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Everyone Has the Right to a Nationality

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 5 (1185 words)
Categories: Country,Democracy,Human rights,Independence,Nation,Society,Sovereignty,State,Universal Declaration Of Human Rights,World
Downloads: 43
Views: 2

The world is in a state of chaotic motion these days, as more and more people are turning refugees, fleeing their countries from war, family violence, climate change or political upheaval. It is stipulated in Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality; (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.” It is further recognized fact that we as an international community have built our human rights framework on the very idea of nationality, belonging to a nation-state.

We place the onus on states to be held responsible for the provision and protection of the human rights of all persons, both citizens and transitory persons. However, what becomes of those humans whose nationalities have been stripped from them, or who sought to shed their nationality in search of a better life, one free from fear of death or torture or misery? The human rights this essay has referred to are those considered within the deliberative school of thought of human rights and all references to the international human rights standard of norms derive from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

This internationally recognised framework fails us however when the question of stateless humans is brought up, and instead of a deliberate global collusion on new avenues we could take to reframe this problem which is affecting almost every nation-state in the world, several extremely loud voices have begun to unhelpfully lead the discussion astray. No state wants to take on the full responsibility of protecting the rights of humans whose citizenship resides in another’s territory. The interference between one state and another over any form of affairs be they economic, political or social is tenuous enough in regular contexts. The topic of responsibility to protecting and upholding the rights of non citizens however, brings almost all nation-states to their feet, as that is a matter of their pride, also known as their Sovereignty, being handled.

According to Donnelly, “International recognized human rights impose obligations on, and are exercised against, sovereign territorial states.” Although this essay has largely focused on international human rights standards, it is understood that the Universal Declaration created obligations that states must meet only to their own citizens and only within their own jurisdiction. There is no obligation to protect or uphold the human rights of any person outside of those two variables. As such, it would be unfair to those leaders in the UK, US and Australia who have openly voiced their dedication to upholding sovereign interests and needs as racists, anti-democratic or authoritarian in their leadership style. Instead, this essay will attempt in its conclusion to understand what Senator Bernardi’s amendment bill wished to achieve; to prevent the Australian government, and its sovereignty, from being undermined by an unstable human rights standard that isn’t recognised internationally, and certainly not upheld by all states. The bill does represent a popular global manifestation of how human rights are seen as a threat to sovereignty. Blaming the bill for not achieving to articulate the threat of sovereignty would be blaming it for something it did not attempt.

As a liberal democracy we the citizens are lucky to share the authority over what our political and human rights are, with those who sit in government. We have the power to vote and obtain change when we see fit, and although in recent times the disappointment in our governments choices has been widely felt – it is a great power that we have in our ability to voice our disappointment without fear of persecution (to an extent) or threat to life. Understanding the context of the time in which this shared authority is situated is incredibly important. The national security fear, of closed borders and strict visas, comes from a place of deep insecurity of power, and presents itself as a hostility by our government (and others) towards any and all external factors deemed to be a threat to our sovereignty. If a government is unwilling or unable to uphold and protect its own citizens human rights, then it enters a state of domestic instability which it must overcome before it can commit itself to protecting the rights of non citizens. A liberal democratic nation-state such as Australia must be seen as capable of representing its own interests and citizens in a state of stability. However, if international human rights standards contravene the nation-states interests, and risks endangering its citizens, economy, or governance, then sovereignty will always be prioritised over global institutions. Or so posit our Prime Minister.

The prescribed set of “fundamental Australian freedoms” considered by the Senator Bernardi’s bill in addition to the set of “human rights” already defined and stipulated in the Human Rights Act 2011, are possibly a well intentioned attempt at reviewing human rights within the nation-states jurisdiction. The amendment could have the potential to revive a set of Australian liberal democratic principles by leading a more positive narrative on how our human rights are to be protected and upheld with respect to our sovereignty. However, as this essay has attempted to explore, it does more damage in good in further demonstrating the governments apprehension to commit to international human rights standards thoroughly. The establishment in 2011 and continued existence of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights should be viewed as a positive step by the Australian government is enforcing international human rights standards in the Australian Constitution, legislation, and common law.

The bill’s provision of protections of ‘Australian freedoms’ as necessitating higher priority than the set of human rights currently prescribed in Australian legislation is, as we have seen, a step in the wrong direction. We are a signatory to international treaties, and although our participation does not insist on legal adherence, the Australian government has a moral and ethical obligation to uphold international human rights standards and put them into practice into federal law for the duration of their participation in the global community.

The contemporary issue that human rights face in global politics; international human rights standards as a perceived threat to sovereignty, is not an unjust issue which governments are focusing their attention on. However, the proposal of federal law considering ‘Australian Freedoms’ taking precedence “above and beyond” human rights when considering Australia’s obligations to meet international human rights standards demonstrates a perception of international human rights standards as a continued perceived threat to Australian sovereignty and the bill does not attempt to dissuade this narrative. The proffered ‘Australian Freedoms’ as we have examined through the implementation of anti-gag and anti-assembly laws do pressure civil society to observe a set of limiting freedoms in the name of sovereignty. In turn this pressure results in a negative and constricting being painted of sovereignty and what rights Australians are and are not entitled to. The Australia freedoms presented in the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Amendment (Australian Freedoms) Bill 2019 fail to meet international human rights standards and only further tarnish the possibility of international human rights standards being seen as anything but a threat to sovereignty.

Cite this essay

Everyone Has the Right to a Nationality. (2019, Nov 26). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/fjfjfjfjfjfjjff-example-essay

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