Friday, December 12, 2008

60 Years of Universal Human Rights

Where after all do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home, so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world, yet they are the world of the individual person. Such are the places, where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, and equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world. -Eleanor Roosevelt

December 10th was the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Prior to this document there were concepts of human rights, but any protections of them were confined to individual governments. This document created a standard and a universality that wasn't there before.

The first time I read this declaration was at the beginning of the law and ethics course in my Master's program. I could not think of a better way to start that class, but I was struck by the fact that I had never seen it before. As I read through it, I felt like it was one of those documents that I should have encountered in middle school as I was memorizing the preamble. If you have not had the opportunity to read this document, I submit that there is not better occasion than now. Celebrate the anniversary by taking a moment to read it again or for the first time.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

If you have access to students who need a catalyst for discussing their rights and responsibilities as humans, the UN has some additional resources that you might find useful.

1 comment:

danny said...

your opinion add my knowledge of humanity, greetings from Indonesia