Former South African President, Nelson Mandela, once said “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” (McHenry, 2013).Whatever a person’s ethnicity, religion, or color is, he is entitled to his human rights without discrimination. Human rights are rights that are inherent to an individual. As what is stated in the Universal Declaration of Human rights, all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights like other people (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, n.d.). Put it simply, every person all across the world have human rights that ought to be acknowledged and respected.
Nelson Mandela is a hero who had successfully managed to debunk the ingrained system of white supremacy in the society for the promotion of the equal practice of all people’s human rights. He is greatly known for abolishing the apartheid and revising human rights during his time.
At present, it is not an unknown fact that there are various barriers to human rights in Africa. These stumbling blocks are not only cultural and religious in nature, but also social and gender-based. Up to this day, violence continues to harm thousands of African women regardless of the economic class they belong in. It has been said that this is one of the fruits of the cultural and social inequalities that seem to subsist between African men and women. Due to the subordinate status of women in Africa, they often experience abuse and violence. To make things worse, such gender discrimination is considered normal by many instead of a serious issue which should be resolved immediately.
The rights a person has to health, physical integrity, life, and to be free from any degrading treatment are all neglected by African healthcare providers and traditional circumcisers who perform Female Genital Mutilation, a discriminatory practice which is currently prevailing in Africa. The reasons as to why there are people who carry out such process can be explained best through the cultural background of Africa. FGM is a cultural practice which many women in Africa experience mostly because of social pressure. They are heavily influenced to conform to such tradition which is often deemed by most African people as a part of the so-called normal growth development of female individuals. This is supported by those traditional individuals who believe that female genital is a body part which is unclean; hence, if it will be removed, females who underwent the said process shall fall under the clean cultural ideal of Africans. While there are those individuals who have decided to consider this as something unimportant and wrong, there are still a lot of Africans today who promote and practice it. It is for this reason why African women’s human rights are still being violated until today.
What ought to be done regarding this matter is to raise the awareness of various Human Rights organizations around Africa that can potentially address the issue through the right and effective approach. In addition, community members should also strive to take into account the roles women play in society in order to value them more and raise their image so as to promote equality and fundamental human rights among African people.
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Morsink, J. (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Origins, drafting, and
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Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (n.d.). What are
Human Rights. Retrieved December 12, 2014, from http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx