Recent news about Ms. Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun who fled Kuwait because of male guardianship laws that restricted her decisions and choices to travel without her father’s permission piqued my curiosity about Guardianship laws practised in other countries. Much to my amazement, while I found guardianship laws for incapacitated seniors, guardianship laws for minors both natural and legal, guardianship laws for the developmentally disabled implemented in other countries, I could not find any other country following male guardianship laws other than Saudi Arabia and maybe a few Islamic countries that I am not aware of.
When I first heard the news I thought it was preposterous that an eighteen year old cannot travel without her father or brother’s permission when an 18 year old, whether male of female, is categorised as an adult in any part of the world. Eighteen year old citizens or permanent residents of a country are authorised to vote and take significant decisions pertaining to one’s country, to take crucial decisions as far as family matters are concerned and resolve job related issues or concerns applicable to career choices. However, the news item did influence me to think about the extent to which laws could interfere with an adult or individual’s rights.
As human beings, we have natural rights. To deny us our natural rights would be a violation of human rights. If laws interfere with our individual rights then it should be only for the sake of collective rights such as safety and security of all, laws and policies of educational systems, laws pertaining to political and social issues, which in other words means democracy, etc. Therefore, none has the right to interfere with our religious choices, with our wardrobe selection, our lifestyles, career choices or professions, hobbies and interests etc.We should not take these rights for granted just because we do not have to fight for our freedom and we are granted these rights without even requesting for it.
If you take an individual by surprise and ask them to define human rights as done by the film maker of the video below, it would be an eyeopener to find how many struggle to define it or come up with examples. This proves my point that we take these for granted. Instead, we should value it and cherish it.