Monday, March 18, 2013
Is Economic Equality a Human Right?
By BEIF Team
The role individuals and organizations play in perpetuating social ills can often be revealing. In Shake Hands with the Devil Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, a retired general and a compassionate humanitarian recounts first hand the horror of the 1994 Rwandan genocide Dallaire witnessed as Force Commander for the U.N. Assistance Mission for Rwanda. A recent BEIF book club discussion on the book occurred in which participants asked questions like: is human life valuable? And are all humans equal? What is the role of organizations in perpetuating social ills?
While the loss of human lives directly in conflicts raises questions of human rights, it is only rarely that other social ills (such as economic inequality) are seen as an issue of a human right. An example of this came to fore recently when Pope Francis was elected to lead the Vatican. According this article, the Pope had in the past “called for an ethical response to solve the problem of social debt, saying that, not only do terrorism, repression and murder violate human rights, but also extreme poverty and the “unjust economic structures that give rise to great inequalities”. So, is economic inequality a violation of human right? And, what role do organizations and individuals play in it?