Current Major Human Rights Issues and Problems


Nowadays, people currently still facing many human right issues.
As Human beings living in the present days, it is our duty to consider these human rights issues.

Therefore, this article aims to describe the current major human rights issues and the problems that stems from them.

Summary of Human Rights Issues

Human rights issues

What are Human Rights issues?

First of all, categories of human rights issues that are often discussed are sorted out as follows

    • Gender Inequality
    • Human Rights Issues for Children
    • Human rights Issues for older persons
    • Sexual Minority
    • Regional Discrimination

Gender Inequality

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls for equal rights and equality between men and women.

In addition, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women ratified by each country prohibits discrimination against women in various different social settings.

Legal efforts are also being made in the area of Gender Inequality.

However, there are still issues that need improvement.

Some of the specific issues related to women are:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Spousal violence
  • Stalking
  • Equal employment opportunities
  • Wage disparity between men and women

Reference source:”Gender equality and women’s empowerment|the United Nations”

Human Rights Issues for Children

Human rights for children have been specified by the United Nations General Assembly in the international treaty, the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

However, the issue of children’s rights is not limited to the ensuring the living conditions of children in poor countries.

New issues have also arisen in developed countries such as online victimization.

Some of the specific human rights issues for children in recent years are:

  • Bullying
  • Physical punishment
  • Child abuse
  • Child pornography
  • Child prostitution

Reference source:”Child rights and human rights explained|UNICEF”

Discrimination and barriers for people with disabilities

The United Nations has established the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This calls on all the signatory countries to respect the dignity and rights of people with disabilities.

Each signatory country is required to submit transparent government reports to the UN on a regular basis.

ome examples of human rights issues for people with disabilities are:

  • Unfavorable treatment at the workplace
  • Discriminatory language and behavior
  • Harassment or bullying
  • Opposition in marriage matters
  • Denied housing.
  • Refusal of participation in certain activities
  • Physical, psychological, or sexual abuse during care

Reference source:”Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities|United Nations Enable”

Human rights Issues for older persons

The UN Principles for Older Persons set universal standards for older persons in the five areas of independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity.

In addition, many countries are facing population aging, and the issue of human rights for the elderly is an urgent one.

Some of the specific human rights issues related to the elderly are:

  • Limited employment opportunities
  • Abuse in a hospital or nursing home
  • Abuse in the home
  • Malicious business practices aimed at the elderly

Reference source:”Ageing|the United Nations”

Sexual Minority Issues

The UN Human Rights Council adopted its first UN resolution, Resolution 17/19, in 2011.

In response, OHCHR prepared its first formal UN report (A/HRC/19/41) in 2012.

In approximately 76 countries around the world, homosexuality is criminalized by law, serving as grounds for arrest, persecution and imprisonment.

In addition, in five countries, homosexuality could even result in the death penalty.

Reference source:”LGBT UN Resolutions|OHCHR”

Regional Discrimination Issues

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination adopted General Recommendation 29 on Discrimination on the Basis of Race (CERD/C/61/Misc.29/rev.1) in 2002.

The definition of racism includes the following:

  • Race
  • Skin color
  • Ethnic or tribal origin
  • Filiation

The Committee raises forms of regional discrimination in general recommendation as some as following.

  • Unable to change a position passed down from generation to generation.
  • Social restrictions on marriage.
  • Segregation, separation, and distinction in places such as residence.
  • No freedom of occupation
  • Debt slavery
  • Inhumane treatment and treatment without human dignity

Reference source:”Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination|OHCHR”

The historical background on current human rights issues | Human rights issues up until now

The historical background on current human rights issues | Human rights issues up until now

Knowing the historical background of human rights issues in the world is an important factor in understanding the present.

This section will take a look back at the history of global human rights issues in four different periods.

  • Before the 16th century
  • 17th and 18th century
  • 19th century
  • 20th century and later

Before the 16th century

The Magna Carta is a document established by King John in England in 1215 that relates to human rights issues in prehistory.

The Magna Carta is considered to be a foundation piece for the modern Declaration of Human Rights.

Freedom of religion, which was gradually achieved through the Reformation in the 16th century, is also a step towards human rights awareness.

17th and 18th century

Human rights activists such as Grotius, Locke, and Rousseau began to call for “unalienable rights”.

Then, in 1776, the Virginia Declaration of Rights put natural rights into practice.

Article 1 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights also states that “That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights.”

These “unalienable rights” based on the idea of natural law had an impact on the United States and France.

Afterwards, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (the French Declaration of Rights) was established in 1789 in France.

19th century

19世紀には自然法思想が後退し、In the nineteenth century, the idea of natural law regressed, and a legal positivism and utilitarian mindsets became dominant.

In France’s 1814 Constitutional Charter, the rights of the people were limited, as granted by the king as a benefit.

The 1850 Constitution of Prussia in Germany is also a mindset that rights are not unalienable, but rather inviolable except by law.

20th century and later

Since the 20th century, the constitutional process has been divided into the two categories of liberal states and socialist countries.

The Weimar Constitution of 1919 was based on the ideas of the social state and the welfare state.

The Weimar Constitution became the first constitution to guarantee civil rights including the right to existence and workers’ rights.

Meanwhile, in 1936, the Constitution of the USSR prohibited private ownership of land and means of production.

Afterwards, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

In addition, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was adopted in 1966.

After 1980, international human rights protection activities by the United Nations started to unfold on a full-scale basis.

Reference source:”The Virginia Declaration of Rights|National Archives”

Cultural significance and background of current human rights issues

Cultural significance and background of current human rights issues

Improvements in current human rights issues have cultural significance and background in the following three areas:

  • Regional fragmentation of the state
  • Formation of common values
  • Communication across regions through globalization

Regional fragmentation of the state

​One of the reasons why human rights issues need to be improved is to avoid regional fragmentation of the state.

The recent Trump vs. Biden presidential race is a prominent example of division in the United States.。

In this election, racial minorities such as Hispanics, blacks, and Asians tended to support the Democratic Party, while white middle class voters showed support for Trump.

Geographically, regions such as the west coast, east coast and northeast tend to be more liberal, while the central and southern regions tend to be more conservative.。

Thus, different political parties have different approaches in dealing with human rights issues in other countries, which has divided their supporters.

Reference source:”Behind Biden’s 2020 Victory|Pew Research Center”

Formation of common values

Each county has unique national interests and foreign policy.

Against this backdrop, having a common value and system for human rights is one of the issues facing the international community.

Communication across regions through globalization

Global efforts to protect human rights became more dynamic after the founding of the United Nations in 1945.

The International Human Rights Law established by the United Nations is binding more than 80 signatory states.

The movement to view individual human beings as individuals with internationally guaranteed human rights is growing rather than as citizens of a particular state.。

Hence, a growing number of international organizations have jurisdiction to protect individuals against human rights violations by states.

Reference source:”International Human Rights Law|OHCHR”

Q&A : Human Rights Issues

Q&A : Human Rights Issues
To whom may want to know the answer to current human rights issues in short, top five frequently asked questions are:

  • What are the current human rights issues?
  • Are there solutions to the current human rights issues?
  • What is the definition of human rights?
  • What is the definition of human rights?
  • Who is responsible for the current human rights issues?

What are the current human rights issues?

Current human rights issues can be divided into those that cross national and those that relate to the internal situation of each country.

One of the major international issues is sharing of values among countries having different cultures and back grounds.

Some countries have accused the human rights movement promoted by international organizations is Eurocentrism.

The issue will thus be to reconcile the traditions and cultural background of each region with the universal rights of human beings.

Are there solutions to the current human rights issues?

Solutions to human rights issues can be divided into the following categories:

  • Legislation in the state
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Improving individual awareness

Legal reforms should be sought on an international and national level. Corporations, which have a significant impact on society, also have a major responsibility.

It will also be essential to improve awareness at the individual level to solve human rights issues in everyday life.

What is the definition of human rights?

The definition of human rights can be based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was established by the United Nations in 1948. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights begins with the following words in its first article:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Reference source:”Universal Declaration of Human Rights|United Nations”

Article 1 also serves as the premise for the enumeration of fundamental rights covering various areas, including the right not to be a slave, the right to be mentally free, and the right to a healthy and happy life.

Has there been any progress in resolving human rights issues?

The promotion of human rights policies is increasing in many countries, and laws are being formulated based primarily on the ideas listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In addition, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives have become more prevalent in recent years.

CSR requires stakeholders to act responsibly in a variety of areas, including the protection of human rights.

Overseas, there is also a growing investment style in which investors aggressively recognize companies that are engaged in CSR, giving them social influence.

Who is responsible for the current human rights issues?

Traditionally, the state has been held responsible for human rights issues.

However, with the increase in the number of multinational corporations since the 1990s, corporations have been able to expand their activities beyond what governments can control.

Therefore, it can be said that in recent years, human rights issues are expanding from the responsibility of the government to the responsibility of the private sector.

It’s important to know about current human rights issues.

 current human rights issues


Knowing the current situation in detail is the foundation for thinking of ways to improve it.

Therefore, it may also be helpful to deepen understanding of the history of human rights on an international scale.

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