Saturday, March 12, 2011


I am sure that everyone is aware of the travesty that happened yesterday in Japan, and it really made me start to wonder what we as a class would say in response. We have been talking a lot about a country's right/responsibility to intervene when human rights are seen to be taken away, and there has been some disagreement over whether these rights had to be taken away by active violators, or if just the lack of access to these rights was sufficient reason for active roles to be taken. I am really curious as to those falling in the previous category whether they believe it is our country's responsibility to go and help those in need after such a catastrophic event. Personally I believe that it is absolutely our responsibility and duty to lend a helping hand to those who have had their lives destroyed and rights demolished by the earthquake, however I am open to arguments from the opposition. I just feel that if we are going to commit to UNIVERSAL human rights, then they can't only be acknowledged as lacking when there is a perpetrator but rather whenever they are taken away they MUST be acknowledged. And in Acknowledging them, those who have the power to act in defense of these rights must stand and do so, drawing on all resources available to help the global family that is humankind. So lets hear some feedback!


  1. Colin, I am glad you posted on this topic. I agree with you. To protect human rights is to ensure that people receive some degree of decent, humane treatment. To violate the most basic human rights, on the other hand, is to deny individuals their fundamental moral entitlements. If the rights are universal, then absolutely, we must acknowledge that.
    In the case of natural disasters the victim states usually welcome aid and foreign assistance, presumably because the leaders of victim states are concerned about the safety and welfare of their citizens.

    In the case of political turmoil though, such empathy and concern for constituent citizens often ceases, and repressive leaders often see suffering as a means to further political aspirations or to protect their seat of power. Therefore, the issue is not really whether or not intervention is desirable, but whether or not repressive states can trump morality under the protective shield of sovereignty.

  2. Nice post, Colin! I agree with you that it is our responsibility to lend a helping hand to Japan in order to help the country recover after such a disaster. However, I think it is important for us to keep in mind that there is a line between restoration of a country and simply lending aid to Japan at any and all times. In other words, we should not take the RESPONSIBILITY of making sure Japan recovers fully from the multiple natural disasters; however, we should be there whenever we are needed and let the Japanese government have full responsibility of their own country. Therefore, I agree with your view that we should lend a hand to any country in need if this world is to truly live by the concept of universal human rights. All the while, we have to remember that our motive is to help is not to be responsible for restoring every country in need but to simply assist at any time in any way that we can.

  3. Colin I definitely agree with you. We absolutely must lend a hand at this time in Japan. I think Manali brings up a great point those, we do not need to claim responsibility to make sure Japan recovers fully. Rather, we need to make sure Japan is back on it's feet. Of course, an event like this natural disaster may take some much needed help, but there is a line. I believe that this could be applied to any and all countries that face events like this.


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