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Common man ignorant of human rights: Study


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A very important task lies ahead of the NGOs and activists who are often fighting for the issues of human rights. They now need to educate the masses, ironically the ones they are "fighting" for, about what exactly human rights is all about. This is what reveals a survey conducted recently on the common man's understanding of human rights.

Domestic violence, dowry and mental, sexual as well as physical harassment may be issues greatly talked about in the air-conditioned halls, but none of the 194 respondents, including homemakers and youngsters, could list down even five forms of violation against women. Housewives could hardly mention one or two forms of violations, with 66.7 per cent youngsters aware about only two types. As per the study, most of the respondents did not even know the full form of a FIR (first information report) and PIL (public interest litigation).

This preliminary study was conducted by students from Centre for Continuing and Adult Education and Community Services of MS University, Baroda.

Not even half of the respondents interviewed knew the definition of human rights and while the government is talking about Right to Education, with NGOs constantly raising their voice on the issue, over 60 per cent of the respondents were clueless about the age at which a child gets the right to primary education. Moreover, 30 per cent of them could not name even one scheme initiated by the state government for the children.

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As preparations for the Commonwealth Games 2010 are in the final stage, amid allegations of corruption widespread incidences of human rights violations have shamed the state and union governments.
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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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