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46 You know, we received the message, as so many parents do, and we know they are inspired by the police, that our son was killed on the borders. But, two years later, we learned from friends that they had seen an interview with him on Dutch television, but we have not seen him since that July in 1980. We remember how our 20~year-old daughter was taken in the middle of the night by the security police and how we searched for months to try to find out where she was held in solitary confinement. My wife has been arrested for protesting against detention without charge or trial. We have seen the suffering of our younger daughter who was held under the state of emergency and for whom we had to seek psychological help. ~ can remember the shock on the faces of my 1~ and 12-year-old children when the police came in the middle of the night to arrest me for treason. Those two children have experienced what thousands of other children live through every day, seeing armed police invading their homes and holding them, 1~ and 11-year-olds, at the point of a gun. How can we ever forget our colleagues who have been assas- sinated and murdered? ~ mention a few names quickly: Griffith Mxenge and his wife, our attorney, Victoria. ~ mention my friends that ~ worked with, Dr. and Mrs. Ribeirro, Norman Manuphotho, the parents of my coaccused Thozamile Gqweta, whose shack was locked and set alight while they were inside. These are the monstrous deeds of apartheid. On December 19 we were told, while we were out, that we should not return home. In the middle of the night we went sneaking into our home and collected some of our clothes, because it seemed clear that I was no longer safe there, and we left South Africa on December 20, 1986. Thank you. COMMENTS Robert W. liates It Is difficult to follow that recitation. It also brings back our own history here. When you were arrested in 1976, our committee had just begun its work. We had just been through a very difficult period of trying to decide how to proceed, what kinds of cases, there was so much injustice, so much torture, so many terrible things happening in the world. Whom should we defend? Should we defend only
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4/ scientists? Didn't shoemakers have as many rights as scientists for defense? All these questions, so difficult to try to sort out. Then we learned of your case and it helped to crystallize and make our task easier, and it set us on the road that we have continued on to this day. We have never met before, until a little while ago. It is a very special occasion to be on the program with you. It was also soon after that time, in 1978, in trying to defend the role of the committee against some of the criticism that we had re- ceived, particularly from the Third World and from Eastern Europe, writing on behalf of the Committee on Human Rights in Science magazine, ~ described a serious flaw in Western efforts to enhance human rights and one repeatedly emphasized by those sceptical of our role and our moral stance. ~ cited several examples of this cri- tique, one of which, almost 10 years later, could easily still be written today. The then-Iranian representative to the World Bank wrote in The New York Times: In spite of some 30 years of debate over this complex issue Human rights] in the United Nations, American and Western libertarian philosophy still regards 'human rights' in a very narrow context: as essentially political, universal, and timeless. But as far as the third world is concerned they are largely one-sided, passive and abstract. They redect political rights for the redress of grievances, personal immunity from unlawful or unnecessary search and seizure, habeus corpus privileges, due process of law for incarceration or imposition of fines, the absence of cruel and inhuman punishment, and a host of other individual freedoms of action. But they are silent about the society obligation toward the individual; they say little about the right to employment, the right to obtain a meaningful education, the right to enjoy a minimum of life's amenities. These 'active' and 'positive' sides (that is, society's obligations) are either ignored or considered as secondary in the roster of Western 'human rights.'i2 Today, at this celebration of the steadfast and persistent academy effort to free the imprisoned and to alleviate the plight of the perse- cuted, we are still as distant from confronting rights to life as well as rights to liberty. It has never been better said: i2Jahangir Amuzegar, Wrights and Wrongs, The Now York Times, January 29, 1978, Section IV, p. 17.
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so We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. And that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted some 172 years later, would also declare that "everyone has the right to life . . .~ (Article 3) and that "everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services (Article 25, par. 1) is little satisfaction for how long we have failed to equalize the emphasis on life as well as liberty. This is not to say that the pursuit of or the right to work should be equated today in this country with the right to r~revent abortion or to refuse to pay union dues. ~. There is of course one set of rights to life that are honored with deep concern in the Western world. On the individual level, this is the literal right to life, the most prominent concern being with capital punishment. Few Americans realize how rare in the West is our national acceptance of capital punishment until a country such as Germany refuses to extradite a terrorist unless we promise not to ask for the death penalty. This concern with the sanctity of life is amplified in the great efforts to stave off the nuclear holocaust and to sustain life on earth. But setting aside these notable examples, for this discussion, ~ pose the contrast between rights of life and rights of liberty as the contrast between social and economic rights and civil and political ones. ~ have neither the tune nor possess the scholarship to speculate on how the trinity of rights became so narrowed, although ~ would welcome your thoughts on this point. Rather, ~ want to explore how we in the West, and particularly we scientists, may begin to redress the historic balance. In so doing, ~ will try to illustrate some of the difficulties in choosing which rights to life to assert, and then conclude with a suggestion for a modest beginning. In the developed world, in industrialized countries, in both East and West, a starting point for rights to life as opposed to rights to liberty usually begins with rights to health, welfare, and employment. In a rough approximation, there appears to be a preference order between health, welfare, and employment. And in particular there is almost a trade-off between welfare and employment as welfare becomes more generous and assured, unemployment has become more acceptable.
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~ - The normality of what constitutes acceptable unemployment continues to edge upwards, not only in the United States but also even more dramatically in Western Europe, and just recently in Japan. While in the socialist world, where there is great pride in the priority given to the right to work, the heavy burden of providing the right, indeed the duty to work, has led to a vast apparatus of make- work jobs and low productivity, combined with moonlighting and an expanding underground economy. Thus, in industrialized societies of both West and East, the debate as to basic rights, stripped of their rhetoric, often appears as a debate about means relative levels and ways of implementation-rather than of the ends, themselves. ~ might note still another complication in affirming rights to life as well as liberty, there is the interaction between them. In both the industrialized Soviet Union and developing China, efforts to improve economic development appear to be slowed by the absence of at least some political rights. Ironically, this seems especially so in centrally planned societies where market signals are frequently absent. Recent experience has shown that economic development in market-dominated societies may happily coexist with authoritarian regimes, as, for example, in South Korea, Taiwan, or Brazil under the military. But if we would begin to address basic social and economic rights, it is the crise de conscience of the Third World that ~ find most compelling, just as in asserting civil and political rights we ithe Committee on Human Rights] found the plight of the imprisoned most compelling, despite many other existing injustices. To illustrate let me draw from my own concern with hunger. In the latest authoritative effort to describe hunger in Amer- ica, the Physician's Task Force estimated in 1985 that there were approximately 20 million hungry Americans, of whom 75 percent live below the poverty line (8 percent of the population) and receive no supplemental food stamp benefits. The poverty line used to de- fine hunger in this study was set at $10-for a family of four. Let me compare this to a recently published study from Kenya which, although using decade-old data, well illustrates a fundamental dif- ference. There, among the smallholder farm community (70 percent of Kenya's population) almost 40 percent fell below the poverty line, defined as caloric need for energy, with a comparable income for a family of seven of $310. But while the enormous differences in poverty and sustenance suggest that the assertion of rights to life might well begin with
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- - the poorest of the poor, even the best-intentioned will find some confusion in assertions of which rights to claim as fundamental. One might begin with the basic human needs framework, on occasion popular among aid givers and specialized UN agencies, if less so among the underdeveloped countries themselves. The lists of needs sometimes vary, but water, food, shelter, health and education are found on most of them. Which of these would qualify as human rights? The right to water, YES; to food, YES; to shelter, YES; to health, YES; but to education, maybe. For those of us who were given the mandate of the academy to organize an appropriate effort on human rights a decade ago, this painful moral selectivity in the face of enormous injustice and need is reminiscent of our early struggles to selectively focus our own modest efforts on where they were to be most effective and most needed. Our policy then frustrated, and still continues to frustrate, even some of our own members who are deeply committed to other human rights issues beyond the fate of the imprisoned that we chose to focus on. Nonetheless, our policy has been effective and it was a beginning. Today, ~ suggest another modest beginning, to assert the right of all of human kind to be free from hunger. ~ do so for four reasons. Food sufficiency is an objective human need, undeniably necessary to the right to life. Freedom from hunger is a right whose time has come. The persistence of hunger in a world of plenty is unnecessary and an affront to conscience as well as creativity. And ending hunger is one of the most ancient and sustained applications of science and technology. For the specialists in nutrition and economics, perhaps for the members of our own Food and Nutrition Board, the quantification of hunger is always in doubt. Nonetheless, that there are somewhere between half a billion to a billion-plus hungry people in the world is widely accepted. And within a 25 percent variance, the standard need for energy and protein for growth and activity is well recog- nized. Indeed it has been so for mania, as the rations adopted in Mesopotamia 4,000 years ago fit well the current standards of FAD-WHO diets for the Near East. One way of describing the history and prehistory of humankind is in terms of its definition and extension of "kind." With many fits and starts and great retreats, over time our concept of whom we define as human, as similar to us, as brother to keep, expands. It does so sometimes in surprising ways as we link hands across America or rock for Africans on Chinese television. In retrospect, these recent
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~1 expressions may prove to be just more fits and starts, but ~ prefer to think of them as harbingers of a popular consensus to end hunger, to see hungry Africans or landless South Asians as an extension of our kind, a consensus and an extension that must underlie all assertions of universal rights. There is no more profound nor poignant paradox than the per- sistence of hunger in a world of plenty. To know that there may be as many as a billion hungry people in the world is deeply troubling and frustrating, when, at the same time, mountains of butter in Europe and overflowing granaries in North America threaten the agricultural economy of the industrialized world. Thus, the persistence of hunger is an affront to our conscience and a deep challenge to our science. To free the world from hunger, not only for the five billion now, but also for the ten billion of the future, will call for our conscience and for our creativity. We will need the best of our science, not merely in the obvious applications of technology to productivity, but even more importantly in the social understanding of how to increase productivity without increasing the misery of the needy. We will also need to know how to sustain agriculture and to distribute its products in that crowded, warmer world toward which we move. It is no easier now to know how to begin confronting hunger than it was 10 years ago to confront torture and imprisonment. Perhaps we might begin with the extremes. In a modest way, we might speak out when people, particularly civilian populations, are intentionally deprived of food, usually in the midst of conflict, held as hostage to their hunger to press for an advantage or to punish for their allegiance. There are far too many recent examples, whether they be refugee camps in Lebanon, disputed provinces in Ethiopia, mined harbors in Nicaragua, or scorched fields in Afghanistan. As a second step, we can encourage adherence to and U.S. rati- fication of the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, with its twin rights to both adequate food and the "rights of everyone to be free from hunger" (Article 11~. This covenant has been ratified by 88 nations. (While the United States has signed this covenant as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it has ratified neither.) At the same time, and for more lasting impact, we can examine our own science and our own activities in the National Research Council. If we do so, in a searching way, ~ am sure that we will find a great deal of complexity and conflicting opinions as to how to end hunger and even some questions as to whether we are part of .
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