I know my rights

It is amusing how various outfits seem to be outdoing one another in inventing new “human rights”.

The institutional framework for enforcing universal human rights started with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the UN in 1948. It contained many polished phrases which, on the face of it, sounded reasonable if somewhat idealistic. Notably missing from the list of noble intentions was the right of citizens to spend the money they have earned through employment. This is because, as you may have guessed, the rights to free health, education and other social services for have-nots were going to be funded by the haves. The state was going to decide how much of the income would be taken off the workers and spent on public projects. That the idea of spending someone else’s income is akin to a system which has little to do with human rights – slavery – was of no interest to the authors of the declaration, but I digress.

UDHR was a raving success and others decided to hop on the band wagon of inventing human rights. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), adopted by the UN in 1966, were a lot more descriptive in how UDHR was going to be implemented. This was followed by Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which conferred even more rights on children (sadly, we are still waiting for a UN convention on the rights of parents). Since then the process disintegrated into a farce when all in sundry claimed the right to invent rights, usually to push their own political barrow. One  example is the link below in which a LGBT activist writes that homophobia must be eradicated because “love is a human right”:


To avoid misunderstanding: of course homophobia understood as treating people badly because they happen to be gay is ugly – without invoking an imaginary human right to love. But the most hilarious example of a dreamt-up human right in the recent times has got to be the right to broadband:


For those too busy to open links here is how this particular scam came about. International Telecommunication Union put together a report which was then presented to the world leaders at the UN’s Millennium Development Goals Conference. The ITU is headed by the president of Rwanda (country well known for an impeccable human rights record) Paul Kagame and Carlos Slim, the Mexican mobile phone billionaire (who can be viewed as totally impartial and objective on the issue – yeah, right). I will now reprint the action points from the report, adding explanations in plain English.

1. Connecting broadband with the Millennium Development Goals and knowledge societies

We want to piggy-back on the UN push to spend big on “millennium” programs…

2. Benefiting from transformational change

…and make a killing on it.

3. Using transparent, fair, competitive, technology-neutral models

The scheme will be engineered to look like a market-driven thing…

4. Enabling content and applications creation

…and sold as giving everyone access to the goodies like Facebook, illegal music and video sharing, internet porn etc.

5. Employing broadband to help combat climate change

Good PR consultants may even be able to claim that the program will somehow address your current obsessions of combating climate change and…

6. Accelerating broadband access for women and girls

…sucking up to feminists…

7. Supporting wider broadband inclusion for all

…and minorities.

8. Broadband modelling, evaluation and monitoring

Another plus is that the technical lingo will make you appear knowledgeable.

9. Building a global partnership for broadband development

It may even bring closer the realisation of your ultimate wet dream – global governance.

10. Next steps for broadband partnerships and projects

To appeal to the Bible folk we wanted to make it a 10-point list but have run out of ideas so this is just a space-filler.

Harsh? I have a right to be!


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