Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, December 14th, 2017

The Erosion of Freedom in Human Societies

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The Erosion of Freedom in Human Societies

Freedom is a fundamental right of mankind. All individuals are born free and should be able to exercise their freedoms within the frame of law. However, curtailing one’s freedom is widespread around the globe and freedom of thought, expression, religion, etc. is not respected enough.
With the intensification of militancy, people’s rights to liberty is violated more than ever before and women and children bear the brunt of it. It is self-explanatory that militant fighters, who either cherish radical ideology or paid to fight, will not care about one’s freedom. Ideologues view the freedom of the public through their own criteria and if freedoms do not meet their criteria, they will be deemed profane and deserved to be fought against. Therefore, the militants show no hesitation to harm those who exercise their freedoms unlike the ideologues. 
Moreover, megalomania, carnal desire, and lust for power force one to violate the freedoms of others at the cost of their dignity or life. For instance, women fall the victim of rape, children are traded, and men are killed simply for being kind of obstacle before one’s self-interests or for satisfying one’s desire. Hence, moral corruption and deadly acts bespeak of the fact that ethical code is being eroded in human societies.
The Sunday’s attack in Las Vegas which reportedly killed 59 people and wounded 527 others is a flagrant violation of people’s rights to liberty. This attack, which was said to be the deadliest US mass shooting in modern history, was highly shocking for the entire world. Indeed, the violation of one’s rights – be it rights to life, liberty or property – will outrage the public conscience.
Furthermore, the persistent violation of the Rohingya’s freedom in Myanmar has hurt the feelings of the public around the world. Their freedom is curtailed in the worst possible way in modern era which can be called the 21st century apartheid. No mercy is shown to women and children who are the vulnerable layers of human societies. The tragic reports about them will numb one’s senses to a great extent.
The terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc. trample upon the freedoms of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Warring parties pose serious threats to people’s life and liberty. Thus, a large number of individuals suffer from lack of freedom around the globe despite the emphasis placed on respecting one’s freedom in international instruments.
There are many heart-rending stories about curtailing one’s freedom on day-to-day basis. For instance, a woman’s head is bounced to wall, a child’s throat is sliced, a girl is raped on the way to school, and a man’s arm is amputated in suicide attacks. These stories are shared in national and international media.  
There is no absolute freedom. National laws and international instruments have pointed out the realm of one’s freedom. You have to respect the freedom of others if you want your own freedom to be respected. For example, people have freedom of religion and should be able to exercise their religious tenets. No one is supposed to impose their own religious tenets on others. So, we have to be tolerant towards the religious practices of the followers of any religions. After all, individuals must exercise their religions in the frame of law so as not to violate others’ rights or liberty.
It is stated in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that “the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.” Freedom is considered an inherent right as the UDHR states in article 1, “All human beings are born free.” Article 18 says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion….” It further points out kinds of freedom such as: freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state, and so on.
Respecting people’s freedoms will lead to regional and global peace and stability. Since freedom is a natural right and bestowed by the Creator rather than the government, states and nations will have to respect and protect it.
It is believed that practicing upon the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you) will ensure the freedoms of the public. No one likes their freedoms to be disrespected. So, s/he must not contempt the freedoms of others.
Similarly, states, which are mostly members of the UDHR, must do their best to protect the rights of citizens regardless of their racial or religious backgrounds. Indeed, the widespread violation of one’s freedom – no matter whose and where or on which circumstances – will outrage the public conscience.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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