Globalization is a cultural phenomenon that is bringing different national and local communities closer and establishing new standards or expectations among populations. Inequalities at the local level are compared, analysed and observed on all sides, at least on television screens and increasingly on Internet terminals. Certainly this simultaneity in the cognizance of events, mass dissemination of practices and customs, and homogenization of consumption do not prevent commission of the most brutal violations of individual human rights. Before the astonished eyes of a silent public, people have in recent years been able to "see" the gravest violations of the right to life for ethnic and racial motives, death from hunger in atrocious conditions of thousands upon thousands of children and people of all ages, in short, atrocities that in the old world with less intercommunication only came to be known many years later through books and distant reports, and were sometimes never known at all by the public. Mutual responsibility among people and criteria for co-responsibility between States and governments necessarily change with these global processes. When certain levels of violence and denial of human rights are reached, the international community finds itself compelled to act. The criteria for international action, for intervention by international forces, governmental or nongovernmental, in national situations are changing ever more rapidly from day to day and may change even more in the next few years. The implications of globalization for human rights are profound and have probably not yet been adequately taken on board by the international community. Many of the public's criticisms of the international system of human rights and the United Nations system of protection, security and response to conflict have to do with this contradiction between their expectations of these bodies in an increasingly global world and the actual capacity they have for response to the new situations.
Together with the globalization of communications, commerce and power, the globalization of ideas about "good living" or "good life" or the "humane agenda" has therefore also begun. Human rights are at the centre of this perspective which can be called "bottom up globalization". The international human rights system is the broadest set of standards and contractual commitments in existence, the most universal consensus attained by humanity for the defence of human beings. In "bottom up globalization" an active part is played by the organizations of civil society whose explicit objective is to defend the universality and indivisibility of human rights. This is the point of departure for the new and increasingly globalized human agenda.