Category Archives: Rights, Justice, Law

Human Rights Day

The world recognizes Human Rights Day every December 10, the day on which in 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a document of which world leaders and elected officials need constantly to be reminded. Here is the beginning of the Declaration, from the United Nations site, where you can find background info and download the full text.

UNITED NATIONS
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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.

Article 01

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.

Article 02

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and
freedoms set forth in this Declaration,
without distinction of any kind, such as
race, colour, sex, language, religion, political
or other opinion, national or social
origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be
made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional
or international status of the
country or territory to which a person
belongs, whether it be independent,
trust, non-self-governing or under any
other limitation of sovereignty….

etc. etc.

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Bernie on the line for civil rights

Bernie arrested

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by | February 22, 2016 · 10:55 am

Since the Pope has mentioned the death penalty…

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by | September 25, 2015 · 4:57 pm

Free speech means free for all

Letter from Karen Porter, Daily Local News, 9/1/15 (not online at their site)

I probably disagree with Lincoln University’s Prof. Kaukab Siddique on most issues. In fact, his publicized opinions on many issues are odious to me.

However, I disagree just as much with State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams’ call for Lincoln University to discipline Prof. Siddique. Sen. Williams’ words are just as dangerous as Prof. Siddique’s opinions. We can dismiss the professor’s opinions as absurd. However, Sen. Williams is a public official elected to a position of public trust and a position in which he should protect our freedoms, not try to take them away.

We live in the United States, not some totalitarian country with no civil or human rights. Sen. Williams’ call for discipline of this professor frightens me more than Prof. Siddique’s often absurd easily dismissible opinions. For a public official to call for squelching anyone’s First Amendment freedom – a freedom so many have fought and died for – is a travesty and a disservice to the senator’s constituents. I teach a graduate course in International Communications Law (and I have taught it both here and in Russia), and a huge part of that course is First Amendment freedom – and the lack thereof in many parts of the world. Sen. Williams would do well to take my course.

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