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Human Rights Issues

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An index of tropes relating to human rights - violations of them, or struggles for them.


  • Cold-Blooded Torture: A violation of human rights in which a person is subjected to physical or mental pain by another. This is illegal under international law as well as under the laws of most nations.
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  • Culture Justifies Anything: Every human being has human rights as an individual - rights that are not nullified by the concept of cultural rights. This dissonance is what makes "Culture Justifies Anything" a trope.
  • Fair for Its Day: When a work, act, or policy is considered better than that of its predecessors but still unacceptably backwards by current standards.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: The idea that abortion is unethical, it is a hotly debated issue in the modern world. The groups that support legalized abortion argue that it is the right of a woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, while the groups that oppose legalized abortion argue that the practice violates the child's right to life. Both groups believe that they are the ones defending human rights.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: Violence against a (usually female) family member as a means of restoring the family's "honor".
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  • Human Traffickers: Criminals who deny any rights their victims have by buying and selling them.
  • Humans Kill Wantonly: Humanity defined by its disregard for human rights.
  • The Laws and Customs of War: All's not fair in love and war, and there are rules and laws that must be followed.
    • Fictional Geneva Conventions: Humans restricting the use of some acts of magical or futuristic warfare due to being in violation of human rights.
    • Obligatory War-Crime Scene: Human rights violations during war, often due to the absence of international laws or due to said laws being ignored.
      • Child Soldiers: When a military organization places children in combat situations which they are too young to handle. Often these children are forced to fight against their will, and many suffer mental trauma long after the fact.
      • I Surrender, Suckers: The crime of perfidy, which is pretending to have a surrender or truce in order to make a surprise attack.
      • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: When soldiers murder civilians, sexually assault civilians, destroy property, steal property, or otherwise harm the defenseless. Often called "sacking" or "raiding", in modern times this is a crime punishable by imprisonment or death.
      • Sink The Life Boats: When soldiers go out of their way to kill enemy combatants who have already surrendered or are otherwise out of the fight and therefore no longer a threat.
      • The Women Are Safe with Us: When soldiers refuse to sexually assault female civilians or POWs, or when their officers forbid them to. This mandatory by international laws.
      • Traumatic C-Section: The once-common practice of cutting open pregnant civilian women, the idea being that you're killing two enemies at once. This is now forbidden by international law.
      • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: When soldiers refuse to harm non-combatants, or when their officers forbid them to. This is is of course mandatory by international laws, as well as by the laws of most modern nations.
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  • Living Is More Than Surviving: There are things beyond basic human needs that makes a life, among them being, well, their rights.
  • Mandatory Motherhood: You must produce offspring, whether you want to or not.
  • Might Makes Right: The idea that the desires of a perceived strong or triumphant party supersede the rights of everyone else.
  • Prejudice Tropes: Bigotry and discrimination against various categories of human beings.
    • Dehumanization: Where a certain group has their humanity removed to make them easier to oppress.
    • Fantastic Racism: Issues of racism and similar conflicts handled through fictional races of (non-)human people as a metaphor.
    • Final Solution: Genocide - the deliberate mass-murder in whole or in part of an entire ethnic, cultural, national, or religious group - is often considered the ultimate violation of human rights.
      • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": When a genocide is ignored, forgotten, covered up, or treated as justified. This results in the victims of genocide being deprived of justice, dignity, and often forgotten. It also makes it easier for future genocides to occur.
    • Pride Parade: Marching for the rights of minorities and to celebrate sexual diversity and gender diversity.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Due to the immense and long-lasting suffering rape causes to the victim, it is considered a severe violation of human rights and is illegal in almost all nations.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: When part of a country's population rises up against the established government with the hopes of radically changing it, and when said uprising is willing to violate human rights in order to achieve its goals. Even revolutions are subject to international laws, and should be held to basic ethical standards like anyone else.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: As slavery reduces human beings to property and is associated with multiple other atrocities, it is seen as an extreme violation of human rights.
  • Totally 18: Human rights policies defining "child" as "anyone younger than 18" is one of the underlying reasons for why this trope (with 18 being the exact number) has become so universal over the last few decades.
  • Victim Blaming: The idea that some people "deserve" to be raped, beaten, robbed, attacked, etc.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Abstaining from violating human rights seen as something special rather than a requirement.


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