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Human Rights: Linking Individual and Collective Security

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Before discussing anything deep about the topic, we need to know the basic definitions of the topic. Nowadays, different people see differently about Human Rights. For some, it is a rule or demand to justify all sorts of injustice in the world. For others, it is no more than a slogan. No matter how different are people’s opinions about Human Rights, there seems to be common definition for Human Rights: Human Rights is defined as “the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death.” They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life. Individual Rights is defined as the liberties of each individual to pursue life and goals without interference from other individuals or the government. (“Individual Rights and Community Responsibilities | Learning to Give”, n.d.) Rules, Regulations, Laws are invented for the benefit of the collective society. Although these are for the benefit of the whole society, because of its overgeneralization, there can be conflicts which harm the individuals involved in the society.

According to the chairman of the intelligence and the security committee, “There is a balance to be found between our individual right to privacy and our collective right to security.” In fact, these imbalances are found on various topics but only a few topics will be mentioned in this paper. Freedom of expression Among many rights, freedom of speech is the most cherished one. Yet, it is also one of the most controversial one. Some individuals say whatever they want, saying that they have the right to say what they want. In fact, what they do not realize is that they are violating the rights of others. To give an example- one student named Bob usually studies the lessons out aloud in class and moreover he spreads the news about his newly-joined cult. Many students are tolerable for a few days. But, after several days, other students begin to tell Bob to be quiet while others are studying. What Bob replies is that, “I have my own right to access the freedom of speech. If you don’t like it, you have the right to go out from the room or cover your ears.” Bob’s right of freedom of speech is in fact causing harm to his classmates. Other students’ intolerance annoys Bob. As a matter of fact, individual right (of Bob) conflicts with collective security (of other students’ in class). On the other hand, it is said that the society is the natural enemy of the individual freedom. In fact, this represents only a half truth. To think the example again, it is the society that stops Bob from doing what he wants. But, if we are allowing individuals like Bob to continue doing what they want, there will be too much diversities and no collective society anymore.

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Therefore, in this case, we can’t decide who is right and wrong so long as we do not know the root of the problem. Education Sector There are difficulties arise between teachers and education system of Myanmar too. The average teacher in Myanmar leads a difficult life with low pay, long hours and overcrowded classrooms. Moreover, in state schools, teachers are not allowed to open tuitions to make their ends meet. Although the government has raised salaries for teachers, it is not enough for the teachers to survive in the country. For the country as a whole, it is good if teachers do not teach at tuitions and just teach at schools because only then, it is fair for all students. On the other hand, for the individuals (teachers), the rule (it is not allowed to teach tuitions) is the threat for them to continue surviving as teachers. Thus, government’s rule and regulations, which are laid down without the voices of the individuals (teachers), will not be effective as long as they neglect the voices of individuals. Nevertheless, the rules and regulations laid down by the government are for the benefit of the community as a whole. Religious Sector From religious perspective, there are conflicts in our country concerning with individual versus society too. To think about the most basic one, in most state schools in Myanmar, the students are ordered to recite the Buddhist chanting and to meditate every morning. Although this is a good way of nurturing kids to become religious, this is a kind of discrimination for children from other religions. At times like these, other children do not know what to do at first and they sometimes just do what the teacher orders because they do not want to argue back the teacher about their religious beliefs. In cases like these, there is competition between individuals (kids from other religions) and society (Buddhist school).

Individuals are feeling insecure because the rules and regulations laid down by the society is not suitable and comfortable for them. International Affair concerning with individual right versus collective security After one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in United States history that took place on September 11, 2001, a comprehensive anti-terrorism measure was responded by the Congress in less than two months later. The measure is titled “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.” The acronym is therefore “U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T Act” This act became a target for the critics who warned for its relentless assault on civil liberties. On the other hand, people who support the act says that the bill is a commanding majority of the public and is justified. The Constitution’s protection of individual rights is limiting the law enforcement’s power to prevent terrorist attacks. The USA Patriot Act greatly explains law enforcement’s power to stop potential terrorist attacks. In fact, the rules and regulations made by the Congress seek to maximize the individual freedom and minimize abuse of individual rights.

However, the freedom comes with a price and individuals must be subordinated to national security concerns if there are times of national emergency. Main reasons that cause insecurities for both individuals and societies According to etiquette expert Anna Musson, “the most prevalent issue with modern-day manners is that we have become too focused on ourselves, facilitated by the ability to shut out the world on our smartphones and disengage.” Most individuals and societies nowadays think only for themselves and lack the ability to get along with others because of their pride and rules and regulations they set out by themselves. Another reason is concerning with misunderstanding. Psychologist Peter Doyle says “Miscommunications and misperceptions are often what cause conflict. One of the most common issues is simply not listening properly or not paying attention.” In our busy society currently, we need to listen what another person actually mean. Otherwise, there will be misunderstanding and conflicts will arise. Solution For cases like these, the usual solution is to analyze using the onion model. The onion model consists of three layers. The innermost part is needs, the mid one is interests and the outermost part is position. In solving problems between individuals and collective society, we need to analyze till we find the needs of both parties: individuals and collective society. Individuals must recognize the needs of the society and the society must also recognize the needs of the individuals.

Only then, we will be able to find the solution. The most important thing for finding solution for the security and benefit of both parties would be negotiating. Despite of its common usage, “negotiation” is easier said than done. Sometimes, it is impossible for the individuals to negotiate with the society and vice versa. However, since this is the only and the simplest solution to adjust between individuals and society, “negotiation” must be made wisely and cautiously to balance between the individuals and collective society.

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