The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is intended to protect the rights of individuals throughout the world.  Although the declaration has been implemented to allow human lives to flourish safely, each continent has been the victim of unlimited violations of these human rights acts. Taking a closer look at each of these continents, the top human rights issues will be highlighted. It is vital to see that the majority of continents share the issue of tackling the refugee crisis due to the overwhelming increase in refugees; following internal conflicts within the Middle East. This issue has exacerbated violence, poverty and means of counter terrorism; which has led to a further increase in human rights violations around the world. Below are the lists of the significant human rights issues within each continent.
  • Poor conditions of refugees: Conditions in refugee camps such as in Greece are inhumane as refugees from Syria face violence, rape, poverty, freezing living conditions and scarcity of food.
  • Xenophobia: As the influx of refugees increases, Eastern Europe has seen many examples of xenophobia. The hostility towards refugees, recalling the video which went viral showing the Hungarian camerawoman tripping over a fleeing refugee parent and child.
  • Terrorism and counter terrorism: The rise in terrorism has effected the human rights of Europeans as citizens remain under threat and constant fear. Stemming from this, counter terrorism measures have been taken with some examples of unfair racial profiling. Without court orders, authorities are able to raid houses as well as arrest individuals under suspicion.

Middle East/North Africa

  • Internal conflicts, war zones, territorial – Israel/Palestine, Syrian conflict
  • Lack of government protection from internal conflicts and foreign attacks
  • Displacement from internal conflicts
  • Poverty, as a result of displacement


  • Child labour: The International Labor Organization reported that “Asia-Pacific enjoys a reputation as a vibrant economic zone, but it is also home to more working children than any other region in the world; an estimated 122 million children aged 5-14 years are compelled to work for their survival. Millions are not enrolled in school at all.”
  • Domestic violence: Asian Pacific Institute on Gender Based Violence “64% of Indian and Pakistani women had experienced sexual violence by an intimate in a study interviewing 143 women.”
  • Women’s rights: Gender inequality in the workplace, education and home.
  • Rural poverty


  • Kidnapping and disappearances
  • Poverty and lack of drinking water
  • Child labor
  • Women’s rights – inequality

North America

  • Racial profiling – examples of Sandra Bland and Mike Brown
  • Gun crime – rise in gun violence, example of Orlando nightclub 2016, Dallas shooting
  • Poverty – majority in Native American reservations
  • Counter terrorism and surveillance
  • Harsh prison sentencing

South America

  • Mafia related violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Police and military raiding (drug trafficking)
  • Child labour


  • Child abuse – Nauru files leaked showing trauma inflicted on children in offshore detention.
  • Lack of protection and rights for indigenous people (Aboriginal)
  • Not enough done for disability rights, Australia has been criticised for lack of opportunities given to those with disabilities.

– Unzela Anna Khan, Correspondent (Our World)