Helen Clark ignores question on global ethical human rights.

When Helen Clark, Head of the United Nations Development Program, was asked during question time after delivering a lecture why the UN says nothing about the new plan for the world, global ethical human rights, she ignored the question.

Helen Clark ignores question on global ethical human rights.

Anthony Ravlich
Human Rights Council (New Zealand)
10D/15 City Rd.,
Ph: (0064) (09) 930.9658

At her lecture delivered at Auckland University I asked Helen Clark, Head of the United Nations Development Program, why the UN has said nothing about the new plan for the world, global ethical human rights, but in front of a packed auditorium, she ignored the question.

However, Clark, regarded as one of the world’s most powerful women, did reply to my concern regarding the global mass discrimination against youth. She regarded youth unemployment as increasing and of major concern.

She appeared to see youth discontent as posing biggest threat in the world but seemed to have no solutions to the problem.

Clark’s lecture was on ‘Beyond the Millennium Development Goals: What could the next global development agenda look like?’ The lecture will be available within a week on the Department of Political Studies website, http://www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/home/about/departments-and-schools/political-studies.

Because of Helen Clark’s popularity (most particularly, from observation, amongst her class) many had to be turned away or stand in the foyer (where I ended up) watching the lecture on a television screen.

However, at question time, I managed to climb the stairs and burst through the door of the auditorium at question time and was the first to ask my question.

I said that some years ago I arrived at a new plan for the world, an ethical approach to human rights, development and globalization (see appendix below) and my book was recommended on the UN website for about two years, that many articles had been written since and I was getting growing support, including some very high profile support. I then asked why the United Nations had said nothing.

I added that wouldn’t the people in the European Union be interested in knowing there is an alternative approach and given the global mass discrimination taking place against youth wouldn’t they need hope.

Helen Clark instead of addressing the question reiterated the prevailing human rights agenda and her concerns regarding women, disability, aids and extreme poverty and then diverted to talking about her young life in New Zealand before addressing global mass discrimination against youth.

Question time may have lasted less than about 20 minutes with about four questions from the floor and in my experience of such meetings, even when including a large number of academics, very few ask questions.


The ethical approach to human rights, development and globalization (briefly, global ethical human rights) is universal, includes all the human rights, but, realistically, emphasizes first addressing the most serious violations which is a commonsense interpretation of the declaration.

The ethical approach was first introduced in my book, ‘Freedom from our social prisons: the rise of economic, social and cultural rights’ (Lexington Books, 2008).

It gives people a choice. Being universal I regard global ethical human rights as a far more authentic interpretation of the UDHR whereas neoliberalism requires human rights to be made compatible with the IMF’s neoliberal economic policies..

I consider, and where it can be perhaps best understood by people not familiar with human rights, ethical human rights can be seen to equate with the Golden Rule which the major religions believe in (in fact, it may even be the origins of the UDHR)

The Golden Rule states: “One should treat others as one would like to be treated oneself” (‘The Universality of the Golden Rule in the World Religions’, Teaching Values.com, 6 April, 2013, http://www.teachingvalues.com/goldenrule.html ).

According to global ethical human rights if you do not have, at the very least, the ethical core minimums of the human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights you would be living in a situation of extreme violence (this includes extreme poverty) which equals slavery.

So according to the Golden Rule if you do not want to be treated as a slave then you should not treat others as slaves.

However, while under global ethical human rights all individuals have duties, the State has the ultimate duty to ensure all within the country have their core minimums human rights although it is also prepared to help the global community, where necessary, to achieve theirs.

Global ethical human rights is described briefly as follows:

(1) An ethical human rights requires the core minimum (at least) of all the rights in Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all. This would entail survival with dignity PLUS the added dignity of self-help (including a voice in the mainstream, without any discrimination). This would be sufficient for the individual (and consequently the State and the World) to reach his/her full potential. The core minimum rights are ensured but higher levels need to be earned.

The principle involved is the equal status of civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights at the level of the core minimum obligations of the State.

Both ‘survival rights’ and ‘self-help rights’ are encapsulated in Article 22, UDHR, which states: “Everyone has the right to social security and is entitled to realization…..of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensible for his dignity and the free development of his personality”.

(2) There is an emphasis on an ethical ‘bottom-up’ development e.g. small social/ economic entrepreneurs, small/medium business, and new, original ideas to forge new paths into the future with such development of human knowledge (e.g. space travel may be necessary for human survival) to be based on the individual rather than determined ‘top-down’. This would, in my view, mean far greater employment.

For example, Article 2(1) of the Declaration on the Rights to Development describes ‘bottom-up’ development: “The human person is the central subject of development and should be the active participant and beneficiary of the rights to development”.

(3) An ethical globalization requires an ethical human rights 'bottom-line' for all States - to protect against extreme ‘top-down’ control by the State as well as ensuring fair competition without exploitation (e.g. China and India would not get an unfair competitive advantage by exploiting their workforce). Ethical globalization does not require regionalization so States do not have to forgo considerable national sovereignty.

This is not a return to protectionism. For example, people can be informed e.g. labeling of goods, where imports are made, for example, with child or sweatshop labor. As well as ensuring no such exploitation takes place it provides opportunities for domestic production.

(4) There are also duties. Article 29(1) states: “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible” i.e. all have duties including groups and associations, the Corporations, Public Bodies including Academia, as well as political, racial, religious groups etc.

PS. Due to major technical difficulties my blog on Guerilla Media cannot be accessed however many of my articles can be found San Francisco Bay Area indymedia and Auckland indymedia.


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