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Impacts of Globalization on Human Rights.

Byline: Munawar Sabir


Globalization is one of the most articulated and experienced phenomenon which has resulted from the increasing interdependence and interpenetration of nations communications and flow of ideas across the borders is one of the conspicuous dimensions of the current world. International standards and actors for the protection of human rights are ever more advanced and practically active than ever in human history. But violation and encroachment on basic human dignity continues and the rise of international actors that generated the development of human rights globally may also be the cause of new ways and means of negation of human rights .In globalized world human rights are no more a question of national actors but more dependent on the international and global actors and institutions as multinational companies media and others. Human rights have become a multidimensional term as it encompasses social but political and economic aspects as well.

Key Words: globalization human rights NGOs labour


In definitional context globalization is the trend to a single interdependent and integrated world. Globalization in the20th century emerged with the linking of nations and people around the world through transportation. Fast and efficient global transportation made possible bringing exotic fruits from warm countries to colder countries and producing goods in one country using raw materials imported from thousands of miles away. It brought cars and electronics from Asia to Europe and the Americas. It also sent American software films and music to Asia Europe and Latin America. Globalization can also be thought of as a process of integration and internationalization.

In the twenty-first century the speed of communications by telephone and the Internet has accelerated the process of globalization. Another definition of globalization calls it an ensemble of developments that make the world a single place changing the meaning and importance of distance and national identity in world affairs. This means that the positive and negative effects of bad news spread almost instantaneously. As the planes hit the World Trade Center towers on September 11 2001 American stock exchanges dropped and closed causing tremors that resounded in European and Asian stock exchanges as soon as they opened a few hours later.

Materials and Methodology

Qualitative approach is the basic thrust in this study moreover co relational approach has also been adopted as impacts of globalization on human rights is the central theme of the study. First of all related literature has been reviewed to rationalize the studied topic. Secondly Phenomenon of globalization has been tackled in the context equation of this study and concept of human rights has been elaborated to fit in this article. Then impacts of globalization on human rights have been analyzed.

Significance of Human Rights

Human rights are a set of universal claims to safeguard human dignity from illegitimate coercion typically enacted by state agents. The UN's inability to step into conflicts affects human rights around the world. The United Nations Charter guarantees human rights to every man woman and child regardless of nationality religion or race. If the UN is often powerless because strong lobbies form among member nations who are not necessarily interested in human rights it follows that the UN often can't do much more than talk about human rights. United States still have to explain the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the validity of the American intervention is still being debated by people in the United States and around the world. How do you protect the citizen of a democracy whose human rights are violated outside his own country by a nondemocratic country

For example some Chinese-Americans who live permanently in the United States have been imprisoned in China for alleged crimes such as publishing criticism of the Chinese government. In such cases the U.S. government uses quiet diplomacy a process that may take years. Because no administration is willing to risk the important trade relationship with China the American citizen may languish in prison for some time until the Chinese decide that release makes sense. Certainly the U.S. government or any government in a similar position deplores the way its citizen is being treated but unless it is ready to take drastic measures including war to protect its own citizen. It may take the case to the UN where a resolution might be passed but unless someone is willing to put teeth" into it perhaps freezing the offending country's accounts in international banks or denying an international loan there is no way for that citizen's own country to protect him.

In democracies human rights are guaranteed by constitutions and laws. They are protected by elected governments that may sometimes stray into abuses of human rights for example under the fear of terrorism and by judicial systems that are usually protected from interference by legislative or administrative bodies. If these protections of human rights don't work there is always the power of a free press to raise issues and help create a popular consensus in favor of change. Without democracy government depends on the will of one person often a military ruler or a hereditary king or a party often united by religion ethnic identity or a particular ideology. In those cases human rights depend on whims and reactions to situations and are not guaranteed. When the government threatens human rights protection must come from outside the country because the country's legal system and the press will be controlled and unable to significantly diverge from the government line.

History of Human Rights

The preceding words were written in 1690 by the British philosopher John Locke (16321704) in his essay Concerning civil Government". He described the rights of the individual as separate from society. Until that time political theories focused on what rulers should do to best take care of the people they ruled. The ruler's authority sometimes came from religion the Bible or the Koran and other times from tradition or because a ruler had more soldiers and could exercise power. If an individual was mistreated at the command of the ruler the individual could say it was unfair but he couldn't claim a human right to express himself or herself or to have a fair trial. Locke expanded on the idea of the natural or human rights that every person receives at birth. However as a man of his time Locke focused on defining how government should be organized to guarantee natural rights because individuals would never agree on where one person's rights stop and another's begin.

Therefore people form societies and societies establish governments to enable themselves to enjoy their natural rights .This is the reasoning behind the Declaration of Independence that stated the American colonists' pronouncement of separation from Great Britain. The Declaration begins with this definition of natural or human rights:

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Locke's influence is also felt in the Bill of Rights the ten amendments added to the U.S. Constitution in 1791 which combine individual and social rights. Human Rights in the 19th and 20th Centuries:

Although it was not the intention of Locke and the writers of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights to extend the human rights they recognized to every person people began to use the rights they had to gain others. They copied the language of human rights provided to others to demand those rights for themselves. The revolutions of 1848 in Austria Bohemia(today part of the Czech Republic) France Germany Hungary Italy and areas of the Habsburg Empire that did not become independent until after World War I were based on claims for human rights. Locke's writings and the American Declaration of Independence later extended in the American constitution provided the model. In many European countries and in the United States few had the right to vote. People who were excluded because they didn't own property used the right to assemble and to petition the government to attend demonstrations and mobilize thousands of others until the right to vote became universal.

That's one way that women in the United States got the right to vote in 1920. In Switzerland where change comes more slowly it took until 1971 for women to be able to vote.

Jack Donnelly of the University of Denver is a noted expert inhuman rights. In his essay what are Human Rights He points out that using the lack of human rights as a major accusation against another country is rather new from a historical perspective. Before World War II Soviet mass killings of small farmers in the Ukraine and Turkish massacres of Armenians were not considered by world opinion as violations of the human rights. On the contrary before World War II nations were generally free to do whatever they wanted to whomever they wanted within their own borders. The situation had changed by the end of World War II when the horrors of Nazi Germany's systematic destruction of European Jewry were revealed and the victorious allies were faced with the problem of how to treat the perpetrators of the crimes. The United States Britain and France set up the Nuremberg War Crime Trials which took place from 1945 to1946.

It was the first time that officials were held legally accountable to the international community for offenses against individual citizens not states and individuals who in many cases were nationals not foreigners. In the middle of the Nuremberg Trials51nations ratified the Charter of the United Nations on October 24 1945 setting up a new organization and providing an international mandate to guarantee human rights. Impacts of Globalizations

The United Nations Charter and Universal declaration of Human Rights:

The Preamble of the Charter to the United Nations states that

The peoples of the United Nations are determined to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights in the dignity and worth of the human person in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small."

The Preamble firmly established the importance of fundamental human rights for all people and all countries and it was a prelude to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the General Assembly on December 10 1948. The Universal Declaration provided the foundation for the legitimacy of human rights in the second half of the 20th century and what it started only increased in importance by the beginning of the 21st century. Coming out of two world wars the Universal Declaration for the first time in international relations linked human rights and peace in the first two sections of the Preamble.

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom justice and peace in the world Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people."

In the first section above equal rights are the foundation of freedom justice and peace. That assertion places human rights at the center of all relations between the nations of the world.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10 1948. In many countries around the world human rights continue to be violated even though nearly all countries signed the UN Charter. The second section introduces the expanded definition of human rights that persists to this day. For the first time freedom from fear and want is associated with traditional human rights. In the post-World War II climate when a large part of Europe and Asia had been left in wreckage and poverty the individual was assured of life without fear and that the most immediate personal needs will be fulfilled. He or she is at least to have the minimum food and shelter a human being requires. The Universal Declaration did something entirely new. It linked the right to be taken care of with the right to free speech and protection from an arbitrary government.

Economic Rights are also Human Rights

In the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration many additional rights are described. In Articles 1 to 21 the rights are generally similar to those in the Bill of Rights expanded to include all people without exception. The only concept that would have seemed new to the authors of the Bill of Rights is freedom from discrimination. However Articles 22 to 25 establish specific economic rights. In Article 22 it is the right to social security" and the economic social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.Article23 specifies the right to work to free choice of employment to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment." In Article 24 everyone has the right to rest and leisure including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay." Thus the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established a number of economic rights adding them to other human rights.

However stating human rights is one thing and enforcing them is another. In many countries around the world human rights continued to be violated"even though almost all countries had signed the UN Charter. The problem of enforcement remained.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

As early as 1946 the UN set up the Commission on Human Rights. This Commission meets every year and publishes reports on violations of human rights in various countries. While its findings are reported in the international media they initially did not receive much coverage by most of the world news organizations. However in 1993 the General Assembly ramped up the importance of human rights by creating a new position the High Commissioner for Human Rights with the rank of Under Secretary General who reported directly to the UN's head administrator the Secretary General. The High Commissioner has the power of publicity. By shining a light in dark corners and exposing the perpetrators of famine and massacres the High Commissioner can at least try to shame the country accused of violating human rights into some kind of better behavior.

This doesn't happen fast but the experience of themid-1980s when the human rights violations throughout the Soviet empire became widely known inside its borders shows that even dictatorial governments that try to control information can't avoid public exposure forever. Human Rights in Bilateral Relations

United States during the administration of President Jimmy Carter(1977 1981) when the State Department started emphasizing human rights in relations with a number of countries both allies and enemies. In the 1980s the United States and some European countries established observance of human rights as an important topic for diplomatic discussion. During the Cold War American diplomats in the Soviet Union and other nations in the Soviet sphere of influence made a point of meeting with dissidents while on official visits and regularly brought up human rights violations. While those nations usually protested and sometimes even broke off diplomatic relations the cumulative effort helped lead to the improvement of human rights for millions of people when Communism ended in Central and Eastern Europe.

NGO sand Human Rights

The term non-governmental organization (NGO) refers to any not-for-profit agency generally formed around a focused set of goals and having no affiliation with any government or business. A number of NGOs have played a significant role in making human rights an important topic in international affairs. For example one prominent NGO is Amnesty International an organization perhaps best known for its work helping political prisoners. Human Rights Watch is another significant NGO that issues an annual report every January updating the human rights situation in 70 countries. The importance of NGOs in human rights has been recognized by the UN which grants some of them observer status. This means that although they can't vote they can attend and speak at public sessions. The advantage of NGOs is precisely that they aren't nations so they are free to investigate and report their findings without worrying about the implications for a particular governing party or for a country as a whole.

True the only power they have is the power of spreading the word and of getting international media to take notice. However this power is not insignificant in our media focused world where news travels at the speed of the Internet. Getting the word out about an abuse of human rights often starts the process of acknowledging and eventually ending the abuse or at least improving life for the victims.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International (AI) founded in 1961 is one of the most respected NGOs. It has more than 1.8 million members in 150countries. The organization does not accept money from any government and is funded primarily by the members. In 1977 Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its work to assist political prisoners and fight torture. Each year the organization issues an annual report documenting human rights abuses in 155 countries. As soon as Amnesty International learns that an individual is in danger of human rights abuse it alerts members of the Urgent Action Network in over 70 countries. The Urgent Action Network tells its members how and where someone's human rights are being threatened and provides contact information for government officials who have the power to stop the abuse. Network members immediately send messages to those officials. AI claims that in 2004more than four in ten Urgent Action Network cases saw positive developments as a result of these messages.

Derechos Human Rights

Derechos Human Rights ( was the first Internet-based human rights NGO. Derechos means rights in Spanish so the group's name emphasizes its mission to promote human rights around the world to educate people about human rights to investigate violations of human rights to promote the rule of law in international affairs and to assist other human rights NGOs and individuals who have been abused. The group's primary work has been in Latin America but it is active in the United States and Europe too. Headquartered in California with an affiliate in Argentina and a partner. Derechos Human Rights links all of these countries through Internet communication. Derechos Human Rights maintains a Human Rights Mailing List and a Human Rights Discussion List. The mailing list is divided into sections for human rights NGOs human rights lawyers and human rights professionals and an open forum that anyone can join.

The discussion list is open to anyone but is not a forum for attacks on an ethnic group excuses for human rights abuses personal attacks or any kind of advertising. It is also not intended to be the place to publicize human rights violations or issue calls to action for victims. Those things are done through Human Rights News and Actions an Internet newsletter that provides current news about human rights abuses and offers archives relating to human rights organized by country and covering most of the world.

Freedom House

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt politician Wendell Wilkie and other prominent Americans committed to helping spread democracy and fight totalitarianism founded the organization Freedom House in 1941. The oldest American human rights NGO. Since 1986 Freedom House also includes the Center for Religious Freedom which monitors abuses of individual and group rights and pressures the American government through direct contacts and through the media. As noted on its website[The Center] insists that U.S. foreign policy defend Christians and Jews Muslim dissidents and minorities and other religious minorities in countries such as Indonesia Pakistan Nigeria Iran and Sudan. It is fighting the imposition of harsh Islamic law in the new Iraq and Afghanistan and opposes blasphemy laws in Muslim countries that suppress more tolerant and pro-American Muslim thought.

Global Exchange

Founded in San Francisco in 1988 Global Exchange is one of the newer NGOs. Its mission is to make Americans more aware of global issues involving human rights and to form partnerships with foreign organizations especially those in the less developed countries. Global Exchange promotes political and civil rights by monitoring violations wherever there is armed conflict and works to improve relations between such countries and the United States. Unlike Amnesty International and Freedom House Global Exchange works for what it considers economic justice and generally is opposed to many actions of the World Bank the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization. It lobbies multinational corporations to respect workers' rights and protect the environment wherever they operate. Global Exchange has called upon the Ford Motor Company and other car producers to make vehicles that average 50 miles per gallon by 2010. Ford has been targeted because according to the

Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) Ford cars are the least energy efficient. Global Exchange also supports the Fair Trade movement which tries to level the economic playing field between richer and poorer countries by insisting on the importance of building a more just global economy.

Human Rights Education Associates

Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) was founded in Amsterdam in 1996 and today is located there and in Cambridge Massachusetts. As one of the newer human rights NGOs it also depends primarily on the Internet for information and communication. HREA supports learning about human rights the training of activists and professionals the development of educational materials and programs and community-building through on-line technologies."HREA issues a number of publications that report on its previous programs or provide background information or other resources to support human rights educators and workers. One of the group's publications is a quarterly online newsletter. The June/July 2004 edition for example announced a new ten week distance-learning course on human rights monitoring. The instructor will be a Bulgarian human rights expert and because it is online the students who enroll may be located anywhere.

HREA is working with a number of other groups to support the World Program for Human Rights education announced by the UN Commission on Human Rights. In its first phase from 2005 to 2007 the groups will focus on promoting learning about human rights in elementary and secondary schools everywhere.

Human Rights First

Human Rights First was founded in New York City in 1978. It was initially known as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. Its primary activity is defending for free asylum seekers in the United States and around the world against restrictive immigration laws. Human Rights First also protects human rights activists from persecution by repressive government sand tries to help and build a strong international system of justice and accountability."In its 2003 annual report Human Rights First refers to12 million people around the world who has left their homeland and are seeking asylum and up to 25 million who remain in their own country but are displaced as a result of insurgent violence or war. The group also honors human rights heroes at an annual dinner. The 2004 winners were two women who fought for justice against governments that sought to prevent it. MehrangizKar is an Iranian lawyer who was imprisoned for two years before being released and driven to leave the country.

Her husband a journalist remains in prison. Helen Mack Chang spent ten years trying to get the Guatemalan government to find and punish the murderers of her sister who was an anthropologist in the country. She received an apology from President Oscar Berger and several military officers were convicted of the crime.

Human Rights Internet

Human Rights Internet (HRI) is an NGO specializing in exchanging information with international human rights organizations around the world. It was founded in the United States in 1976 but today is located in Ottawa Canada. HRI's network includes more than 5000 groups and individuals. HRI has a dual focus. It conducts studies and research in human rights topics and seeks to make them available to governments and NGOs. It also tries to bring technological expertise to human rights NGOs in less developed countries to empower them to fight more effectively against abuses. One of HRI's weapons is The Human Rights Tribune an online magazine published three times a year. Its motto is Because those who want to change the world know that information is their best defense." According to its website The Human Rights Tribune addresses all areas of human rights from anon-governmental perspective.

This unique resource can keep you abreast of important developments in the human rights movement worldwide. On its site HRI compiles Urgent Alerts from other NGOs. However unlike Amnesty International it focuses on continuing situations like the aftermath of the tsunami that hit several countries in Southeast Asia at the end of 2004 rather than those who want to change the world.

Human Strategies for Human Rights

Human Strategies for Human Rights (HSHR) was formed in2001 and based in Palm Desert California. Its mission is to combine business management and law to help NGOs do a better job in protecting human rights by working with grassroots groups in many countries. As noted on its website HSHR's approach is that through skills training the provision of useful information and the encouragement of conversation circles where local people come together to discuss their problems and to critically think through solutions that human development social cohesion and human rights can be realized. Like Derechos Human Rights HSHR relies extensively on the advantages of the Internet. Among the services it offers is online mentoring for example guiding NGOs in preparing proposals for donors and offering feedback on projects and answering e-mail questions on points of human rights law and related issues.

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) was founded in 1978 as Helsinki Watch. During the Cold War its mission was to monitor human rights abuses committed by the Soviet Union and its allies that were contrary to the human rights clauses of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. In the 1980s it set up Americas Watch to focus on Latin America and the organization grew to cover other regions. In1988 all the Watch" committees came together under the umbrella of Human Rights Watch. Today it is the largest human rights NGO headquartered in the United States. Its base is in New York City with offices in Los Angeles San Francisco and Washington D.C. Its European offices are located in Brussels London and Moscow while Asia is covered from Hong Kong.HRW conducts research and publishes the results in books and reports generating extensive coverage in local and international media. This publicity helps to embarrass abusive governments in the eyes of their citizens and the world. For example in early 2005

HRW targeted Nepal where King Gyanendra used the Royal Nepalese Army to dismiss the government and declare a state of emergency while imprisoning opponents. HRW also publishes Monthly Update ane-mail newsletter that lists the most recent violations of human rights and in some cases adds a What You Can Do" section providing an e-mail and/or postal address and phone number for the highest ranking official associated with the abuse. Supporters are urged to make contact and add to the international public outcry against the human rights violation. International Committee of the Red Cross:

The International Committee of the Red Cross includes the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent. Both perform humanitarian work with Red Crescent focusing on the Muslim world. The International Red Cross was founded in1863 in Geneva and work around the world on a strictly neutral and impartial basis to protect and assist people affected by armed conflicts and internal disturbances. More than 12000 staff members are located in permanent offices in 60 countries. The ICRC has operations in more than80 countries and uses thousands of volunteers as well. Canada and the United States are covered from the office in Washington.D.C. The ICRC also has an office in New York for its permanent delegation to the UN. One of the chief functions of the ICRC is to monitor and visit prisoners whose cases may involve human rights violations. The prisoners being held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay Cuba receive regular visits.

The IRC has also visited Abu Ghraib the prison in Iraq that was the site of human rights abuses by U.S. military personnel. Elsewhere in the Middle East the ICRC has monitored both sides of the Israeli Palestinian conflict since1967. Similarly it drew international attention to civil rights abuses in Kosovo that helped lead to NATO intervention in the conflict there. ICRC is still responsible for finding missing persons in Kosovo and in other countries of the former Yugoslavia. Many people know the Red Cross primarily for its work in helping the victims of natural disasters such as hurricanes floods and earthquakes. On the international level however the ICRC is a major force in protecting individuals and groups at risk during political and genocidal conflicts and wars.

Oxfam International

Oxfam was the original abbreviation for the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief which was started in England during World War II to provide relief to war victims in Europe. Since then Oxfam organizations have been established in 12 countries located in Europe North America and Australia Oceania to fight poverty and human rights injustice. In 1995Oxfam International was created to link them together. One of the leading NGOs in the fight for economic equality Oxfam considers that poverty and powerlessness are avoidable and can be eliminated by human action and political will. Using its own employees consultants partner organizations and volunteers Oxfam aims to empower poor people. The organization's approach to fighting poverty and increasing human rights is founded on five aims a livelihood services security participation and diversity. Oxfam is usually involved in the most visible human and economic rights campaigns and demonstrations.

However this is only part of a policy of combining the specific with the general. Oxfam's link their work on advocacy and campaigning for changes at global and national level to their work on practical changes at grassroots level.

Human Rights and Globalization after 9/11

Congress established the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) in 1984as an independent non-partisan federal agency to promote the prevention management and peaceful resolution of international conflicts. USIP conducts research and works in countries at risk because of chaos in the aftermath of war. Just after September 112001 the Institute sponsored a symposium on how to balance the United State's traditional commitment to advancing human rights and democracy and the new order created by the warn terrorism. Participants included current and former government officials. Each speaker affirmed that America had to continue to urge the expansion of human rights and some emphasized that in the atmosphere following September 11 extending human rights in countries where they were seldom observed was more important than ever. Elliott Abrams the National Security Council staff chief for Democracy

Human Rights and International Operations explained that the Bush administration had to determine how to encourage rule of law and respect for human rights innumerous countries in the Islamic world where neither of these matters are in very good shape. He went on to say that people in that part of the world often believe that they must choose between secular tyranny and religious tyranny. The United States must help people understand that there is a third way. Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner looked back at recent history and said that during the 1980s U.S. human rights policy abroad focused on elections. In the 1990s the emphasis was on building institutions of civil society NGOs chambers of commerce and other private organizations not beholden to any government. In the first decade of the 21st century the focus will be on assistance to new democratic rulers to help them govern in a manner that advances democratic practices and economic well-being while also ending corruption. Professor John Norton Moore of the University of Virginia reminded the group that on September 11 2001 the United States was not attacked for doing something wrong. He rejected the various reasons mentioned by Osama bin Laden in messages and interviews especially the claim that America is anti Islam and noted that the last three wars the United States fought in Kuwait Kosovo and Bosnia were all fought to protect Muslims. Instead America was attacked because of the ideals it represents on human freedom and democracy. More concluded that where democracy and human rights are absent war terrorism corruption and refugees are often the result. The Future of Human Rights under Globalization

Few who are not extremists or fundamentalists believe that globalization can or even should be rolled back. For better or worse once exposed to the Internet and jet travel few would consider living in a world without instant communications and easy transportation. In the same way few involved in international trade as producers or consumers are agitating to replace it with the restricted local and national markets of the past. Most of the discussion of globalization today has to do with how to manage steer and upgrade globalization so that it brings the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people and spreads the benefits more evenly around the world leaving no country or region behind. Intertwined in that discussion of globalization is the role of human rights. Up to now globalization has not always led to an increase of human rights according to its opponents.

They argue that free trade sometimes collapses the economic rights of one group of people in reducing the value of their work leaving them without living wage or any wage at all if their jobs disappear. In other cases critics of globalization find that while one set of people may benefit as a result of free trade another is victimized as their rights are reduced or taken away.

Globalization and the future of Women Rights

In the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 women's rights were brought more explicitly into the mainstream of international human rights discussions .In the Beijing Declaration that was issued at the end of the conference the delegates reaffirm their commitment to ensure the full implementation of the human rights of women and of the girl child as an inalienable integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Intensify efforts to ensure equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all women and girls who face multiple barriers to their empowerment and advancement because of such factors as their race language ethnicity culture religion or disability or because they are indigenous people.

The final action section of the Beijing Declaration seeks to guarantee access to economic resources including land credit science and technology vocational training information communication and markets in order to enable the advancement and empowerment of women and girls. The Beijing Declaration gave supporters of women's rights another weapon in the international fight against abuses and violations. However even experts like Jagdish Bhagwati who generally defend globalization admit that so far it has not always been kind or fair to women. He uses as one example the problems that women who take positions as servants encountering countries like Saudi Arabia where local women are typically living in the Middle Ages and under Islamic laws as interpreted by illiterate and conservative religious leaders. As another example female servants from countries like Russia Philippines and Malaysia that export labor are sometimes treated like slaves by their foreign employers.

Many of these women are victims of economic restructuring or financial crises that result from their own countries attempts to keep up with globalization. The Philippines and Malaysia are both sites for inexpensive production of goods shipped around the world. As production depends more on technology and less on human labor thousands of people emigrate from these countries to find work. The kinds of abuses of women related to globalization could easily be alleviated at the national level both by the countries that supply the women and those that import them. Better enforcement of laws against criminal trafficking and more protection for human rights of women in every country would go a long way toward solving the worst problems. Moreover lifting regulations that are stifling a country's economy can open it for both foreign and domestic investment creating jobs and raising the standard of living.

In a period of national economic expansion women do better feeling less need to emigrate to find workand enjoying more civilized conditions abroad if they do.

Globalization and the future of Child Labor

Jagdish Bhagwati emphatically insists that abuses of child labor are unrelated to globalization. He tells the story of a child working as a servant in an Indian household who was beaten and burned by his employer for drinking some milk not finished by the man's children. This incident was used by an NGO to attack globalization. Bhagwati concludes as any sensible person would that the situation awful as it was caused by an evil person and not an evil international economic system. According to Bhagwati three recent studies have shown that as soon as poor parents have more money or the ability to borrow money they use some of it to send their children to school. It is only the very poor with no prospects of changing their economic condition who make their children work and they do so as a last resort. When a country's economy gets worse and credit gets tight people take their children out of school and send them to work in the fields or in sweatshops.

Child labor is not always the worst scenario in a developing country. Bhagwati believes that in the case of a poor country it is wrong for domestic or international legislation to mandate an end to child labor. In 1993 clothing factories in Bangladesh kicked out some 50000 child workers because they expected that the U.S. Child Labor Deterrence Act would be passed. As a result some of the young girls who lost their jobs went to work in the underground economy or even became prostitutes. As with human rights abuses against women if child labor is to be controlled it must be done by local legislation that provides severe punishment for abusers like the Indian employer in Bhagwati's example. Both Bhagwati and Legrain agree that child labor declines as incomes rise and opportunities expand. Child labor will decrease and eventually disappear as a country becomes richer because most parents want their children to get an education.

The more available jobs and the clearer the relationship between jobs and education the better both generations will do.

Globalization and Labor Abuses

Some critics of globalization have claimed for years that multinational companies from rich countries employ subcontractors in less developed countries who mistreat their employees paying them less than a living wage or providing inadequate working conditions. In 1995 the entertainer Kathie Lee Gifford was involved in an embarrassing situation when it was found that clothes sold under her label were manufactured in sweatshops in Honduras. As exposed by the National Labor Committee an American NGO women employees including13yearold girls were working up to 75 hours per week and treated in a humiliating manner by male armed guards. Gifford and her husband Frank Gifford became personally involved in overseeing the improvement of the factory and the eventual restoration of its contract with Wal-Mart the company for whom the Kathie Lee Gifford label clothes were being produced. Eventually workers were paid everything due to them.

Two years later sweatshop conditions were found in two small New York City factories employing Chinese immigrant women. These factories also produced clothes sold under the Kathie Lee Gifford label for Wal-Mart Kmart Nordstrom and Lerner shops a subsidiary of The Limited. Although the New York factories were unionized the owner kept double books and didn't pay the Chinese employees all the money that was due to them. The U.S. Labor Department discovered the crime imposed heavy fines on the owner and made the owner payback wages to employees.

Fighting Torture through Globalization

On January 1 1988 the UN Committee against Torture began operations as a result of Article 17 of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which came into effect in mid-1987. Consisting often members from ten countries elected by UN member nations that have ratified the Convention the Committee hears reports from countries and individuals and is empowered to conduct investigations into allegations of torture.134 Like other human rights organizations under the United Nations umbrella it employs a special reporter who collects information and personally visits victims of alleged torture prior to preparing a report evaluating the situation. Torture is a technique officially and sometimes unofficially or illegally employed by many nations around the world as a means of forcing information out of an unwilling person. In most democracies the discovery of the use of torture results in severe punishment of the perpetrator or groups involved.

It may be used in situations where individuals take it upon themselves to settle scores or impart punishment on their own. This maybe what happened at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad when at least some Iraqi prisoners were subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment at the hands of their U.S. captors although in most cases their lives were not at risk. Although it may be a normal procedure for creating fear and enforcing power in some situations no democratic governments and few governments in general admit to using torture. International exposure through mass media universal disapproval and sanctions in cases where torture is not an exception but an accepted policy seem to be the best way to combat torture in countries where citizens do not have the right to express their opinions about torture and to vote governments that perpetuate it out of office.

In democracies allegations of torture will often lead to media investigation and legal action by the victims while official channels are used to punish the perpetrators. This is what is happening with those accused of torture in the Abu Ghraib situation.

Global Human Rights depend on good Governance

Critics and supporters of globalization tend to agree that what is needed worldwide is good governance at many levels. The word governance refers to how international organizations like the United Nations the World Bank and the World Trade Organization construct their operations so as to have the maximum impact on human rights. Good governance refers also to the effectiveness of national governments in guaranteeing human rights and protecting their citizens from abuses and violations.


Globalization has many positive and negative effects on human rights. A few positive effects are a child working as a servant in an Indian household who was beaten and burned by his employer for drinking some milk not finished by the man's children. The incident was highlighted by a NGO and acquired the international projection and violation of human rights was addressed.

Child labor declines as incomes rise and opportunities expand. Child labor will decrease and eventually disappear as a country becomes richer because most parents want their children to get an education. The more available jobs and the clearer the relationship between jobs and education the better both generations will do.

The rights of women are considered in this globalization era. Islam is the religion who provides and protects rights of women in relationship of mother daughter sister and wife. Islam also provides equal rights to every individual of the state and even for slaves. The last address of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) is considered as the manifesto for human dignity.

Violation of Human rights in terms of women rights child labor labor abuses and torture fighting can be overcome through the impacts of Globalization. International exposure through mass media universal disapproval and sanctions in cases where torture is not an exception but an accepted policy seem to be the best way to combat torture in countries where citizens do not have the right to express their opinions about torture and to vote governments that perpetuate it out of office.

The negative effects of globalizations are free trade sometimes collapses the economic rights of one group of people in reducing the value of their work leaving them without living wage or any wage at all if their jobs disappear.

End Notes

Gilpin Robert. The Challenge of Global Capitalism: The World Economy in the Twenty-First Century .Princeton: Princeton University Press.(2000)

Edited by Alison Brysk.Globalization and Human Rights. Berkeley: University of California Press.(2002)

Challenges of Globalizations. Imbalances and Growth Edited by Anders Aslund and Marek Dabrowski. Washington .D.C: Peterson Institute for International Economics.(2008)

Kadragic Alma. Globalization and Human Rights. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Company.(2006)

The Emergence of Global Governance Theory."In Approaches to Global Governance Theory edited by Martin Hewson and Timothy J. Sinclair 3 22.Albany N.Y.: State University of New York Press. (1999)

Human Rights Public Finance and the Development Process.". Special issue. American University Journal of International Law and Policy8 no. 1 (Fall). (1992)

Fourth World Conference on Women Beijing Declaration. Retrieved on January21 2013 from p.2.(2013)

Once and Again." New York Times 2 January p.5 9. (2000)
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Author:Sabir, Munawar
Publication:Journal of Political Studies
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 31, 2014
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