Sunday, October 1, 2017

Why Universal Declaration of Human Rights is Remarkable (Part 4)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is truly a remarkable document. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/.

For the the first time in human history, the peoples of the world came together and spoke in unison about:

  1. The fundamental nature of human nature
  2. Our common needs, interests and aspirations
  3. The common challenges that, as a species, we must over come - if we are to survive.
Yet, amazing as this accomplishment was, even more amazing is what they did not do.  The peoples of the world had suffered tremendous losses.  They had every reason to be angry, judgmental and punitive.  They could easily have divided the world into good nations and bad nations, good races and bad races, good people and bad people. They could easily have designed the new world order based on winners and losers - and 'to the victors belong the spoils.' The historic precedent for this way of thinking was well-established.

Instead, they issued a consensus statement intended not only for nations, but for all people everywhere. They melded the personal and the political.  They declared with courage that, despite all our apparent differences, human beings are not enemies but allies:
  • We have a common problem - and that is not each other.
  • We have a common solution - and that requires each other.  
They proposed, in effect, a logical, straight-forward recipe for personal, social and international well-being.  Here is what they said:
  1. We are all members of a human family - and should treat each other that way.
  2. We are equal, everyone everywhere, in dignity and rights.
  3. We are all endowed with reason and conscience.  In other words: our ability to make sense of experiences and to live according to deeply held values is a part of our nature as human beings. 
  4. Everyone, everywhere has needs, insights, voice and perspectives that deserve respect, fair hearing and meaningful inclusion on par with others. 
  5. Everyone, everywhere deserves the means to make a living and support a family.
  6. Everyone, everywhere has a right to develop and participate in the natural stream of life in the communities where they live. 
  7. Our common problem as human beings is fear and want.  We must address the social injustices, power abuses and resource inequities that prevent us from treating each other fairly and well.   
  8. Our common solution - and the highest aspiration of humankind - is to create a world where these basic rights and freedoms are protected for all of us.  They are the birthright of all people everywhere as members of the human family. 

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