Human Rights: a Rhetorical Problem for the World and G20

Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood. – Jimmy Carter

In 1948, United Nations General Assembly adopted a declaration that called “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. This declaration expresses the effect of Second World War and proves the world awareness of human rights. Since that declaration signature, the world has been starting notice with human rights issues. From that point, there is a realization of the importance of human rights.

However, what is human rights? The definition of human rights is not clear and is not basic standard. United Nations Human Rights wrote human rights are the rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status.[1] Australian Human Rights Commission has many definitions of human rights. In their website, they wrote human rights are often defined in different ways.[2] For some institutions, defining human rights is their own difficulty because there are some unanswered questions, such as how is about capital punishment for terrorists, why should existing religion part in citizens’ identity cards, does the army have the right to kill someone that allegedly guilty, etc. That is why the benchmarks related human rights does not have the deal until now.

Human rights, a rhetorical question that could not be answered? For some countries, human rights violence is a rhetorical problem that could not be solved by their selves. Over time, human rights issues do not only about human violence, but also about human security without blood cases that people sometimes could not aware of them, such as food security, sustainable economy, corruption, human justice, woman and child, environment, and many more.

Human rights is not only about human justice, but also about human interests that should be fight by the governments, social and people around the world. That is why every country always tried to bring many human rights issues in to international. Although so many questions related human rights could not be answered, human rights issues become a huge debate in international society.  Since United Nations adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, 53 countries has been join as members of the Commission of Human Rights. It proves the commitment of many countries to build the awareness of human rights issues and find the solutions to solve them. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights wrote a list of human rights issues. There are 55 issues related human rights that could be addressed. They are related with humanity and social problems, including climate change, culture, democracy, up to disability.[3]

G20 as a bloc of developing countries should realize human rights is a big issue that often unsolved. Human rights always attached with all international issues. People should have rights to live, have a freedom, and no discrimination. G20 as a group that established by economy working area could not leave human rights issues. G20’s agenda in 2014 is to establish the strangeness, sustainable and balance growth for G20’s members. All issues that to build global economic resilience and to boost growth through the private sector cannot discharge human rights in every policy.

Some problems should be discussed by G20 countries members as the commitment to solve them related human rights. In G20 leaders meeting in 2013, G20 addressed the discussion about Syria and show G20 reaction about humanity in Syria.[4] It shows how G20 care of global issues and tries to act as a global citizenship that care of humanity issues. A good step has been started by G20 since G20 Leaders’ Declaration in September 2013. G20 opens public reactions and participations to contribute a better world without human rights violence. However, it is not the ending, but it is the beginning of G20’s reaction related human rights in every single life.

Although a rhetorical question, human rights should be upheld the highest. G20 established based on economy system that every country wish increasing the growth and the accountability over the members. Economy and human rights are related, but oftentimes they are opposed. G20 can be a promoter group to campaign an economic system based on humanity and care of human rights. As a group that has countries membership from many nations and continents, G20 can raise the problems of economic and human rights in every country. Human rights issues are a major problem for global citizens. The impact of these problems can affect cross-country. Global citizens should realize struggling human rights is a great challenge. Based on humanity, G20 can campaign the alterations globally for development and give global citizens a break to contribute fighting the human rights violations by their ways.

One of building global economic resilience points in G20’s 2014 Agenda is anti-corruption. It is a great chance but it is a great challenge for G20 members to raise the awareness of the importance of human rights. It is a continuity sustainable development from G20 since Saint Petersburg Declaration in 2013 to fight the human violations from every slot that possible to. G20 have a role to establish global citizens that realized corruption is a criminal that can be affecting human rights violations. G20 Leaders’ Declaration in 2013 is not only a commitment that birth from all G20 leaders, but also shows to the world how care G20 about humanity. In the end, human rights should be valued in every single life even though so many questions that could not be answered behind of its.  Showing G20’s countries members commitment and contribution is the first step that should be continued.



[1] United Nations Human Rights. What are human rights?, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx, accessed on 5 January 2014.

[2] Australian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Explained: Fact Sheet 1: Defining Human Rights, https://www.humanrights.gov.au/human-rights-explained-fact-sheet-1-defining-human-rights, accessed on 5 January 2014.

[3] United Nations Human Rights. List of Human Rights Issues, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Pages/ListOfIssues.aspx, accessed on 8 January 2014.

[4] Human Rights Watch. G20: No Excuse for Inaction on Syria, http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/05/g20-no-excuse-inaction-syria, accessed on 8 January 2014.