Rights of Passage - 2005 competition
By Aarushi Sahore, 13, NSW
Aarushi's essay is a mature narration of what human rights mean to her and how the idea integrates into everyday life.
I belong to an Australian community, speak Hindi and English, am Hindu and was born in India. Different rights are relevant to my existence; rights for children, education, freedom and liberty. The right to practise my chosen religion and speak a chosen language, without anybody trying to stop me or making incorrect assumptions about me. Rights as a female, to be respected as an equal gender, with equal potential. It is my duty to make sure that my rights are respected and stand up for my beliefs and freedoms when they are violated or potentially violated.
Another extremely important thing is to respect everyone else's rights. To look at each person as an individual and respect every one of their characteristics, all their beliefs and chosen ways of life. If discrimination occurs, I should try and make people put all differences aside and respect one another. I should support people and organisations that work to protect everyone's rights. I need to learn to look at individuals singularly and not make judgements or segregate them. I should work towards accepting and learning about other people and their cultures. 'Rights' are everybody's and no one should be treated or regarded as different, as all divisions made on perceptions are deficient.
Each and every person was born into this world as a complete equal to every other being with whom they co-exist. But as the world advances, we are slowly creating gaps between 'types' of people and such gaps will take time to bridge. These ideas are the perceived differences between disabled and healthy, black and white, male and female, young and old, rich and poor, weak and powerful etc. But in essence, we are all exactly the same and there's no reason for such concepts to be in our minds at all.
I think human rights are completely natural, and it's not the existence of laws and policies that stop discrimination, it's the ability to feel empathy. It's about realising how to treat people the way you want them to treat you in return. Sometimes these ideas are played with and some unfortunate people make the mistake of breaching other people's human rights and their freedoms. Here it is important for people who aren't involved to try and step in and work to protect other people and strengthen from within - others and themselves.
But each person, young or old, will probably interpret each human rights issue or concept differently. And maybe living in a relatively safe and secure environment, my ideas might not give an accurate impression of the world and human rights. But the truth probably lies in a joint view of this world, pieced together from each individual thought - indispensable.