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Human rights movements
The movement was born in 1945 and began its operation after the Second World War. It is a movement that fights for the rights of human beings. Its main function is to ensure the respect for human rights, observance and realization of the rights. Human rights refer to the freedoms and rights that an individual is entitled to. For instance, they include the right to life, right to access basic needs and right to equality before the law.
Human rights are a concept that has been in existence since time in history. Many governments oppressed their people by denying them the right to worship, own property or even to work. For example, King John of
Early philosophers used the concept of natural rights to imply rights belonging to an individual by nature such as the right of life hence human rights but this term was later rejected because of political issues but the significance of universal rights remained standing. It is out of this debate that the term human right was coined and among the ancient philosophers to use the term was Henry David Thoreau in his writings entitled ‘Civil disobedience’. Other early champions of human rights were John Stuart Mill in his writings on liberty and Thomas Paine in his Right of Man writings. In the eightieth and ninetieth centuries, issues of slavery, harsh working conditions, low wages and child labor propelled people to fight for their rights.
As a result of this labor unions were formed that did put in place laws and regulations that ensured no more exploitation of workers and child abuse. Women rights movement also started to protect the rights of women such as the right to vote. Other national freedom fighting movements also helped in overthrowing the colonial powers. Therefore activist decided to come together and fight for the rights of the people. For instance, Mahatma Ghandis movement rescued the Indians from the British power. The essence of human rights is to embrace values of dignity, justice for all and modesty for all.
Human rights are universal and apply to all by virtue of being a human being. Human rights are enlisted in the Universal declaration of human rights which enumerates that rights are universal, does not apply to membership of a specific state or found on social relations. This declaration includes the basic political and civil rights such as right to freedom and protection of persons .It also contains cultural (religion/belief), economic and social rights. Human rights are also explained in the international humanitarian law hence this shows that rights of human beings is quite important.
It is important to note that ones right is another person’s responsibility and the opposite is true. Human rights are rights to life. Human rights movement is composed of non governmental organizations as well as intergovernmental regardless of the type of government, socio-economic status or even religion and culture. The violation of human rights is usually due to poverty. It is the poor whose rights are usually abused by the owners of the resources hence the need to fight poverty. Therefore the main role of the movement is not only to take up cases for the people violated but also to mobilize those infringed to form alliances and fight for their rights and liberations.
Environment refers to our surrounding in totality. Environmental movements are movements that are geared towards the protection of the environment. It involves individuals or institutions that are out to find solutions for environmental problems. Environment is the source of life. We need to protect it for sustainability. It is from the environment that we source our food, water. And fresh air for breath. It also provides home for many animals. Therefore if we misuse our environment, then we are bound to destroy our selves and that’s the essence of the movement to help protect it through campaign awareness, education on the benefits of protection and why the environment is useful and necessary.
Environmental movements are broad and complex in the sense that it is both institutionalized and informal. It is a people’s movement that is made up of ordinary people of the civilian population as well as professionals. There are different levels of environmental movement starting from environmental clubs in schools to national level environmental movements dealing with issues from the local level to the global level. Due to the significance of the environment, many nations have realized that it is their task to help save the planet hence leaders have also taken it upon themselves to help save the environment. (Rootes, C. 1999
Environmental movements are powerful movements that influence the decision of policy makers. It is because of the movements that governments today have Environmental ministries. The scope of the movement ranges from single concerns to multiple global issues. The movement also involves the use of mass media to reach out to the people (Rootes, C. 1999).
There are various forms of environmental movements. That is, the civic environmental movement which is composed of the civilian members of the society. They are out to protect the environment as source of their livelihood. This includes members as individuals or as non governmental organizations. Second is the corporate environment movement that its main objective is to provide solutions to environmental problems. This involves the private sector. Most companies or industries produce emissions that are unhealthy to the environment .Certain companies also produce products or package their products with materials that are environmental hazard.
Therefore it is out of this concerned that the corporate world decided to form a movement to manage their waste so as to try and avoid environmental pollution hence the emergence of environmental conscious products and waste management. Thirdly is the state environmental movement which is basically charged with the responsibility of putting laws and regulations in place and ensuring their implementation to help protect the environment.
Environmental movements consist of various components that include: Coservation movements whose main agenda is to conserve the forest. Fisheries and wildlife, soil and water. Modern environmental movements are concerned with issues of water and air pollutions. While environmental justice movements deals with the issues of environmental discriminations (racism).That is ,minority groups and people of low income are usually settled next to industries, dump sites and a long sewer lines hence subjecting them to greater environmental pollutions than the rest. So the movement helps in fighting for their justice. Last component is environmental health movement which is concerned with crowding and improper living sanitary conditions. It also includes issues of nutrition, preventive medicine and health of the human body in general.
Environmental movements are linked to other social movements such as human rights movements. The difference between the two is that , human rights movement is concerned with human beings (individuals) while the other is concerned with the sustainability of the environment (plant, animals and air space).This two movements have been criticized by some people as mere political tools for political achievements yet this is not true. Therefore the core goal of environmental movements is sustainability. It aims at taking care of the environment to ensure survival for the future generation (Rootes, C. 1999).
Civil rights movement
Civil right movements are political movements. Civil rights are not universal. They are shared by people of same conviction. They are rights between the government and its people. Civil rights refer to our own constitutions. This are rights that a state enjoy by law. That is, rights to equality before the law. Civil rights are rights enjoyed by a person out of citizenship. It is a movement that is fighting against discrimination by the government to its people.
Its main objective is to pioneer reforms in the government. Many times the government has discriminated in terms of employment, minority groups, and tribe and even genders hence the need of civil rights to intervene. Civil right movement is a protest movement by citizens a against the govegeremnt when they feel oppressed, exploited or when their rights is denied. It is away of putting pressure on the government to respond to the needs of its citizens.
Even though civil rights are enshrined in the constitution, governments usually abuse them based on race; gender hence the need of civil right movements to merge with other movements to help it obtain the rights. The movement usually bases its justification on the fact that civil rights are human rights that need to be protected. Civil rights are always inclined to freedoms such as freedom to own property, freedom of speech, and freedom to assemble and interact with others and for equal participation in the public domain.
Comparison of the movements:
Civil rights are usually perceived as negative rights because it ensures that the state does not infringe on the rights of its citizens. Civil rights movement began in the 19th century to campaign for the legal implementation of rights. The main mission of the movement was integration with emphasis on social, political and economic rights. Civil rights movement had an intertwined connection with the black church. The core objective of the movement was to fight for the rights of African-Americans as citizens of the united state.
Civil right movements are different from human rights and environmental movements’ .Human rights movement and environmental movements are recognized internationally while civil rights movement is about the rights of the citizens and its government. Human rights are universal while civil rights are shared by people who have common beliefs. Human rights are bestowed upon individual by virtue of being in the human family while civil rights are rights enjoyed by law and have got legal basis.
While civil movements are usually considered illegal movements by the government. They don’t have space to express them selves. The government considers it as a collection of individuals who are out to overthrow it hence whenever they go out on the streets to express themselves, the government dismisses them using force. It usually consists of citizens who know their rights and the role of the government.
It is possible for civil right movements to re-emerge as human rights movement. For instance, Martin Luther King described the civil rights movement of his time as just a segment of global human rights that required economic rights to employment, earnings and decent shelter (Jackson, F. Thomas & King, M. L. 2007). Civil rights is a component of human rights that aims at fighting for human liberties and equal opportunities in the public arena and this the basis of human rights.
Civil right movement and human rights movement are both social movements that aim at impacting positively on the people hence their close relation makes civil rights movement possible to re-emerge as a human rights movement. Again civil movements are perceived negatively yet they are fighting for the same rights as human rights therefore they can re-emerge as human rights movement to achieve their goal. Civil right movements fight for citizen rights. Citizens are human beings .Therefore any movement fighting for citizen rights can also fight for human rights hence the transition of civil right movements into human rights movements.
There is sense in naming the movements. Naming the movements gives the individual participants a sense of identity and also shapes their consciousness. From the name of the movement , people are able to tell what the movement is all about hence making rational decisions on whether to join or not. Most of these social movements need to be registered by the government so as to make them legal and recognized. Naming allows for identification and publicity.
All these movements that are discussed above are the same in the sense that, they are all social movements fighting for certain concerns. Their main goal is to ensure freedom for humanity in one way or the other. The movements are aiming on how to make life better for human beings. They all give dignity to man. They are also similar in principles of operation. However there is a slight difference between the movements in that their approach to confrontation is different. Most civil rights movements usually use demonstrations or protest as away of communicating their opinions while human rights movements usually take up cases for those whose rights are violated. Environmental movements mostly use the approach of awareness creation to help people understand the importance of taking care of the environments.