Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Global Issues Novel Study: Global Charter

For this GINS post I was asked to connect my learning regarding the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the learning I have done about Global Issues via my novel The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. This time I was challenged, in a group of three others, to create a global charter of rights and freedoms. This is what my group created in the fifty minutes given:

Global Charter of Rights and Freedoms


This charter is the ultimate power against the government: anyone is unable to abuse any of its sections and is bound to it’s laws. Governments under the charter are unable abuse the basic rights of people in order to seize power.
The government must follow the charter to every extent.

freedom = The condition of being free of restraints.A freedom cannot be taken away under the charter.   
right = a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral given to a person.

Individual Rights:
Every individual has the right to receive support from their individual government in the case they can not meet their needs for proper housing, food, clean water, and health.
- Everyone has the right to feel safe
- Everyone has the right to make their own decisions.
Every individual has the right to not be discriminated based off: age, gender, sexualtiy, phyiscall or mental handicap or in any other way.

- Any global citizen over the age of 17 can vote for a member of their individual government based on where they live/
- No government of any country can stay in office for more than five years unless the country in distress caused by war, plague, natural disasters or invasion  

Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
Freedom of expression (the right to convey any message that you want)
→ Through religion, conscience,  speech, thought, actions, clothes etc.
Freedom of who you associate with
Freedom of belief, speech, opinion and expression
Freedom to hold peaceful gatherings

- Right not to be seized or arrested without lawful reason and evidence
- If accused everyone has the right to stand trial against a fair and impartial judge and jury who believes they are innocent until proven guilty  

-Right to move anywhere and find decent work in your home country

-If you plan to leave the country for a period of over six months you must receive a permit that shows the agreeance of your home country and to the country you are going to that determines you are not a criminal and if you do have a criminal record you can leave if you haven’t been involved in any activities against the law for the past two year.

Collective Rights:
Juvenile Rights
-Children under the age of 16 have the right to not be taken against their will for any purposes unless evidence is provided to the fair, and impartial court for why they should be taken

-Once taken they must be put into a safe and secure environment and treated ethically and have the opportunity to receive help if the choose

Minority language rights:
- If a large group of people live in a specific area they have the right to apply to an impartial court for a school that has proper funding and resources. If there are more than 15 schools in one city that are specifically meant for a minority group they may then apply for a school board.

The most challenging part of this process for me was collaborating with my group to ensure everyone belived that we had created a detailed and acurate Charter. We ended up getting to a debate not about the terms but about the what it meant for something to be a right or a freedom. I belevied that a fredoo should be given to everyone no matter what and the government should never be able toremove these freedoms from a person. Two members of my group argued with my opinion saying that a right it something that everyone is entiltled to and they must be given to the people through the charter. I however still strongly belive in my opinion. We settled on a comprimise in order to continue focusing on the document by giving the dictonary definitions of rights and freedoms at the top instead of those created by us. We agreed on most of the terms by going through the Canadain Charter and discussing what we thought was important for the world. Also we brainstormed the issues presented within out novel and looked for ways to solve them. These ideas are why we created the juvenile rights section with child soldiers and many other suffering youth in mind. We also focused on creating a strong set of equality rights as many issues including the ones in my book come from the unequal treatment of others. As a group we tried to carefully consider our word choices to ensure that the rights would not be abused as easily. An example of this is in the mobility rights section we stated that you could be mobile within your home country. This was stated so criminals could not easily escape by going abroad. Finally we decided that we needed something in the charter to bind the governments from all over the world to it this is shown in the declaration at the top. Before I leave you here is another thought. There is a global "charter" already in existence it was created by the UN and it can be found here. This shocked me because it would be so difficult to create something to benefit the lives of so many people from so many backgrounds and ways of life. If you have any more questions about my charter feel free to comment :)

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Global Issues Novel Study: Rights and Freedoms

I'm back! Sorry it took me so long to write a post but I promise to write more! :) Anyways today I am going to be doing another post about my Global Issues novel The Dressmaker of Khair Khana.  This novel takes place in Kabul, Afghanistan and it is about a 15 year old girl supporting her family when Afghanistan taken over by the Taliban.  Women were forced to wear a chadari and hide their faces and where not allowed to work during this time. The main character Kamila started a secret tailoring business and was able to be successful during such a difficult time. I am going to be connecting this post to my current social studies unit which is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  While reading this book I kept wondering if women had any rights in Afghanistan or if the Taliban just continually violated their rights. After doing some research I discovered that, like Canada, Afghanistan also has a constitution. Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms is found within the constitution.  After more searching I discovered Afghanistan's constitution contained something similar called "Fundamental Rights and Duties of Citizens". When I first looked at this section of the constitution I must admit I was shocked by how similar their rights are to the rights in Canada. The very first section of the Fundamental Rights and Duties of Citizens states that: "Any kind of discrimination between citizens of Afghanistan shall be forbidden. The citizens of Afghanistan, man and women, have equal rights and duties before the law."  This version of the constitution was put into place January 2004. However looking back at a previous version of the constitution I noticed several differences such as an article saying that all foreigners are bound to obey the constitution. Beyond some other differences, this constitution still stipulated that men and women must have equal rights. This earlier constitution was in place in 1990 and the event in my novel took place in 1996. So when the Taliban took over the country they clearly disregarded the constitution. They forced women to cover everything but their eyes and forbade them from going out in public without a male escort.   This was a complete deprivation of their rights. This lead me to reflect upon what could cause the constitution to be ignored. Firstly, I believe this occurred because when the Taliban seized power they had had total control of the the government; the country and the population.  They were able to change the laws upholding the constitution, and eradicated it instead. They then replaced it with their religious laws which resulted in woman having fundamental rights snatched from them. I think that when the regular government was able to hold power over Afghanistan once more they wanted to change the country in hope to later create a freer and more accepting place. That is why they created this new charter. Comparing it to Canada's, I believe that it if upheld it will positively change Afghanistan and hopefully further encourage the residents there.   

I don't know if applying Canada's charter to the situation would help because when the Taliban overthrew the government they also were able to over throw Afghanistan's constitution. I think that if in the same position they would have disregarded Canada's constitution as well. However if Canada's charter was applied I believe the situation in my novel would be very different. First of all and most significantly, women would have never had to suffer the inequality they were faced with during this time.  The Equality Rights within the Canadian Charter state that "Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability " If this had been upheld by law in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban women would have been able to work, move through public freely and receive their education. This would have prevented many families from sinking into poverty.  This happened because the women couldn't work and many of the men had to flee the Taliban. If the Canadian charter had been in place it would have also avoided many arrests as under the Legal Rights section of the charter it states that "Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned."  Therefore it would be against the law for the Taliban to arrest anyone who had been in the military or women without an escort. Finally,  I think that another section of the charter that would have had a major impact on my global issue is the fundamental freedom that "Everyone has freedom of conscience and religion." If the Taliban would have respected this they would have never taken over in the first place in order to force their religious values on everyone in Afghanistan.