I feel like the guidelines of the Human Rights are just and ideals for the population of a country or a group of people, and morally less corrupt than the guidelines or values of many political parties. They have been around for many years, and yet many countries still fail at ensuring that these basic rights are respected, and enforced.

In their original form and without much modifications, they could stand as the core values of a political party. Or, in countries where these rights are supposed to be enforced but rarely are, political parties could pretend to enforce these rights better.

And yet, I don't think that a political party has ever claimed to do any of that, or make it a central part of their political program.

I wonder why, and if there's an "obvious" reason for that that I'm missing completely.

EDIT: I do realize that many countries "pretend" to respect the Human Rights and abide by them. Nevertheless in these countries nothing is actually being made buy governments to reduce the inequalities between people, treat everyone the same, sanction abusers, etc.

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    I can't understand why this question has been so badly downvoted. It is valid, answerable, and it shows some prior research. It is somewhat naive, but not bad at all. Oct 2, 2015 at 11:41
  • Thanks @bytebuster, it's really nice to read a comment like yours. Why does stuff get generally down-voted on SE sites? Always for the same reason: abuse of one's little powers, or people feel superior by down-voting so they do it as a herd. Always easier to criticise something than try really hard to understand it. It might also be that this question threatens people's political beliefs; they think they live in awesome countries with no inequality between citizens whatsoever, so pointing out these inequalities or not-ideal real life situations in so-called "developed" countries annoys them Oct 2, 2015 at 18:29

2 Answers 2

  1. In countries where human rights are applied, they are, as you say, "core" values. So "core" that, when they are applied, it makes no sense / gives no useful information just to say that you are "pro-human rights parties".

    Imagine the USA Democratic or Republican party running an ad saying that they are against slavery, or people being put in jail without due process. At best, it is time wasted because it will neither report to the voters any new information nor remark any difference against the other political parties. At worst, the public will be confused as why the party feels they need to make such a pointless statement (imagine Obama addressing the nation to state that he is against using the CIA to kill Republican politicans).

  2. In countries were human rights are not applied, there are usually parties that try to promote them. Note that in many cases, they will not defend them collectively, but rather the individual rights. This is useful because:

    • people will understand more easily "freedom of association" than a more abstract "human rights".

    • "Human rights" as a label may be seen as an external politic guideline (decided by a few countries), strange to the country culture (for example, Chinese officials often claims that the concept of the Human Rights is the product of Western culture and not appliable to Chinese politics. Defending particular rights is a way to bypass that affirmation and focus in the actual rights being demanded.

    • Some countries may be receptive to some Human Rights and not to others, for example maybe Saudi Arabia is more receptive to allowing association rights than, say, religious freedom or women's rights. Even people who are in favour of all the "Human rights" may chose to demand only those that are realistic demands.

    • And last but not least, in many countries without Human Rights, demanding the Government to change its polices is heavily prosecuted, both legally and illegally.

  • Thanks, but I think you're jumping to conclusions a little too fast. "Every human being is born equal, without consideration of gender or race" say the Human Rights Declaration. And yet I couldn't think of a single country where women get paid as much as men or people of color get as many chances in life as white people. Same goes for "slavery", the old definition is gone but the new one certainly isn't (although that one's more or less subjective). So if you believe that the Human Rights are "applied" in some countries, please back it up Oct 1, 2015 at 10:02
  • I do not understand your POV. That the laws are not always perfectly followed does not means that there are no laws or that they are not applied. From your "logic", the existence of people that breaks speed limits is equivalent to the inexistence of such speed limits or the claim that the police does not enforce speed limits. And that a political party should run only on the basic that they suport speed tickets (or not). YOU should back up your claims that there are no countries supporting Human Rights.
    – SJuan76
    Oct 1, 2015 at 10:14
  • And yes, that there are laws against racism does not mean that racism (or their consequences) is automatically over. But those provide a way of protecting against racism, even with measures like affirmative action or the fight against segregation based in the fallout from racism (social/cultural/geographical segregation, for example).
    – SJuan76
    Oct 1, 2015 at 10:19
  • Women are paid less than men in most countries recognising Human Rights. It might be illegal, it might not. But if a political party came forward and wanted to end such a disparity, jail people, they would want to "apply" in a better way anyways - what you consider is taken for granted. AFAIK political parties made speed tickets the base of their program (such as Sarkozy in France) so your example is actually very real. As long as there will be extremely obvious inequalities, that shatter the so-called abiding of some countries to the H.R., there is room to defend these rights "more" Oct 1, 2015 at 10:24
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    fabrice, this place is for asking actual questions. If your interest is just to rant about how unfair the world is and how much better you would make it, you should really delete your question. Oh, and women and minorities sue their employers often, and sometimes they win. And, oh, I cannot believe I am posting from maddox here, but look at: youtube.com/watch?v=BDj_bN0L8XM
    – SJuan76
    Oct 1, 2015 at 10:27

I think I understand, from reading the comments, where you're coming from. You haven't stated it in the question, but I think your objection is that although there are laws allowing people equal rights in the basic ways, there is still inequality in society.

What I think you're missing is that the UN's declaration of human rights (which I also think is an amazing document that all should read) is not about how individual people treat one another, but how governments legislate on the most basic levels. Issues such as a particular race, gender, religion or sexuality not being allowed to vote, for instance. These are real issues in some countries that don't subscribe to those rights.

I think you're concerned that governments don't pay enough attention to ensuring these principles are fully permeated throughout society. It does come off as a rant. While it is of course important for us to move forward in ensuring equality for all, that's not anyone's real priority, next to other more pressing issues.

So the answer to your actual question is that it's not a priority. In mainstream political discourse, equality on the level you're thinking of is not a serious issue. Nor should it be, in my opinion, next to issues such as how to deal with terrorism, foreign aggressors or how political systems are structured. We do enforce laws on these things, but it's relative to the scope of the problem, which isn't viewed to be as big as you seem to think. We don't send managers to jail for life for firing someone based on their sexuality. If that's what you want, then you should consider whether we enforce laws more severely in general, which is an actual political position people take and you'd find a few supporters there.

  • I think it's also worth highlighting that some countries struggle with factions that object to UN policies as a matter of principle, so fully implementing the declaration is problematic.
    – Phil Lello
    Apr 4, 2016 at 20:50
  • @PhilLello- "These are real issues in some countries that don't subscribe to those rights." That's pretty much what I meant; that some countries flat-out reject human rights as we know them. Most of those have some form of Islamic theocracy. Apr 5, 2016 at 7:50
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    Actually, I was talking about the US; multiple articles are ignored for the purposes of torturing terrorism suspects (remember, this is about a countries principles, not how it acts domestically); Article 18 conflicts with the Pledge of Allegiance; other UN policies such as Agenda 21 are seen by some as a conspiracy to limit liberty.
    – Phil Lello
    Apr 5, 2016 at 9:34
  • @PhilLello- I think much of it is up to interpretation. But yeah, there's some definite hypocrisy on the issue of torture. Perhaps the idea of Guantanomo would have been abhorrent back in '48 when the UN's declaration of human rights was written. Sometimes people forget that there are actual reasons behind principles, rather than it just being meaningless red tape. Apr 5, 2016 at 9:46

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