Nov 12, 2008

Have you signed the declaration?

I've quit NaNoWriMo because writing 2000 words a day on three hours of nightmares and organising a country-wide (not saying which one) celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was just too much. Since I can't bail on human rights, NaNo has to go.

Although the original text is not gender neutral, it represents a common international understanding of what rights humans *should* have. It probably would not be adopted again if it were put to a vote now. Many government chose to ignore these rights so it's a constant struggle for those in the development biz. Three years in the developing world has left me quite cynical. But there is reason to hope. There are three international tribunals to investigate war crimes and the Human Rights Council in Geneva has been reformed.

Do you know your rights? Take the quiz. If you think that everyone is entitled to protection of their rights, you might want to sign the declaration. Attend an event near you.

Here is the Preamble.

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore,

The General Assembly,

Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as 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.

The full Declaration is here.

10 December is International Human Rights Day. Why not dedicate a post to the day? I'll be incredibly busy trying to pull off a high level event with neither money nor staff. Luckily I like a challenge.

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