Can Election Day Votes Bring Human Rights To The USA?

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In Maryland and California, it is extremely important that those of us who want to establish a real culture of human rights here in the U.S. get out and vote. © AFP/GettyImages

In 1941, FDR enunciated the Four Freedoms, signalling U.S. commitment to basic rights for all. In 1948, Eleanor Roosevelt led the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the foundational document for human rights in the modern world. But despite these hopeful beginnings more than half a century ago, a culture of respect for human rights has not taken root here in the USA. The seeds were planted, but the soil has not been fertile.

From torture and executions to discrimination in things like education, or even marriage, the U.S., at the federal and state level, often engages in policies that are willfully contrary to human rights norms accepted (if not always practiced) in much of the rest of the world.

That’s why, in Maryland and California, it is extremely important that those of us who want to establish a real culture of human rights here in the U.S. get out and vote.

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Azerbaijan: “Unlimited Presidency” Approved

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If you thought that the democratic situation couldn’t get worse in ex-Soviet Azerbaijan, you have been wrong. The oil-rich country has voted – according to the government – to eliminate presidential term limits.

An expatriate Azerbaijani child in the US protesting unlimited presidency in her homeland

On March 18, 2009, voters approved all the 29 ballot issues, including institutionalizing unlimited presidency, reports the Russian-language Day.az.

One Azerbaijani told Reuters: “We can write, we can read, we can watch. But we have no voice.”

Or, “We can vote, but we have no voice.”