CIA and resulted in tragic consequences for peoples of those countries. Read Tales of an Economic Hit Man if you want to know the details. We helped over throw democratically elected governments in most of Central America and much of Latin America some African countries, including several in the Middle East. That is why I do not agree that we have to choose between helping people here and those in these struggling countries. For too long we have been part of the problem. It is time we became part of the solution. There are two ways to do that. One is volunteer organizations who can help with watch dogging like Amnesty and micro loans like Oxfam, and with other types of assistance. The other way is to pressure our government to do the right thing. Hondorous which has just been taken over by a right wing military coup, is a good current example. Our labor Unions are pressuring our gov. to support the democratically elected ousted president. We need to make Hilary and Obama do the right thing and not give in to corporate pressure for ecomomic gain.

9:42AM PDT on Jul 27, 2009

Dignity is viewed differently by different levels of monetary values. Once someone loses most that they own they learn what real dignity is, simple basic daily needs. The US citizens are faced with a class of people that barely have their dignity now, with millions that do not. Each country of citizens needs to force "their" government to step up and allow means, jobs, etc to those to gain their own dignity instead of like in the USA bailing out mismanaged corporations. Get back to the basics should be our goals in the USA. Feed our children and families that need our help. Take back jobs from illegal immigrants and allow our young people jobs so they can learn dignity. Once we start resolving our USA issues the ones that have dignity can and will help many others around the world. As the Bible says, care for your needs and help those in need. It does no good to make those without work and proper food for their families to feel guilty about other nations poverty. You help those in the USA and then they have their dignity and their pride to help others. I have seen so many seniors without work, without their medicines, and without proper food. They are choosing their rent over their food. Can we start here in the USA and set a good example for our children, without the greed taught previously. Can we teach our children how to volunteer when their needs are meet? Can we all be planning the basics and add some help to our seniors right in our own families. God Bless

9:41AM PDT on Jul 27, 2009

Dignity is viewed differently by different levels of monetary values. Once someone loses most that they own they learn what real dignity is, simple basic daily needs. The US citizens are faced with a class of people that barely have their dignity now, with millions that do not. Each country of citizens needs to force "their" government to step up and allow means, jobs, etc to those to gain their own dignity instead of like in the USA bailing out mismanaged corporations. Get back to the basics should be our goals in the USA. Feed our children and families that need our help. Take back jobs from illegal immigrants and allow our young people jobs so they can learn dignity. Once we start resolving our USA issues the ones that have dignity can and will help many others around the world. As the Bible says, care for your needs and help those in need. It does no good to make those without work and proper food for their families to feel guilty about other nations poverty. You help those in the USA and then they have their dignity and their pride to help others. I have seen so many seniors without work, without their medicines, and without proper food. They are choosing their rent over their food. Can we start here in the USA and set a good example for our children, without the greed taught previously. Can we teach our children how to volunteer when their needs are meet? Can we all be planning the basics and add some help to our seniors right in our own families. God Bless

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