Human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights – these values are embedded in the EU treaties. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is a clear and strong statement of EU citizens rights. Even though Europe stands for equality – are there differences to the way human rights are being achieved?

Of course, we all know that over the course of history Human Rights were often violated. That inspired the UN´s declaration of Human Rights. During the conference I got the opportunity to talk with people from other counties about Human Rights in their countries

I am German and I feel like Human Rights are being respected in my country. Fellow German Pauline feels the same way. Still she would like be more educated about Human Rights. “I know we are in a privileged position, because I don´t have money problems or feel like I am missing something really important”. But even though we might feel like Human Rights are being valued all over the country, others might feel different. After all, Germany was ranked 14th in the Global Peace-Index.

Israeli participant's views on equality in their country

By complete contrast Israel was placed 136th, behind North Korea. Amal, Sahra and Sahar are Arabic-Israeli and sometimes they feel like “second class Israeli”. But what does this mean?
One example would be that “We have to learn Hebrew, is not my mother tongue and I am forced to learn it. Jewish people don´t have to learn arabic”, Sahra tells.
Also, the three are facing stereotypes steaming from their arabic origin. Amal is speaking perfect Hebrew but when she tells someone she has Arabic origin, people say: “You do not look arabic”. She feels really offended by that. She asks: “What must people look like in order for you to say that they are Arabic or German or every other ethnic group?”
While Israel defines itself a national state of Jewish people, 17,5% of the population is Arabic (and most of them muslims). This leads to tensions within the country.

Oppression in Turkey

In Turkey you can find violations against human rights as well. After the election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2002 the preservation of Human Rights in Turkey has been getting worse and worse, says Duygu. She left Turkey three years ago because she felt she could not life in this country anymore.
“In Turkey homophobia is getting worse, people have so many prejudices about homosexual people or transgender people”, she says and adds that it makes her a little bit angry that Women’s Rights are not even a topic in her home country. “Nobody is talking about it.”
The government oppresses the media and more accurate journalists about what they have to write. Many People don’t voice political criticism or anti-religious opinions because they are afraid of going to jail.

We can all change something

In an ideal world we would not have to fight for Human Rights. But since they are not in place everywhere it is important to stand up and make a statement. Therefore I’d like to end with the world of Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the scouts: “Leave this world a little better than you found it.”


Author: Leonie