Friday, November 05, 2010

Did you know?

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document enshrining more than two dozen unalienable rights given to all people regardless of citizenship, sex, race, or religion.

One of the rights mentioned in the U.D.H.R. is the right to work. The belief that all people should have an equal opportunity to earn enough money to provide for themselves and their family. This has been a controversial right at times and is much easier promoted than actually implemented For example, how can we as a society, particularly in times of economic recession, ensure that all citizens have employment?

I bring this up because in 2005 the United Progressive Alliance of India was re-elected primarily on their promise that they would guarantee one hundred days of work for each rural adult who would perform public service manual labor. Many rural Indians perform agricultural work during the growing season and then travel to the cities to perform construction work, but the slowing of the economy has meant that those urban jobs are no longer there. Thankfully, India has provided an important safety net to ensure that families are still able to earn a wage. The work that they do ranges from water conservation projects to planting trees and building roads, all important to ensure that India continues its path of development.

While there have been criticisms of the program, ranging from its cost to its universal methods of application (meaning individual villages are not consulted on their needs but are subjected to what the national government believes they need), the 45 million Indians who were given a job because of it are surely grateful that India supports the right to work.

-Corey Cox

SOURCE: United Nations Development Programme