The Roman Catholic Archbishop Dom Helder Camara famously said, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

I work to protect and promote the rights of people. The government and groups with different names and notions challenge me. Most associate themselves with different races, religions, colors, and political and national identity. I also like to identify with my nation and notion, but I don’t want to forget that my first identity is I am a human and my responsibility is seeking rights for humanity. Unfortunately, human rights are denied in times and places where human led crisis cause maximum hatred for a minimum of reasons.

Human rights are the birthrights of all human beings, which are inherent and inalienable and not granted or bestowed by a sovereign power and are not capable of being given or taken away. But it is very sad that there is no place in the world where one can enjoy all rights. Rather, there are many places where people have bare minimum rights.

In the early ages when nature was out of control, man fought against animals and nature. Today, the same man is fighting against the system of suppression and brutality waged by the powerful towards the powerless.

Powerful people are the fuel source of powerful institutions like the state and sometimes they indulge in immoral acts, which are the sources of suppression and oppression.

Some states dictate rights like God edits our wants through our prayers. When we pray, God edits and corrects them and brings them in line with his will. He detects our rights and the boundaries, which according to him should not be crossed at any cost.

Through the charter of the United Nations, almost all sovereign states have recognized the existence of human rights and understand that such rights should be promoted and protected.

The universality of human rights is closely related to the promotion of public moral imperatives under the notions of equality or non-discrimination without distinction to race, sex, language or religion.

But sometimes, religion and political system become a burden before fulfilling any human rights standards. The Abraham religions clearly violate human rights standards by taking the position that men are created higher than women while others like Islam say that those who desire any religion other than Islam will never be accepted.

In some countries dominated by Abrahamic faith believers, the ignorance of believers is causing serious human rights violations in different ways and degrees.

The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of others, which is seen in India’s democratic system.

On Mar. 17, 1998, the then Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi at a commemorative ceremony of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Geneva appealed for a “revision of the Declaration.”

While Islamic criminal laws have a vast official and informal jurisdiction, the UDHR and other U.N. instruments are promoting human rights in countries like Iran.

For example, in 1986, Section 295-C was introduced in Pakistan’s penal code, making the death penalty mandatory for anyone convicted of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad. Over 200 Ahmadi Muslims were charged with “blasphemy” between 1986 and 1993. The prominent human rights activist John Joseph, Bishop of Faisalabad killed himself to protest against the law. Christians are continuously facing suppression, detention and torture in Pakistan.

The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam defends its own Declaration but challenges the UDHR, “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Sharia and the Islamic Sharia is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.”

While such divisions only help to dissolve human rights, there is still a good opportunity for the world to unite and promote human rights.

William Nicholas Gomes is a human rights activist and freelance journalist. He can be reached at E-mail:[email protected]