The human race is a marvel of diversity. The endless variety brings with it great beauty, energy and possibility but it also brings with it some issues that need tackling. As individuals we are immensely different from one another – we look, think and act in our own unique ways and yet – as is now indisputably established by the Human Genome Project – we are one human race.
So what does this have to do with human rights? Well, before it is possible to define exactly what these rights are, and how they might work, it is first necessary to have a clear overview of why they should exist in the first place.
As we are physiologically all one family and as most of us have experience – for better or worse – of living in families, it might be helpful to look at these massive global issues in a context we can understand – namely the family. Very few of us have experience of international – or even national – politics and diplomacy - but most of us have an idea of family life.
Interestingly, even though there are plenty of dysfunctional families, the fact that we even use this term would suggest that we have – in our unconscious – a shared notion of what a ‘functional’ family should be like. A functional family includes all the most noble and important aspects of human nature and has at its core the idea of oneness and cooperation. Within a family is a microcosmic picture of a functioning social unit. A functional family is a good example of how humanity as a whole could operate cohesively and progressively.
So what would you do if a member of your family was starving, beaten, raped, jailed, intimidated, homeless, persecuted or exploited?
This might seem simplistic but if we look at everyone as part of our family it can help to dismantle the idea of ‘others’ . It also helps to creates the conceptual framework within which we need to work if we are to begin to tease out the many, many issues that surround the application of universal human rights.
So? What would you do?
- Once Your Doctor Knows Your Genes, The Sick Become More Than Just A Disease (fastcompany.com)
- In quest for new therapies, clinician-scientist team unlocks hidden information in human genome (eurekalert.org)
- New research brings personal genomics closer than ever (digitaltrends.com)
- The complete sequencing of genomes of 4 important representative species in Inner Mongolia, China (eurekalert.org)