Tag Archives: human rights

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.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights


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,

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,

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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Caged No More

by Lisa Longo, 5/28/14

My mom told me the news that Maya Angelou had died and immediately my mind flew to her most well know title, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Why did this poem resonate with so many of us?

Why? Because we felt like caged birds. The 1% caged us, kept us in debt, in poverty, and in ignorance. They did this by forcing upon us a lifestyle that lacked many things. A lack of health care, a lack of food, lack of security, lack of birth control, lack of disposable income, lack of child care, a lack of options, a lack of affordable, quality public education, a lack of mobility and a lack of civility. We are not only the have nots, we are now a nation of lackers.

We are not slackers. We are not lazy, or stupid, fat, ignorant or dependent. We have been lied to, manipulated, marginalized and manhandled. And we should all be livid.

We should be that bird with the fearful trill, making noise and escaping that cage to soar. Instead too many seem to relish the cage, or ignore it. But I am going to expose those bars. I am going to force you to acknowledge they exist, to honor this woman who made me see, living in a cage is not a life worth living.

We are on the edge of being caged no more, of taking that leap to freedom, and I want to be free. And I want you to be free. I want my daughter to be free. I want us all to be free.

I am sick and tired of all those who shrug and say, oh well, this is just the way the world is.

NO. No it is not. This is the way the world has been disfigured and manipulated. The way we have been forced to work against our own best interest. I don’t accept it. I won’t be quiet so others can feel better about their own caged existence.

When children die from starvation or gun violence, when girls are raped and kidnapped, shot and held captive. When our boys think the only way out is to play violent games either on the sports field or on the video screen, we have done it all wrong. Our boys are both captive and captor, while our girls are both victimized and traumatized; too afraid to leave the comfort of the cage they created, or trading it in for another one made for them by someone else.

It is time to stop accepting the caged life created by others, and start defending our way of life, the one we want for ourselves, our children, and our freedom. We aren’t here to provide consumers to corporations or money to the rich. We are here to live.

I invite you to join me in breaking the bars of these cages. Join me in refusing to live in this constructed contemptible cage created by the craven cowards while they hide in their mansions and yachts, hoarding their money in offshore accounts.

Join me in song. Join me in celebration. Join me in revolution. Farewell Ms. Angelou, and thank you for this call to action. For I too know why the caged bird sings, she sings to bring awareness. She sings to give courage and she sings to be change.

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Paul and Huntsman right on torture

letter, Phila Inquirer, 11/17/11

Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman got it right (“Republican candidates target Iran,” Sunday). Waterboarding is a form of torture and torture is always wrong.

Torture has nothing to do with intelligence-gathering, for reputable interrogators know that it produces only false confessions and unreliable information. The fundamental purpose of torture remains the same down through the ages: to terrorize, humiliate, and dehumanize the enemy, whether real or imagined. For this reason, torture can only be the weapon of a scared country, a puny country, certainly not that of a great superpower.

Let persons of faith join with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture in urging the United States to abolish torture, end extraordinary rendition, close Guantánamo, and give the Red Cross access to prisoners elsewhere. Let the greatness of our nation shine forth again.

Barbara Quintiliano, Malvern

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