Factors Influencing the Defense of Human Rights


The delivery of basic human rights i.e. to individuals and groups in its true essence has been the topic of enormous discussions and literature. It is a challenging job to identify a factor as one that is either defending the basic human rights or is a hindrance to it. A number of factors enable or hinder the delivery of human rights. Class, legal, cultural, social, gender, racial, ethnical and religious are some of the most important factors that play a vital role in the provision or obstruction of human rights. The main focus of our classes has been factors like class, race and ethnicity and gender. In this report, I would like to discuss these factors and the different ways they influence the delivery of human rights in the light of the theories discussed in the class and my personal understanding. At the end of the report I would discuss where I stand on these issues and what I think is the way forward to ensure that every one of us has access to basic human rights.

Class and Defense of Human Rights.

Class is one of the important factor that in my opinion influences the decisions to provide or obstruct human rights. There is no specific definition for the word “class” in this context. According to Carl Marx, class is determined by the relationship to the mean of production. By this basic definition, Marx has categorized class into the capital owners or investors, those who have enough capital or skills to work for themselves and those who always work for others. The basic idea of the Marxism was to bring the means of production into the state ownership. This way the class differences can be minimized and the provision of human rights can be possible. I personally disagree to this notion. In my opinion the kind of equality Marx has been talking would need a power structure that is authoritative in nature. This would be crucial because the ownership of capital is one of the main human instinct. In my opinion basic human right should be based on some standards of right e.g. freedom of speech, provision of health and education for all citizens and a shelter. There must be a competition for the luxuries in a society to motivate creativeness and to strive to do more. This is very important, in my opinion, to keep the society moving in the forward direction.

I find it to be more inclined with the definition of class by weber. He has defined class as an individual entity that is related to what do you bring to the open market and how much is it. Weber suggested that economic and social classes are two different things. Economic class is related to how much in control of wealth you are. The social class is related to status of amount of honor received by an individual. The provision or obstruction of the quality of human rights is then determined by your economic or social class or both. This is what we see in the world today. If you have wealth and status, you are believed to be a man of power. A “powerful” person has access to top class super expensive lawyers to defend him/her in legal matters while the “powerless” might be unable to defend themselves even if they are not guilty.

Race and ethnicity and Defense of Human Rights

People who identify themselves as one race and an ethnic entity based on their origin, language, shared culture and history. During the human history, different races have come together to form a nation. The basis of these nations have sometimes been the color of the skin. While other times it might have been the religion these different races believe in.

Human rights have always been a burning issues across race issues in the world. Especially in the United States of America, the African American community has been complaining as their human rights being violated at the hand of the White American majority. Race can be both advantageous and disadvantageous when it comes to the defense of human rights. On one hand, in a society the identification of an underprivileged ethnic group can help in ensuring that they are provided with equal opportunities to jobs and other social facilities by the state. While on the other hand, race or ethnic affiliation can be used to stigmatize by a majority and in control group. This becomes an easy way to target underprivileged ethnicities and it results in their basic human rights being violated.

Gender and Defense of Human Rights

Gender has could sometimes be a determinant of the degree of human rights provision or inhibition. The majority of world’s nations have been living in a male dominated societies, therefore, the focus of gender related discussion has been focused on the topic of feminism, its definitions and implications. Different schools of thoughts look at feminism from different angles. Marx looks at feminism from a class lens where he sees the cause of women oppression to be capitalism. Radical feminism believes the female biology to be the cause of oppression. The list of such kind of these point of views goes on. The school of thought that I have found to be attractive to me is the Liberal Feminism. It focuses on the gender equality and equality of opportunities. Women have been considered to be physically and intellectually inferior to men. This has resulted in their human rights being violated. They have lesser access to jobs, education and domestic financial resources as compared to men. Liberal feminism touches these all issues and advocates equality. This way all these human rights can be ensured.


In my opinion, in the majority of the present world, the provision of basic human rights is yet to be ensured. Factors like race and ethnicity, gender and class can be utilized to pin point the violations of human rights and to strive to make these conditions better. Unfortunately this is not the case. As humans, we are yet to embrace the universal principles of respecting each other’s basic human rights. Having said that, I am hopeful of the future. We are making progress in the right direction. The speed may be slow, but there is effort by many people known and unknown who want to see the world where human share a peaceful environment. All of us need to put their share in the effort to recognize the human rights based on universal human values.