Dear Presidential Candidate,
“Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity—it is an act of justice.” Nelson Mandela precisely described this enduring global issue of basic human rights. Human rights and justice are being violated everyday around the world. People are being discriminated against, enslaved, imprisoned, and killed for inhumane and immoral reasons. Human rights violations are both the source and consequence of poverty. In impoverished developing countries, women’s lives are being taken for such seemingly pedestrian (in developed countries) and preventable causes as pregnancy. With increasing cases of violence and abuse of women and the fiscal dependence many have on their power-hungry male counterparts, a circle of abuse is created with no escape in sight. Unless an environment of safety and opportunity is provided that allows these women to pursue their education and careers, the cycle will only continue. Poverty has also created and exacerbated the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa; without access to information, resources, and a means to prevent and treat the disease itself, the disease continues to infect and destroy the lives of men, women, and children. This issue is preventable—by even simply providing education on the disease itself and how it is contracted and how it could be prevented it could prevent the infection and spread of AIDS for millions of people.
Segregation and discrimination are still alive in parts of the world and are real problems in many children’s everyday lives. In Slovakia, Romani children are put into special, segregated schools and receive a substandard education, greatly affecting the chance that they will continue their education beyond what is required. Not only does it adversely affect their future job prospects and opportunities, but it also proliferates their likelihood of living in poverty. This, again, creates a vicious cycle of lack of education and impoverishment.
So long as poverty and other violations of human rights continue to take over the lives of current and future generations, the problems will only be exacerbated and negatively affect, influence, and create additional spheres of even more pressing issues. These are not issues of material and privilege; they are fundamental human rights that are violated every day. People are robbed of some of the most basic of human dignities and necessities, putting them in inescapable situations of survival. In a time of such wealth, technological advancements, excessive materialism, and luxury, it is time we acknowledge and take responsibility for such international problems. With so much information readily available on the internet and television as well as in newspapers, magazines, and books there is so much potential for political awareness and involvement.
In this struggle for human dignity, something needs to be done to ensure the basic human rights of every individual. Every human being has the right to dignity, shelter, food, water, education, sanitation, and health care regardless of race, sex, religious affiliation, background, or geographical location. The problems are so widespread in terms of both affected population and geographical locale that something needs to be done on an international level to prevent such indispensable violations. These are preventable human rights violations that only drive and deepen poverty around the world. As such an advanced and wealthy country in many rights, and as fellow human beings, we have the obligation to identify and realize these problems worldwide and to take action to fulfill and defend these rights. Some possible measures that could be taken include progressive legislation or social, financial, educational, and economic reforms. It is time that we take responsibility and take direct and immediate action for such avoidable and inhumane violations and crisis.