10 Human Rights Issues Of The Future in the world
The world is entering a new decade. Unfortunately, these were not the best years for human rights. Studies such as the 2018 Rule of Law Index show that threats to human rights exist in two-thirds of the 113 countries surveyed. Since 2016, the index’s score has shown a decreasing trend. Many human rights issues reinforce each other. As one person becomes more important, many others also become more important. Looking ahead to 2021, what are the top ten human rights issues for the future?
Human trafficking is growing around the world. According to UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), the global trend has been on the rise since 2010. The Executive Director noted that armed groups and terrorists use human trafficking to spread fear. Victims often end up in sex trafficking or other forced labor. Human trafficking is not limited to certain countries. Women and girls constitute the majority of trafficked persons. As the problem becomes more serious and widespread, the international community needs to step up its efforts. Read our other articles on human trafficking articles, facts, whys, documentaries, books and movies.
The world is dealing with “the highest level of displacement on record,” according to the UN secretary general. Causes include climate change and armed conflict. Refugees fleeing their homes also suffer persecution and discrimination. Other reports suggest things will only get worse in the future. What can be done? Providing assistance is expensive. The 2019 Global Humanitarian Overview estimates that the 132 million people displaced by conflict in South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia need more than $20 billion. With climate change and armed conflict not easily resolved, the refugee crisis will become the biggest human rights issue in the future. Learn more about the refugee crisis in our free online course.
In Article 23.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all people have “the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection from unemployment”. These rights are threatened in various ways around the world. Injustices such as wage theft, discrimination and personal injury occur from time to time. The work system can make work-life balance difficult, which can affect the mental health of employees. Inadequate wages are also a problem in many places. The federal minimum wage in the United States has remained the same since 2009. Worker rights will become even more important as we enter a new decade.
Gender inequality has been a human rights issue for centuries. Even with decades of progress, the World Economic Forum believes it may take another century for the world to achieve gender equality. This is a complex problem because there is more than one problem to solve. Access to education, political representation, reproductive rights, economic opportunity and more contributes to gender inequality. Making significant changes and monitoring progress will remain the primary human rights of the future. Learn more about gender equality in our free course.
LGBTQ+ rights are not a particularly recent human rights issue, but they will develop in the future. The status of these rights varies widely by country. Around the world, definitions are changing and expanding. This makes addressing these issues even more challenging and complex for society and the human rights community. The way we approach LGBTQ+ rights and gender identity may change in the future, but fighting discrimination will still be necessary.
Human Rights and Technology
Looking back, innovation spread at lightning speed. Inventions such as the internet affect how we communicate and how our ideas develop. Technology has also transformed our relationship with powerful institutions. Unfortunately, legal protections and structures have not developed at the same pace. The future will include questions about human rights as they apply to data privacy, the definition of hate speech, surveillance and digital security. These questions will trigger the development of organizations dedicated to the field.
Despite seven decades of multilateralism and the global leadership of institutions like the United Nations, nationalism is on the rise. It can be found in countries like the US, Europe, China, and Turkey. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned that nationalism threatens the rights to life, food and health. Vulnerable groups such as refugees and the LGBTQ+ community face major dangers under nationalism. The world will have to consider this shift in the coming years.
Attacks on journalists and the spread of misinformation
The concept, definition and dissemination of “fake news” will continue to be a major issue for societies around the world. Fake news, defined as misinformation and propaganda, can lead to division and endanger press freedom. Journalists face major obstacles and dangers in their jobs and lives. According to Reporters Without Borders, 2018 was the worst year on record for journalists. This trend will continue as nationalism intensifies. When truth and access to information are threatened, entire human rights are compromised.
combat climate change
The climate crisis will only get worse over time. Our current state reflects the worst-case scenario for climate scientists. How to deal with it will be one of the most serious problems in the world in the future. In a 2019 report, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development noted that the energy sector needs a careful transition. Otherwise, the loss of funds in the energy sector could lead to instability “internally, regionally and even internationally”. However, transformation is critical to human survival. How to deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by climate change will also be a major human rights issue.
A more effective United Nations and a commitment to human rights
2018 marked the 12th year of decline in global politics and civil rights. When reports about 2019 come out, they are likely to echo this gloomy reality. As we enter a new decade, the international community has an opportunity to demonstrate a renewed commitment to human rights. States need to be accountable to themselves and others, while raising awareness of human rights and social justice issues.