Rights not right
In a paragraph of Ramon Amaya Amador’s book “Cipotes”, Catica says to Folofo: “I believe we should pray God for Him to heal my mom." “What for?” Folofo replies, “If God only hears rich people. What we should do is ask a rich person to pray for mother, because we will never be heard”.
Even though the writer tells a story of how children living on the streets think in 1963, these perception of God is still prevalent between the poorest, especially children.
What the Declaration of the Rights of the Child says about them: (Milli, Genesis, Sara Jimena, Abigail, Eddy, Jason and Paola)
1) They have the right to receive education: But they can’t be enrolled in a public school because their parents can’t afford notebooks, uniforms or pay the salary of the school janitor.
Paola began first grade at age 16.
2) They have the right to live: But their lifespan working in the trash dump is 40 years. Kevin died at age 8 crushed by a garbage truck; nobody was made responsible for his death.
3) They have the right to live with proper health and receive a correct nutrition: But they get to eat what they find between the trash. One year old Marbella presents symptoms of malnutrition due to extreme poverty. Paola of 16 is planning of having her baby at home, just like her mom did in 8 different occasions.
4) They have the right to have a decent housing: But built by themselves out of plastic, cardboard and sticks.
5) They have the right to not be discriminated: But in public health center doctors don’t want to give them treatment because of their dirty work clothes.
6) They have the right to have a name and nationality: But in our school most of our students don´t have a birth certificate. Some were born and died without any record.
7) They have the right to receive love and have a family: But Abigail of 8 years suffers from PTSD symptoms due to the abuse received at home.
8) They have the right to play: But how many children are working in garbage dumps around the globe?
9) They have the right for their opinions to be taken into consideration: But Kimberly´s mother won´t let her assist to school, because she loses work hours, even though she says she wants to be a nurse when she grows up.
10) Equality: “All children have the same rights”.
In my opinion, this is the right less right, because it only applies for those who have opportunities.
All these rights would become effective if there was someone who demands to fulfill them but, how does Moises of 12 who is the “man of the house” can claim these rights?
What does 13 year old Jason knows about his right to receive an education if his job at the dump is from 6pm to 7 am?
How does it help Yosselin to know she has the right to receive proper nutrition if she has to ask for money on the streets to calm her hungry stomach?
If you and I don´t speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9) then these rights are not right and Folofo is right.
We are the voice of those who are not heard.