Right to Life, Liberty, and Security of Person

Right to Life, Liberty, and Security of Person

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) contains 30 separate articles each addressing a specific right. This blog will focus on Article 3 which reads: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”

Current events would make it seem like this right does not exist at all, especially for civilians in Ukraine. The truth is this human right belongs to everyone. The problem is there are not enough people who know their rights so it is difficult for them to stand up for these rights for themselves or others.

The people in charge in Russia are currently violating nearly all 30 of the UDHR articles or human rights for civilians in Ukraine. How could that be? Well, there is something called mutually assured destruction (MAD)* that is keeping freedom-loving countries from stepping in to help.

Brad Schaeffer in an article on dailywire.com said, “We are barely on the other side of the divide of the dawn of the Nuclear Age…the greatest moral challenge humankind has ever had to confront. What do I mean by this? I am not convinced that humanity has developed the moral grounding to be the wise stewards of such awesome power. There are currently over 13,000 nuclear warheads dotting the planet, and I am disconcerted by the notion that no weapons system has ever been developed that was left unused…

The great promise governing these weapons of mass destruction is that MAD (mutually assured destruction) will keep any conflicts hemmed in and local, for the risks of nuclear war in which both parties are annihilated is seen by all sides as unacceptable.”

If we had an ideal culture and a high level of ethics on this planet, something like an atomic weapon would never have been dreamed of, let alone produced! Its only purpose is to destroy lots of life—humans, plants, animals–all life over a widespread area. This could take us into a whole other level of discussion but I believe the point is made.

A few years ago, I attended a gathering with local non-profits in the Philadelphia area. One of the Organization Leaders came to me and said, if you are serious about human rights then you need to talk about atomic weapons and their threat to human rights. At the time I thought it was extreme but now in 2022, we have a Head of State threatening the use of atomic weapons and other Heads of States hesitant to get involved because of MAD. It is all MAD!! We are talking about extinction-level destruction.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights came into existence as a result of the atrocities of the Nazis and the destruction of World War II. We need to learn from History! Let’s be sure to bring these human rights to life and prevent human rights violations and anything even close to World War III from happening. I guarantee YOU will come more to life as well.

We can create an ideal culture where all life thrives!

To learn your 30 human rights, take a free online course here: https://www.humanrights.com/course/

March 1st is Zero Discrimination Day

March 1st is Zero Discrimination Day

Zero Discrimination Day is a day that is observed annually on March 1st. This holiday was created by the United Nations in 2014 to promote equality throughout the world.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) contains 30 separate articles each addressing a specific right. Article 2 addresses zero discrimination and reads: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional, or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing, or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

No one should be discriminated against for any reason on any day. However, statistics show discrimination remains prevalent in many areas. When a person is discriminated against, he or she receives different treatment because of their category or group. The person is not seen based on individual merit but based on some category, class, or group bias.

According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, job applicants with African American names have to apply to 50 percent more jobs to get a callback. According to the United States Sentencing Commission, Black men receive sentences that are on average 20 percent greater than white men for the same or similar crimes. source: theodysseyonline.com/7-statistics-that-will-change-view-racism

Stark gender disparities remain in economic and political realms. While there has been some progress over the decades, on average women in the labor market still earn 20 percent less than men globally. As of 2021, only 25 percent of all national parliamentarians were female, a slow rise from 11.3 percent in 1995. source: un.org/en/global-issues/gender-equality

The U.S. Department of Labor enforces roughly 180 laws designed to safeguard workers from discrimination and bias, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission facilitates additional layers of protection for the same purpose. Still, more than 1.8 million cases have been filed with the EEOC in the last two decades. There’s been no major decrease in the total number of discrimination complaints reported to the EEOC since 1997. source: paychex.com/articles/human-resources/eeoc-workplace-discrimination-enforcement-and-litigation

What can you do?

You can practice this particular human right in your daily life by treating all people with respect and dignity. File the appropriate reports if you observe discrimination in your workplace or groups.

And of course, know all 30 of your human rights and educate others to do the same. To get your free human rights educational materials visit: https://www.youthforhumanrights.org/educators/education-package-details.html


Definitions from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/

Declaration: the act of declaring; Announcement – a written or spoken statement that tells people about something

Distinction: the act of perceiving someone or something as being not the same and often treating as separate or different

Entitled: having a right to certain benefits or privileges

Everyone: every person, all

Jurisdictional: the authority of a sovereign power to govern or legislate

Rights: the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled

Sovereignty: a country’s independent authority and right to govern itself

Act Towards One Another in a Spirit of Brotherhood

Act Towards One Another in a Spirit of Brotherhood

The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) contains 30 separate articles each addressing a specific right that we all have. Article 1 reads: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

These are beautiful words and most people would probably agree that We should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Unfortunately, statistics show we are not doing so well in this regard.

Global Estimates on Modern Slavery in 2017, showed on any given day there were likely to be more than 40 million men, women, and children who were being forced to work against their will under threat or who were living in a forced marriage that they had not agreed to, [not to mention sex trafficking.] source: un.org/en/academic-impact/fighting-modern-slavery-through-awareness-and-training

Today, there are thousands of victims of terrorism and their families scattered in all regions of the world, struggling in their solitude with the scars of trauma and injury. source: un.org/victimsofterrorism/en/about/messages-un-victims-terrorism

According to the most recent estimates, 10 percent of the world’s population or 734 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day. source: un.org/en/global-issues/ending-poverty

In contemporary conflicts, up to 90 percent of casualties are civilians, mostly women, and children. Women in war-torn societies can face devastating forms of sexual violence. source: un.org/en/global-issues/peace-and-security

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent, and devastating human rights violations in our world today.

  • 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence.
  • Women and girls are disproportionately subjected to violence, including femicide, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, trafficking, and harmful practices.

source: un.org/en/spotlight-initiative/index.shtml

While these statistics are alarming, they are used to illustrate that we have far to go for all humankind to act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood. Members of our human family are living in horrific conditions every day. Their human rights and dignity are violated with indiscriminate violence. It is simply not ok!

What can you do?

First, know that you can make a difference and that your actions matter. Practice this particular human right in your daily life by how you interact with and treat every person you meet. And of course, know all 30 of your human rights and educate others to do the same.

For a free online course, visit: https://www.youthforhumanrights.org/course


Definitions from: www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/

All: every member, the whole amount, everybody, everything

Human Beings: person: a man, woman or child

Free: not subject to the control or domination of another

Equal: like for each member of a group, class, or society

Dignity: the quality of being worthy of honor or respect

Rights: the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled

Endowed: to provide with something freely or naturally

Reason: the power of the mind to think and understand in a logical way

Conscience: a faculty, power, or principle enjoining good acts; the part of the mind that makes you aware of your actions as being morally right or wrong

Spirit: the activating or essential principle influencing a person

Brotherhood: fellowship (quality or state of being comradely); alliance (an association to further the common interests of the members

Education is a Human Right

Education is a Human Right

In 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming January 24 as International Day of Education. Education is essential for both lifting people out of poverty and unlocking each person’s full potential.

Article 26 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads:

    • “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
    • Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
    • Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

This is something that can and should be done in the education systems in our countries. Teachers need to be given the tools and bandwidth to make it happen. However, that has not yet occurred everywhere for everyone. Therefore, citizens of Earth—you and me–have the responsibility and power to make sure all people are educated on their human rights and are directed towards the full development of their personality and achieving their full potential.

According to UN statistics, “about 258 million children and adolescents around the world do not have the opportunity to enter or complete school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.” https://www.un.org/en/observances/education-day

Those are statistics relating to part one of this article and they are pretty bleak. I do not know of any stats currently measuring parts 2 and 3 but I’d guess they are even lower. I wish someone had worked with me to fully develop my personality and potential. It is something I’ve had to do on my own and still have not fully achieved. How about you? Are you fulfilling your potential and purpose?

Part 3 of this article having to do with Parental Rights is something that needs to be fought for even in countries like the United States.

One of the keys to making this human right a reality is knowing that it exists. United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) have taken on that responsibility by providing free educational materials to teachers and educators. https://www.youthforhumanrights.org/request-info/educators-kit.html

If you would like more information on how to help make this human right a reality for yourself and others, email: humanrightse2a@gmail.com.

We Touch the World and the World Touches Us

We Touch the World and the World Touches Us

Back in May 2020, I received a message on LinkedIn that seemed “out of the blue”. The message basically said, Hello! hope you are doing fine! It’s been a while! Crazy times we are in right now huh?!! Wow! I was talking with a colleague who mentioned a book that his brother wrote about a human trafficking network (Africa to Dubai route) and I thought of you. Don’t know if you have read it yet – “I Am Not Your Slave” – by Tupa Tjipombo & Chris Lockhart

The message came from a former colleague who I worked with at a corporation in San Jose, CA about 8 years prior…an example of how the world touches us.

I had responded to her that I’d not heard of the book but shortly after receiving her message, purchased it on Amazon and looked forward to reading it. 

My colleague let her friend know, who then let his brother know. A few days later my colleague sent me Chris Lockhart’s email address and said in case you would like to reach out to him after reading the book.

I Am Not Your Slave is the shocking true story of a young African girl, Tupa, who was abducted from southwestern Africa and funneled through an extensive yet almost completely unknown human trafficking network spanning the entire African continent. As she is transported from the point of her abduction on a remote farm near the Namibian-Angolan border and channeled to her ultimate destination in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, her three-year odyssey exposes the brutal horrors of a modern-day middle passage. During her ordeal, Tupa encounters members of Africa’s notorious gangs, terrifying witchdoctors, mysterious middlemen from China, corrupt police and border officials, Arab smugglers and high-ranking United Nations officials. And of course, Tupa meets her fellow trafficking victims, young women and girls from around the world. Tupa’s harrowing experience, including her daring escape and eventual return home, sheds light on the most shocking aspects of modern-day slavery, as well as the essential determination to be free.”- Chris Lockhart

Once I finished reading the book, I immediately wrote a 5-star review on both Amazon and Goodreads and then emailed Chris Lockhart to let him know how much their book impacted me. “What an impact it had even on someone who was aware of this human rights violation. Thank you and Tupa for putting this story and information out there. I really do not think I could appropriately put into words how it impinged on me (like to the cellular level) and inspired me into more action but I did my best on both Amazon and Goodreads—see review below.”

A few weeks later, I emailed Chris again and asked if he would be willing to do a podcast or written interview to help spread the word even further about their incredibly important message.

Chris responded that either Tupa or both he and Tupa would do the interview. I was ecstatic to be given the opportunity to communicate with Tupa directly. We decided on written interview since logistics for a podcast might be challenging. Chris asked me to just email the questions and they’d respond as soon as possible.

Tupa Tjipombo is the pseudonym of a Namibian woman who is currently pursuing a college degree in her homeland while volunteering at a shelter for orphaned and vulnerable children.

Chris Lockhart is a widely published academic author. He currently lives and works in Namibia as a global health consultant for international development agencies.

Their insightful responses follow…

Interview with Tupa Tjipombo:

There is so much I’d like to communicate to you. I see you as a Super Hero and have much admiration for you. Your strength and courage are beyond belief. Thank you very much for being a shield maker; for sharing your story to help others. Hope you are ok with me saying this but even though I’m located across the Atlantic Ocean I feel like I am close and stand in your circle as described by your great-Auntie. 

Feel free to share anything you want. Here are some questions:

How? How did you survive those years?

Thank you for your kind comments.  I appreciate them very much.  Let me greet you first and wish you blessings.  I hope your life is good and you and your family and loved ones are well.  In my culture, before we talk, we have long greetings to make certain that everyone is well.  So, let us assume that everyone is whole and the news of the day is good. 

As humans, we either survive or we do not.  I chose to survive because I still had that choice.  Though sometimes it got very close and I thought maybe someone would kill me, no one put a gun to my head and took away my choice to continue living, so the decision remained mine.  And I will always choose to live as long as that choice remains mine.  It’s true that choice was taken away from me in many other ways, but no one ever took away my choice to survive.  Sometimes, it was the only thing I had left.  So it was precious to me.  And I chose to live because I wanted to see my home again. 

What were your thoughts when you heard Alieu (one of the guards) say you were probably going overseas to “a collector”? (my reaction was pure shock! a wealthy man literally ordering a Himba girl from southwestern Africa or a girl from wherever he wants in the world) How can this evil network even exist in our world today with hardly anyone knowing or doing anything about it? 

I did not have the experience to even understand what his words meant.  It was not something I was familiar with or could even comprehend.  It remained a mystery to me.  I even thought Alieu was telling me a joke because he could be like that.  I had never heard of such a thing – a man who collected women like cows?  I thought, “Oh! This man is telling me nonsense stories.” 

We can only understand things through our past experiences, and my past was very limited to being a child in a remote area of Namibia.  My experience of evil – true evil – was nothing compared to the reality because I had not even known evil like that; it was not part of my past – not according to my experiences or even the books I read or stories I was told by my teachers or the most knowledgeable Elders.  And even when you read books to understand the world beyond you, once you read that book it becomes a part of your past, so there is still a danger that you interpret the words in that book according to your past, which might not be what the writer was really trying to tell you.  This is particularly true for something like slavery because most people have not been a slave.  This is why I wanted to write a book about my experience that was as close to what actually happened as possible.  I did not want to leave room for interpretation; I did not want the reader to think, “Oh, this is just like I thought it would be according to my own past.” 

What did you think when you saw the title on the business card of the man from the collector’s event?

When I was growing up, I was used to seeing white people either as tourists who come to see wildlife or as development workers.  So, it did not surprise to see that this white man was working for a development organization.  I can say that maybe I expected people who work for development organizations like the World Food Program or the World Wildlife Fund or organizations like that to be good people.  They are supposed to help us, right?  They are supposed to be doing good things for people around the world – especially people from Africa.  But since then I have learned that these are people just like any others and they can be good or bad or something in between.  But these organizations are so large and numerous that it must be very difficult to identify the bad employees.  It is a business like any other business and it needs to enforce its rules about how their workers behave.  But they do not seem to be doing a good job of this.  I wonder why this is true.  Maybe they escape attention because everyone thinks like I used to – that because they are development organizations or United Nations agencies, they must be full of good people.  This is not true.  And if you look at the history, it never was.  

How did you overcome the pressure to hate?

 That is from my faith in God.  I can also say that it might be a Namibian trait.  We are a quiet people who are not prone to hatred or wild swings in our emotions one way or the other.  We are strong in our determination and not our emotions.  A person can spend a lot of unnecessary energy hating others.  And when that happens, you become overcome by hatred.  Everything is hate.  You will find yourself alone and separated from those you love.  They will run away from you.  You will only attract others who also hate.  And so what will you do?  Spend your life with those people hating this and that?  Eish!

In the Epilogue of your book, you mention a discussion with the women in your family “we touch the world and the world touches us”.  What one message do you have for women around the world?

I would say that women need to come together now more than ever.  But they must come together from all over the world.  We need something like a United Nations of women but with a more grassroots focus, so that the local chapters are stronger than the central leadership.  The central leadership should only be called in to organize women from around the world when help is needed by a local chapter.  I hope this makes sense.  My point is that we do not want to copy all the problems we have with these kinds of organizations and then say it is good because it has a woman’s face on it.  And maybe we have something like this already – I really do not know – but even if we do, we need it to be stronger and more connected to those women who are not usually involved in such things.  This should be the first and most important priority because these are the women who need something like that the most.  I also think a woman’s organization would be better able to deal with human trafficking then a human trafficking organization.  I think this is true because human trafficking organizations are like a bandage that you put on after you are injured, whereas an organization focused on women seems better placed to focus on preventing that injury in the first place.

What do you most want from women in your outermost circles?

Well, I think it is funny because the women who I describe as being in the outermost circles have usually been the ones we think of as being in the innermost circles.  At least in terms of having a voice.  So let me say they are white women from the West.  So what I would say to them is that you should go out of your way to talk to more women who are outside of your usual circles.  Even if this makes you uncomfortable, it is ok.  In fact, it is a sign that you are growing and breaking out of your usual routine.  This is a good thing because it is how we learn.  How else are we as women going to achieve anything if we only talk to other women who are exactly like us? 

Anything else you want to share?

Onawa tjinene tji twa hakaene!  (Nice to meet you!)

It is an honor and pleasure to meet you Tupa! Thank you for sharing your message and for helping to make the world a much better place!!

Interview with Chris Lockhart:

In the Preface to the book, you mention some questions regarding Tupa’s breathtakingly shocking story. Why had we not heard of so many of these things before? How could it have happened to an individual from Namibia, a country as remote as they come? What are the conclusions you have drawn in answer to these questions?

I think there’s various reasons for our lack of knowledge regarding human trafficking as a global phenomenon.  First, it’s still hard to believe that it even exists in this day and age, despite the fact that there’s definitely been more of a focus on it over the past number of years.  However, and as I briefly indicate in the Preface, it’s not the kind of focus that captures people’s attention or motivates them to act.  It’s often relegated to the dry, jargon-laden realm of United Nations/government reports or academic studies.  These are usually written for a particular and relatively small audience of professionals.  And while they’re important, they don’t show the blood, sweat, and tears of real people; they don’t tell the story of what it’s actually like to be a modern day slave, especially from the perspective of a survivor-advocate like Tupa.  So in a way the issue itself has become institutionalized and abstracted.  It’s also just hard to capture the attention of a Western audience with respect to any issue – not just human trafficking – in terms of how it manifests in places outside of the West.  And finally, I think people feel like they have their own problems to deal with, especially these days, so they have to prioritize everything in terms of their own lives – including what they’re willing  to read and learn about.  The propensity for evil in this world can be overwhelming.

What actions have you taken, if any, in regards to justice for Tupa? How high is the risk?

This is a tough question because I don’t think I can provide a very satisfying answer.  Perhaps the best actions that were taken involved the traditional authorities among the Himba in Tupa’s homeland in the Kunene Region of Namibia.  They actively sought justice for her with respect to her uncle Gerson, and they also raised money to support her when she returned home.  And I don’t think it would be in the best interests of other individuals described in the book to return to Himba territory any time soon – they are a known commodity now and it wouldn’t go well for them.  This is why it’s so important to empower and support minority Indigenous groups like the Himba – they are at greater risk of being trafficked, are often exploited by outside organizations and individuals who undermine their livelihoods (now always knowingly or intentionally), and abandoned by national governments and law enforcement agencies.  They do better when their traditional governance and justice structures are supported and they’re able to speak for themselves rather than have all these proxy organizations come in claiming to work on their behalf. 

Other actions we’ve taken involved contacting organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and the United Nations World Food Program to make them aware of how their actions can put people at risk or whose staff knowingly partake in human trafficking.  The response has been to ignore, downplay, or simply reject our efforts out of hand.  And national governments have been no better.  As far as Namibia goes, they’re more concerned with achieving a positive ranking from the US Department of State when it comes to human trafficking, mostly because it opens up certain avenues of development funding.  In fact, the country just received a highly prized “Tier 1 Ranking” in June 2020.  But these rankings have been widely criticized as generic, politicized categories that have little to do with how trafficking occurs on the ground.  We need more grass-roots, community driven solutions, especially among high risk communities and groups. 

It was the frustrations of trying to seek justice for Tupa that led us to write the book in the first place.  Raising awareness of these issues is critical because it truly does put more pressure on organizations and governments to do something.  We have to shame them.

This book was so alive, like the reader was there. You had mentioned to me that you are writing some other books. Can you share the topics and when we can expect them?

I’m just finishing a book about the lives and experiences of four street children in Lusaka, Zambia.  It’s also a true story and based on years of ethnographic immersion by a team of former street kids, a journalist, an outreach worker, and myself.  While it’s a true story, it’s written in the same narrative manner as Tupa’s book, though this time from the different perspectives of the four kids and how their lives increasingly intertwine around the mysterious murder of one of their own.  It’s also about the power of random acts of kindness and how even the smallest good deed can have widespread and positive consequences that amplify as they ripple through a community, even one comprised of street kids from central Africa, who just might face more forms of suffering and violence then almost any group imaginable.  Like human trafficking, you find very few insider accounts about street children that actually tell the story of their daily lives, struggles, and dreams. 

I’m hoping this book comes out at some point over the next year, but that’s subject to all the twists and turns that come with literary agents, editors, publishers, etc.  Luckily, we have some good ones on our side, individuals who understand the value of nonfiction accounts that aren’t just biographies of the Kardashians.  We need to revolutionize how and what we read.

Thank you Chris for caring enough about other people and the world to put this memoir out there so we get enough people to understand and stand up to help stop this evil.

Even though this interview gives an idea of the reality and horrors of human trafficking, I highly recommend you read the book (see review below) so you hear directly from Tupa her full story.

Oh, and one last thing… After I received the responses from Chris and Tupa, it made me think back to how I came across this book in the first place. I wondered how and why this former colleague thought of me and reached out to me now after 8 years. So, decided to send her a message on LinkedIn. Her response was: “Whenever something comes up regarding Human Rights, I mention in the conversation that I met you and you did a brown bag event [lunch and learn] teaching us about the United Nations list of Human Rights (which I didn’t fully know existed before that) and that you are very active with human trafficking awareness. This time the conversation went a little deeper and I knew for sure I needed to link you two together as I thought you might want to pursue the connection!”

We Touch the World and the World Touches Us!

Post By:  Ellen Firestone

5 Star Review for “I Am Not Your Slave” on Amazon and Goodreads:


OUTSTANDING!!! Highly recommend this book even though there are nightmarish scenes to confront that at times left me almost shaking. I have known about the horrific, mostly hidden, crime of human trafficking for over a decade but never read or heard about evil like what Tupa endured.

Even more appalling was the fact that the men at the final destination were supposed to be the very humanitarians (from the US and elsewhere) helping to protect human rights! This crime needs to be deeply investigated to get to the source and JUSTICE needs to be served no matter the person’s high level, powerful, public position. As Martin Luther King said back in the early 1960s, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The book is so well written it is like you are there. I could not put it down. The way Chris Lockhart described things brought so many perceptions to life almost to the cellular level. By the end of the book, I had no doubt I was standing in Tupa’s expanded circle.

Tupa Tjipombo and Chris Lockhart, have inspired me to do even more in the fight for Universal Human Rights. NO ONE should ever go through anything like this. Human Trafficking–Slavery, in all its forms, needs to truly come to an end in the United States and everywhere around the world. ENOUGH!!

Tupa is a true hero! Her strength, courage, fight for freedom, and pure greatness are an inspiration for all human beings–especially women. Let’s join together with her and put an END to this atrocity called modern day slavery.

If you have any desire to help create a fair and free world, read this book, increase your awareness, be inspired, take action!!

Photos of Kunene, one of fourteen regions of Namibia, very close to Tupa’s home village.