The implications of a world of “connected nations”

Last week the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, spoke at the UN General Assembly about how our world is one of “connected nations”. He raised many issues, including climate change and internet freedom.

Bildt is experienced in the area of international conflict, particularly in relation to the Balkans, and in his speech he stressed the everlasting importance of human rights.

Lately, the effect of human rights has been rather frowned upon as their application has largely been portrayed as being limited to immigrants who have committed crimes whilst on UK soil. Arguments that that those with a criminal record should not enjoy the full protection of human rights have frequently been voiced. However, two of the most prominent features of human rights are that they are inviolable and apply to all, regardless of factors such as background and criminal activity.

One of the many accomplishments of human rights has been to regulate the imposition and the abolition of the death penalty. For many citizens in the modern world, it is easy to forget how human rights play a vital role in our life. Much legislation, such as non-discrimination provisions, has its principles rooted in the human-rights framework.

Tragically, the full protection envisioned by international human rights provisions is not always awarded to citizens of the world. Despite it being so, it remains the case that the progress of societies and their potential to flourish, and become prosperous, goes hand in hand with their embrace of fundamental rights.

Facing  torture, being on death row, or in other inhuman conditions, are violations of universal human rights. Having a criminal record is irrelevant in this regard.