When considering the objective of preventing war and analogous conducts that may undermine human rights, one may argue that while significant progress was recorded in the early decades of the UDHR, even though there were sporadic conflicts at different times, the outbreak of wars in different parts of the world in recent years, has eroded some gains recorded in the early years. The proliferation of armed violence and killings around the world today directly challenge the utilitarian values attached to human rights. Human rights are currently under trial in different regions of the world. Although the Russia/Ukraine and Israel/Palestine conflicts have dominated the media space than others, there is evidence of over 100 non-international armed conflicts ongoing in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East today, of which 2022 alone witnessed 237,000 battle-related deaths. With the addition of the Israel/Palestine conflict, the number of casualties will likely be significantly higher for 2023.
Apart from the deprivation of the right to life, displaced populations caught up in armed conflicts often experience the diminishing or total loss of their rights, including the right to food, housing, healthcare, education etc. Also, many of the displaced population become highly vulnerable to trafficking, forced marriage, sexual exploitation, abduction, extortion, and forced labour. The UN Refugee Agency recently noted that some 108 million people were forcibly displaced in 2022. In principle, when these individuals are displaced internally, they should be afforded human rights protection by their governments, and when they cross international borders, they should be granted refugee status and protection in the destination country. However, recent years have witnessed a rise in anti-immigrant/anti-refugee sentiments in countries that supposedly are the bastions of human rights, including the UK and the US. The UK government is, for instance, actively pursuing its Rwanda Policy despite successive setbacks in court.
Beyond the violation of human rights as we know it today, it is highly likely that future threats would emerge from additional actors. The climate crisis and the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) might pose even greater risks to human rights. Climate variation is projected to induce greater human movement that might result in around 1 billion climate displacements by 2050, many of whom will experience varied forms of human rights abuses. As one of the main ecological crises in the world today, climate change is already revealing its devastating potential. Poorer individuals in developing countries, despite their marginal contributions to the climate crisis, are paying the greatest price for it with the destruction of their farmlands, loss of livelihoods, and enslavements linked to droughts, flooding etc. Evidence suggests that the top 10 most at-risk countries only emit 0.5% of global emissions, while the greater emissions are from more developed countries.