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Good Reads: Was 2011 a banner year for human rights?

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Watch the Monitor for continuing coverage on Congo.

In this week’s Atlantic, Stewart M. Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations lists some of these successes and notes that the key ingredient in all these struggles is a galvanized popular will for the respect of human rights. Quoting the findings of a global opinion survey by worldpublicopinion.org, Mr. Patrick notes that citizens even in authoritarian countries are beginning to demand more and more freedom.

Majorities in all nations polled, including those with authoritarian governments, support:

  • free elections with universal suffrage to select leaders, and consider that the will of the people should be the basis for the authority of government
  • the right to demonstrate peacefully and to express opinions freely, including criticism of the government
  • media freedom from government censorship
  • equal treatment for people, irrespective of religion, gender, race or ethnicity
  • government responsibility to provide citizens with basic food, healthcare and education.

Such unanimity testifies to a universal hunger among all peoples for fundamental rights.

In Foreign Affairs magazine itself, you’ll find a pair of essays that debate whether the use of military force in humanitarian interventions is a good thing or not.

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