Presentation on theme: "The United States and World Affairs. Cultures – the ideas, customs, art, and beliefs of a people or group of people – differ as well as governments."— Presentation transcript:
Cultures – the ideas, customs, art, and beliefs of a people or group of people – differ as well as governments. Characteristics can also be shared. universal These shared chacteristics are universal. They apply to all people. A human right is a basic freedom that all people should have simply because they are human. Human rights include the right to adequate food, safety and shelter. They also include the right to be protected by law and to exercise freedom of thought. They have shaped important political events, such as the American Revolution.
In December 1948, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is made up of 30 separate articles, or statements, that define basic human rights all people have. Article 1 states: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Article 2 states: All people should have human rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. The remaining articles detail other rights and protections. Articles 22 – 27 focus on economic and social rights. In example: Equal pay for equal work There are countries that have not given all their people these rights. Protecting human rights is an ongoing effort.
Some governments do not protect the rights of their own people. Some rulers use repression to stay in power. Repression – means to prevent people from expressing themselves or from freely engaging in normal life. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, limit their people`s ability to get information. North Korea does not allow its people to exit the country nor to criticize the government. Violence can turn into genocide, the attempt to kill all members of an ethnic group, such as the Jews in WWII.
The US protests governments that take away people`s freedoms. Sometime it refuses to trade with such countries. The UN Human Rights Council observes and reports on human rights. When governments are accused of violating the human rights of their citizens, the Security Council can refer cases to the International Criminal Court for trial. Many NGOs also work for human rights. They too try to pressure countries into changing the way they act.
Democratic nations, as a whole, do a better job of respecting human rights than nations that are not democratic. As the twentieth century began there were only a few of the worlds nations where the people had the right to choose their leadership. Today, about 60% of the worlds nations are democracies. Spreading democracy has been a goal if the US for many years. After WWII the allies broke into two groups – The two sides had very different political and economic systems. The US and Western European countries had democratic governments and market based economies. The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe practiced communism. There, one-party governments owned all resources and directed all economic activities.
The conflict between these two sides was called the Cold War. It lasted from the 1940s to 1991. Chief nations US and Russia never fought each other. In attempts to stop Russia from expanding its power, the US supported rulers who abused the rights of their people. This was the case in Chile and Iran, for instance. In the late 1980s, unrest increased to revolt against their communist governments. New countries pushed these countries to democracy and free market economies. In 1991 the Soviet Union broke apart into 15 separate nations.
After the cold war the progress of expanding democratic power has slowed. In large parts of South America and Africa, many people are only partly free. Communist countries like North Korea, China, and Cuba continue to deny their peoples basic human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press. At the same time new threats to freedom have emerged. Al Qaeda and the Taliban have killed thousands of people around the world in order to impose their beliefs on others.
September 11, 2001, members of al Qaeda carried out on attack on New York city killing almost 3,000 people. The US responded in several ways. Department of Homeland Security has three goals: to prevent terrorist attacks on US soil, reduce the threat of such attacks, and to help in the recovery from attacks or natural disasters. Patriot Act is a law that increased the governments power to seek information which could be related to terrorism. Many people felt this law went too far. Certain rights under the constitution were no longer protected. Congress had to make some changes. Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban, a political group that did little to recognize the rights of the country`s people. In October of 2001, US Planes and troops attacked Afghanistan. President Bush feared the use of WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction). Leaders felt Seddam Hussein might provide such weapons to terrorists. In early 2003, the US and other nations attacked.
No WMDs were discovered. The government was critisized for the invasion. Fighting among Iraq`s different ethnic and religious groups made the situation worse. Eventually the US pulled its forces from Iraq after establishing a working police force and military, along with installing a new democratic government. By 2010 the US faced more global challenges. Iran seemed to be supporting terrorists with weapons and money. The US also believed that Iran was trying to develop nueclear weapons. Some groups in Pakistan were supporting terrorists. Despite helping Isreal reach a peace agreement with Palestinians, their conflict was not settled. The US is trying to help end internal conflicts and bring about peace while promoting democracy and human rights.