“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…from such turn away.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5
Paul was right when he described the reasons for perilous times in the last days. With modern technology, it’s easy to learn about major human rights violations across the world. Here are some major human rights violations mentioned in BBC’s podcast documentaries.
Major human rights violations in four countries
Human rights in Uzbekistan: Involuntary sterilization.
A major human rights violation in Uzbekistan is the involuntary sterilization of women. In Uzbekistan, government officials want mothers to have no more than two or three children. Each year officials tell doctors how many women they should put on birth control and how many women they should sterilize. Sometimes doctors will be given quotas as high as eight sterilizations per week.
Uzbek doctors sterilize women by telling them it is a medical necessity. Some doctors remove a woman’s uterus and tie her tubes without her knowledge or consent. This unecessary sterilization can can health problems.
Another way doctors sterilize women is with C-sections. About 80% of Uzbek births are given by C-section. Those who don’t have C-sections often bribed their doctors. After the first C-section delivery, the doctor explains to the mother that their next child must be delivered by C-section. Then after a second C-section, doctors insist the mother is sterilized for the mother’s “safety.”
Human rights in Congo: Rape.
A major human rights violation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is rape against women. It’s estimated there are 400,000 women survivors of rape living in Congo. Congo is known as the rape capital of the world. Congan soldiers often violentally rape women in villages they attack. Though incredibly sad, many Congan men believe it’s their right to take advantage of women.
Although national law prohibits forced prostitution, there are no laws against sexual abuse in marriage. About 30% of women in Congo are victims of rape, often having experienced rape several times. Many times their husband and children will be killed before they are raped.
Human rights in Russia: Innocent imprisonment.
Ten years ago, bribes accounted for $33 billion of Russia’s economy. Now bribes account for over $400 billion per year of Russia’s economy. Some estimate bribes account for 20% of Russia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Sometimes people bribe Russian police to frame and arrest their enemies. One ex-officer described framing someone by stuffing cocaine into someone’s clothing, and then bringing the person to an inspector. Once the inspector found the cocaine, the officer would accuse the innocent civilian. Later the officer would mix cocaine in with some Coca Cola and offer it to the civilian. After the suspect drank the Coca Cola, there would now be enough evidence to send the innocent civilian to jail. Russian police can justify incarcerating the innocent because they don’t know the people personally, and it puts more money into their pocket.
One ex-judge in Russia estimated that only 1-2% of those accused in court are ruled as “innocent.” The judge admitted there are many innocent people in Russian prisons. The judge regrets sending innocent people to jail, but says he felt pressured to by prosecutors, police and government officials.
Human rights in India: Child labor.
A major human rights violation in India is child labor. Although Indian law prohibits child labor (see Article 24), a 2001 census showed there were 12.6 million child ages 5-14 working in India. Children work primarily in agriculture and cleaning jobs.
Some parents in poor rural towns send their children to the city to receive quality education and care. Sometimes, however, the new caretakers in the city use the children as domestic slaves.
Some child workers in India have been known to wake up at 5 a.m. and work until midnight, or later. BBC journalists who investigated Indian child labor found some children pale (from lack of sunlight), and fearful of their masters (because of abuse).
Only some Indians pay their child laborers. Though police are aware of child labor, few do anything about it.
“Whatever career you may choose for yourself – doctor, lawyer, teacher – let me propose an avocation to be pursued along with it. Become a dedicated fighter for civil rights. Make it a central part of your life. It will make you a better doctor, a better lawyer, a better teacher. It will enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can. It will give you that rare sense of nobility that can only spring from love and selflessly helping your fellow man. ”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Personal Notes: I remember a returned missionary sharing how he was arrested by Russian police because they suspected he was a member of the Mafia. I believe we need to fight against attacks on human rights. Can we be innocent if we know about these human rights violations without doing anything? With great comfort and opportunity brings great responsibility to help those less fortunate.