The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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July 26, 2009 by libertymoonbeam

980608c7f8According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN on December 10th, 1948 human rights are the inalienable rights of all human beings. It states that the essence of global peace and justice is the recognition of human dignity. Virtually every atrocity committed by mankind has been a direct result of a blatant disregard of certain inalienable rights – such as the freedom of belief and speech as well as the freedom from fear and want, thus the rights of human beings should be defended by rule of law.

Articles one and two of The Universal Declaration state that all humans share equal rights and dignity and are born free. As free agents they should treat each other in a brotherly manner, using their inherent conscience and reason.

Articles three through eleven cover the rights belonging to every human being:  Rights to such things as life, security and liberty, the rights to be free from any form of slavery and torture or inhuman and degrading punishments. These articles state that all of mankind should be treated as true equals in every aspect of life. 01declar1Articles twelve through seventeen outline the rights that we hold in civil society:  These include the rights of free movement and return, political asylum.  Also stated are the rights to nationality, to marry and create a family, and to own property. These rights are left vaguer than their predecessors, leaving room for interpretation and stipulations.

Articles eighteen through twenty one charts the rights a person holds in spiritual and political realms: Freedom of speech, expression, opinion, religion, thought and belief, even the right to take part in government affairs, through elected representatives or directly.

Articles twenty two through twenty seven delineate our social, cultural and economic rights: The right to work and protection from unemployment, the right to rest and vacation, the right to an education and the right to enjoy cultural life.

Finally articles twenty eight through thirty bring these rights back together with the obligation of individuals to the United Nations, to their society and to one another.

I believe very strongly that all human beings are born equal and free and are guaranteed certain inalienable rights that can never be taken from them. Some may criticize the declaration claiming that it is based on a western way of thinking, that it’s partisan and not suitable or relevant to all cultures. I disagree with these statements. The declaration is a product of a group of eighteen individuals who all came from very different backgrounds, regions, legal traditions and religions. These eighteen individuals were seeking a “common standard of achievement” that we could all share that would secure a “higher standard of life”. I believe that what they created was a beautiful canvas of interdependent liberties and social responsibilities. 94944-004-5FA0AEE2

One of my favorite quotes comes from Eleanor Roosevelt who was the chairman of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and a staunch supporter of the declaration. She stated that “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 maps of the world … Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.”

It states in the preamble of the declaration that we will “keep this Declaration constantly in mind”, that we “shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms”. It is our responsibility as a nation to uphold these promises that we have made to future generations.0307p56new

Our educational system is failing our children. I never so much as saw the Universal Declaration of Human Rights until I was a junior in college. Not only had I not seen the declaration but I was never even taught about the concept of human rights, this is a travesty. How is it that I knew the histories of every great war and violent conflict but I had never been taught about my basic rights and freedoms? As a mother I am saddened and frustrated at our shortcomings as a society. I strongly believe that if we want a peaceful society we have to work for it and the best place to start is by teaching our children that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”. It is only through teaching our children love and respect for all mankind that we can ever hope to obtain a peaceable world.

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15 thoughts on “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  1. javelin19 says:

    Don’t blame the education system. This is YOUR role and responsibility as a parent. My math teacher is only supposed to teach me how to round fractions. It’s not my math teacher’s job to tell me how I should feel about gay marriage or immigration reform

  2. theradicalmormon says:

    Two areas I see the USA failing with regards to rights delineated in the Declaration here are the rights to medical care and housing as delineated in article 25:

    “(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
    (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.”

    We also don’t believe in article 13 where it states:

    “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” If we did we would be roundly condemning Israel for not allowing Palestinians the right to return.

  3. MaggieFrances says:

    javenlin19 says:
    “Don’t blame the education system. This is YOUR role and responsibility as a parent.”

    Don’t blame the education system for giving our children a swiss cheese, biased education? Why ever not? Maybe it is the name throwing me off but I thought our educational system was meant to educate. I see no problem with expecting at least that and calling the system out when it offers shotty work.

    “My math teacher is only supposed to teach me how to round fractions. It’s not my math teacher’s job to tell me how I should feel about gay marriage or immigration reform”

    Of course that wouldn’t be your MATH teachers job and it is no teachers job (or any other human being’s for that matter) to tell one how to feel about any given subject but it is very well the job of a Social Studies teacher to inform his or her students of our social history just as it is your Math teacher’s job to teach you fractions and multiplication etc. Sadly in our schools our history is lacking for whatever reason (I’m sure we all have our opinions on why this is but the issue is that it is at all). So now we have adults entering into the world unaware of some major points in our history and current events- this included. It does a major disservice to them as individuals and to us as a society. Education- a proper one with nothing held back and nothing twisted- opens up the world to us. No, teaching history and social issues does not equate to indoctrination. Informing them is not the same as telling them how to feel, live, vote in the future, etc. It is, however, giving them the tools to make educated choices. Why have we become so afraid of that?

    But I agree, it is our role and responsibility as parents to stand up and demand a better education for ALL of our children- not just those who can afford it- and to demand a fair and unbiased education.

    Our children deserve to know what is out there as did we. It really is that simple.

  4. libertymoonbeam says:

    Your right this is not the math teacher’s responsibility. This should fall under the curriculum of a social studies or history class. I do teach my children about these things, I have a large copy of the UDHR hanging up in my home and my children know exactly what it is. This isn’t a pro-gay marriage or immigration reform document, it’s a declaration that our nation played an integral part in drafting. We were one of 48 nations who agreed that, as the preamble reads:

    This universal declaration of human rights is a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

    Our education system should not tell our children how to think or feel on social subjects, however it is their job to educate our children on the issues and events that are out there. Just as your math teacher should stay off the subject of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution they should also probably not teach about the UDHR. However, just as any American History teacher worth their salt teaches about the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights it was intended by the drafters and agreed upon by the signers that it be taught to our children “to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by TEACHING and EDUCATION to promote respect for these rights and freedoms”.

    I am glad that you focused your attention so heavily on the public education aspect of my post. It is my feeling that parents and the public school system should work together to ensure the greatest quality education of our children. To this end I have also delivered poster sized copies of the declaration to each high school in Utah County and have been invited by several principals to come teach classes on the UDHR this coming school year. I have also been working with the Utah State Board Of Education to incorporate the UDHR into the state’s mandatory curriculum… so hopefully by this time next year a basic understanding of this magnificent declaration and of basic human rights will be a requirement for high school graduation.

  5. MaggieFrances says:

    libertymoonbeam~ Where did you find the UDHR in poster form to distribute?

    Thanks!

  6. libertymoonbeam says:

    MaggieFrances,

    That’s a good question, when I decided to distribute them I couldn’t find any templates to use. Since I am a student at Utah Valley University I was able to work with their media department to create them from scratch. I have a few left over, they are poster sized and laminated… I’m not sure where you live but if want we can talk via e-mail and you are welcome to the ones that I have left over.
    If you need more than a just couple I can get the UVU media department to print more out, they’re about $10 to have them printed out on poster sized card stock and laminated. Let me know either way 😀

  7. Forest Simmons says:

    We’ll know that the millenium is here when Howard Zinn’s “Peoples’ History of the United States” becomes required reading in Utah public schools.

    Remember when the Lord told the surviving Nephites to include the (fulfilled) prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite in their scriptures? Before that they considered Samuel the Lamanite to be a nobody.

  8. MaggieFrances says:

    libertymoonbeam~

    (sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I completely forgot I asked!)

    After I asked you my husband informed me he knew a place online he could get one for our family (we homeschool). Thanks so much for the offer!

  9. javelin19 says:

    I knew it! Most homeschoolers blame teachers for the problems with our society. Teachers do educate their students according to the standards of each state.

  10. MaggieFrances says:

    I assume that was directed at me…

    No, not the case here. I have no problem with teachers in general at all nor does my husband. It is actually the standards of the state we take issue with in our home. Sadly all too often the teacher’s hands are tied. The teachers are not the problem. Not even close.

    Are you going to address any of the issues brought up in the excellent blog post and following comments? I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

  11. javelin19 says:

    I stand with you about teachers not being the problem, and having their hands tied.

    I was addressing the issue (well, at least the second one). OK, the first issue about the home being the place to teach children about values is right on.

    The problem? Not everyone can agree on values. Should two gay women have the right to marry and get every single access that a straight couple currently gets. I say yes, but Maggie, what if you say no? See the problem?

  12. MaggieFrances says:

    I am in agreement that the home is THE place to teach values and not public schools. But I am still failing to see where the UDHR crosses that line. It is a historical document. Why not teach our children about a historical document and how it came about? I don’t see it related to the individual value issues at all like that of same-sex marriage. Granted I am for teaching about same-sex marriage (what it is, the legality of it, etc) but that is different from telling your students whether it is right or wrong.

  13. mormonbastiard says:

    wow wow wow. that is a bold declaration.

    thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  14. mormonbastiard says:

    if only Adam and Eve would’ve had those rights. they got screwed.

  15. Kathleen McLaughlin says:

    How do I obtain posters?

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