Equal Justice


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equal justice Affirmative Action

Affirmative action works. There are thousands of examples of situations where
people of color, white women, and working class women and men of all races who
were previously excluded from jobs or educational opportunities, or were denied
opportunities once admitted, have gained access through affirmative action. When
these policies received executive branch and judicial support, vast numbers of
people of color, white women and men have gained access they would not otherwise
have had. These gains have led to very real changes. Affirmative action programs
have not eliminated racism, nor have they always been implemented without
problems. However, there would be no struggle to roll back the gains achieved if
affirmative action policies were ineffective. The implementation of affirmative
action was America's first honest attempt at solving a problem, it had
previously chosen to ignore. In a variety of areas, from the quality of health
care to the rate of employment, blacks still remain far behind whites. Their
representation in the more prestigious professions is still almost
insignificant. Comparable imbalances exist for other racial and ethnic
minorities as well as for women. Yet, to truly understand the importance of
affirmative action, one must look at America's past discrimination to see why,
at this point in history, we must become more "color conscious".
History Of Discrimination In America: Events Leading To Affirmative Action. The
Declaration of Independence asserts that "all men are created equal."
Yet America is scarred by a long history of legally imposed inequality. Snatched
from their native land, transported thousands of miles-in a nightmare of disease
and death-and sold into slavery, blacks in America were reduced to the legal
status of farm animals. A Supreme Court opinion, Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857),
made this official by classifying slaves as a species of "private
property." Even after slavery was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in
1865, American blacks, other minorities, and women continued to be deprived of
some of the most elementary right of citizenship. During the Reconstruction,
after the end of the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868,
making blacks citizens and promised them the "equal protection of the
laws." In 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment was passed, which gave blacks the
right to vote. Congress also passed a number of civil rights laws barring
discrimination against blacks in hotels, theaters, and other places. However,
the South reacted by passing the "Black Codes, " which severely
limited the rights of the newly freed slaves, preventing them in most states
from testifying in courts against whites, limiting their opportunities to find
work, and generally assigning them to the status of second or third class
citizen. White vigilante groups like the Klu Klux Klan began to appear, by
murdering and terrorizing blacks who tried to exercise their new rights.
"Legal" ways were also found for circumventing the new laws; these
included "grandfather clauses", poll taxes, white only primary
elections, and constant social discrimination against and intimidation of
blacks, who were excluded form education and from any job except the most
menial. In 1883, the Supreme Court declared a key civil rights statute, one that
prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, unconstitutional. And in
1896, Plessy v. Ferguson (163 U.S. 537 [1896]), the Court declared that the
state of Louisiana had the right to segregate their races in every public
facility. Thus began the heyday of "Jim Crow" legislation. In Justice
John Marshall Harlan's lone dissent, he realized it was a mockery. He wrote,
" We boast of the freedom enjoyed by our peoples above all other peoples.
But it is difficult to reconcile that boast with a state of the law which,
practically, puts a brand of servitude and degregation upon a large class of our
fellow citizens, our equals before the law. This thin disguise of 'equal'
accommodations for passengers in railroad coaches will not mislead anyone, or
atone for the wrong this day done." Not until sixty years later, in Brown
v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (347 U.S. 483 [1954]), was Plessy
overturned. Chief Justice earl Warren declared the unanimous opinion of the
court by saying: "We cannot turn the clock back to 1868, when the Amendment
was adopted, or even to 1896, when Plessy v. Ferguson was written." In
today's world, "separate educational facilities are inherently
unequal." This decision sparked racial tensions all across America. in
1957, President Eisenhower had to call federal troops into Little Rock,
Arkansas, after the state's governor forcibly barred black children from
entering white schools. In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested and fined, for not
moving to the back of a public bus, ... more

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International charter of human

International Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms
History
After the war crimes committed by the Germans in the holocaust that occurred during World War II, the United nations decided to create  a document guaranteeing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all people, regardless of race, sex, language, or religion. This document was called The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The declaration was voted in on December 10, 1948, which is now celebrated each year as Human Rights Day.  The Declaration says that all human beings are born free and equal and establishes basic rights for all people and rules for the actions of  governments in many areas pertaining to those rights. For example, it says that all people have the right to liberty, religious and political freedom, education, and economic well-being. It bans torture and states that all people have the right to participate in their governments.
The declaration is not a law, unfortunately, and in some cases has had little  actual effect on the member countries of the UN. Governments with poor human rights records, such as China, do not agree with the UNs attempts to promote human rights, saying that such actions interfere with their internal affairs.
The UN has a Commission on Human Rights. Its job is to monitor abuses of the declaration in member countries, hold international meetings on human rights issues and handle complaints about violations to the basic human rights.  
It was in 1993 that  the General Assembly created the position of High Commissioner for Human Rights. The commissioner job is to oversee all of the UNs human rights programs, work to prevent human rights violations, and investigate human rights abuses. It is also in the commissioners power to publicize abuses to human rights taking place in any country. However most publicity about abuses to human rights does not come from the UN but from  rival countries or non-governmental groups like Amnesty International
The UN has also written four international treaties on human rights. These treaties do have the force of law but are very hard to enforce. The treaties deal only with the problems of genocide, racial discrimination, civil and  political rights, and economic and social rights. These four treaties have only been signed by about half of the countries of the world. Notably the United States has only signed the treaty concerning genocide. Other countries have also refused to sign the conventions because of  concerns about the specific terms of the conventions and the loss of authority that such treaties imply.
Recent Human Rights Activities
The UNs most well known recent activities dealing with human rights are the two International Criminal Tribunals held to bring to justice those responsible for the horrible acts of violence committed during the  recent civil wars in the former countries of Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The tribunal for crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia was established by the UNs Security Council in 1993. The council started the Rwanda tribunal in 1994. They are the first  international war crimes trials since the Nrnberg Trials for Nazi war criminals  that followed World War II. Although the tribunals were established by the Security Council, they operated independently of the UN. The trials depend on contributions from countries to keep operating and were often hampered by financial shortages. Another  more serious problem was the inability to arrest suspects in countries that do not recognize the treaties brought in by the UN as valid. The Yugoslav tribunal indicted 75 people for war crimes and genocide, including the top military and political leaders of the Serb forces in Bosnia and a high officer in the Croatian militia in Bosnia but neither Serbia nor the Bosnian Serb forces have turned over suspects. The international military forces in Bosnia have also refused to arrest them. The president of Croatia actually gave an indicted officer a promotion and medals. In 1997 the tribunal had only a handful of low-ranking suspects to actually bring to trial.
Impact
Many critics of the UN claim that the International Declaration Of Human rights has had very little real impact on infringements to any of the rights outlined in it since it does not carry the force of ... more

equal justice

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  • Q: Affirmative Action Q: Affirmative Action Affirmative Action Affirmative action works. There are thousands of examples of situations where people of color, white women, and working class women and men of all races who were previously excluded from jobs or educational opportunities, or were denied opportunities once admitted, have gained access through affirmative action. When these policies received executive branch and judicial support, vast numbers of people of color, white women and men have gained access they would not otherwise hav...
  • U: International charter of human U: International charter of human International charter of human International Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms History After the war crimes committed by the Germans in the holocaust that occurred during World War II, the United nations decided to create a document guaranteeing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all people, regardless of race, sex, language, or religion. This document was called The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration was voted in on December 10, 1948, which is now c...
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