[lg policy] Building An Ethos of Rights

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Mon Dec 10 11:14:15 EST 2018

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Human Rights <https://groundviews.org/category/issues/human-rights/>, Peace
and Conflict <https://groundviews.org/category/issues/peace-and-conflict/>,
Justice <https://groundviews.org/category/transitional-justice/> Building
An Ethos of Rights
[image: Groundviews] Groundviews

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*Featured image courtesy David D Kim <https://ddkim323.wordpress.com/>*

December 10 is Human Rights Day, and marks 70 years since the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
<http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/> was adopted.

Since inception, *Groundviews* has dedicated itself to discussion on issues
pertaining to human rights. The following is a selection of content from
the site, juxtaposed with the relevant articles from the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but is an attempt to cover the many
different ways in which Sri Lanka has grappled with rights issues, over

*Article 1.*

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Yet, in
Sri Lanka, discrimination along lines of caste persists

*Article 2.*

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this
Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion. Let’s examine how Sri
Lanka’s divisions along lines of race, religion, sex and language has led
to exclusion.”

*On language:* Read here
on how Sri Lankans continue to be impacted by violations of our language

*On gender:* Read here
on how Sri Lanka’s ‘pandemic’ of sexual violence impacts women, everyday,
on unpaid care work
– the hidden barrier to female participation in the workforce, and on barriers
to female political representation

*On gender identity:* Read here
on the continued discrimination against members of the LGBTIQ community,
even as countries in the region move towards decriminalization.

*Article 3.*

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security – read a discussion on
whether or not it is a fundamental right here
Also read this on Sri Lanka’s history grappling with capital punishment here

*Article 5.*

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment. Read about Sri Lanka’s broken system and the
ongoing use of torture, even post-2015, here
and here

*Article 9. *

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. Read
about the legacy of the PTA here
and here

*Article 12.*

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy,
family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and
reputation. Read about the privacy implications of the e-NIC project here
and concerns raised on surveillance here

*Article 14.*

Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from

Read about Sri Lanka’s treatment of refugees here
and here

*Article 15.*

Everyone has the right to a nationality. Read about the estate community,
disenfranchised under the Citizenship Act of 1948, and still one of the
most marginalised communities in the island here

*Article 16.*

Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality
or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are
entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its

Read about the struggle to reform Muslim personal laws, and the impact the
current Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act has had on the community here


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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