TOURISM HAS A PIVOT ROLE FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
In general, when we speak about human rights, unfortunately, and often, is when we feel that some of our rights have been breached, or we want to formally denounce a violation.
As citizens, we usually endorse the full responsibility of protection to our governments and International Organizations. Although, we should have a role as well, in helping prevent possible violations of human rights.
In the tourism sector a “doing wrong” or “not doing” could cause violations of human rights, if, for example, the sector is not ready to welcome tourist with all four types of disability, does not well protect children from labour or sexual exploitation, discriminate the access to tourism services and facilities due the non-tolerance to gender diversity, or does not respect the intangible cultural heritage of a country. The same as if a tourist is submitted to a denigrated treatment while passing immigration and security controls at airports or in a destination, for naming few examples.
But it is also true that the tourism sector can strongly help to change cultural behaviours and, in some cases, even promote the update of legislation to allow a better protection of human rights. A “golden asset” that must be well taken advantage, as is without a doubt a sector that governments are open to listen due the significant economic benefits that brings to a country.
The problem is that the term “Protection of Human Rights” is not so friendly welcome as a term by the tourism sector, due the automatic association to, either: “Something is going wrong”, “We did something wrong”, or because is not always seen the strong relation that exists between Tourism and Human Rights.
The same happens in the “Human rights world” where to build a link with the tourism sector appears to be a little far from their list of priorities, as tourism is still not seen as an influential sector for the protection of human rights
Therefore, if this Webpage can contribute to more naturally see this link, inspire the tourism sector to integrate the protection of human rights as a universal goal, and for the “human rights world” to be more open to call the tourism sector for support, its aim has been accomplished. This, in particularly, if all citizens, in our role as tourists, we take as commitment to always remember the tourism sector how important they are for the protection of Human Rights.
Loreto Ibáñez Castillo