Sweet Words Are Crying Out For Potent Action

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Working hard to be a lot nicer–in this blog and in my daily life–not just courteous and kind but proactively NICE {“refined or virtuous”}. So, since I’m building up to May15th and Bloggers Unite for Human Rights, here’s a sneak preview.

“On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears [below]…. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and ‘to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.'”


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 co-operation 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
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 1.

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 2.
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.

Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security
of person.

Article 4.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and
the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere
as a person before the law.

Article 7.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without
any discrimination to equal protection of the law.
All are entitled to equal protection against any
discrimination in violation of this Declaration and
against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the
competent national tribunals for acts violating the
fundamental rights granted him by the constitution
or by law.

Article 9.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention
or exile.

Article 10.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public
hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in
the determination of his rights and obligations and
of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the
right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty
according to law in a public trial at which he has
had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on
account of any act or omission which did not constitute
a penal offence, under national or international law, at
the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier
penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable
at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor
to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone
has the right to the protection of the law against such
interference or attacks.

Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement
and residence within the borders of each state.
2) Everyone has the right to leave any country,
including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy
in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of
prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political
crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and
principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality
nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation
due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to
marry and to found a family. They are entitled to
equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at
its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free
and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group
unit of society and is entitled to protection by society
and the State.

Article 17.
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone
as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought,
conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to
change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone
or in community with others and in public or private,
to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice,
worship and observance.

Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and
expression; this right includes freedom to hold
opinions without interference and to seek, receive
and impart information and ideas through any media
and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful
assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the
government of his country, directly or through freely
chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public
service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the
authority of government; this will shall be expressed
in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by
universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by
secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to
social security and is entitled to realization, through
national effort and international co-operation and
in accordance with the organization and resources
of each State, of the economic, social and cultural
rights indispensable for his dignity and the free
development of his personality.

Article 23.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice
of employment, to just and favourable conditions
of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the
right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and
favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and
his family an existence worthy of human dignity,
and supplemented, if necessary, by other means
of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade
unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including
reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic
holidays with pay.

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.

Article 26.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education
shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental
stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.
Technical and professional education shall be made
generally available and higher education shall be
equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development
of the human personality and to the strengthening of
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship
among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall
further the activities of the United Nations for the
maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind
of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the
cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and
to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the
moral and material interests resulting from any
scientific, literary or artistic production of which
he is the author.

Article 28.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international
order in which the rights and freedoms set forth
in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which
alone the free and full development of his personality
is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms,
everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are
determined by law solely for the purpose of securing
due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms
of others and of meeting the just requirements of
morality, public order and the general welfare in
a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be
exercised contrary to the purposes and principles
of the United Nations.

Article 30.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as
implying for any State, group or person any right
to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed
at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms
set forth herein.


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4 thoughts on “Sweet Words Are Crying Out For Potent Action

  1. International law (IL) functions effectively only when all actors choose to view a given situation on a similar plane. Some people believe IL came about as a kind of formalized, protectionist policy system for countries that did not wish to share their wealth or knowledge. From this standpoint, the goal was to keep and protect what you already had, prevent other people from getting it–be it land, shelter, weapons, food, whatever. Another view is that IL emerged out of a desire of some people to become more altruistic and encourage other people on a large scale, to do the same.

  2. “International law (IL) functions effectively only when all actors choose to view a given situation on a similar plane.”

    Yes! That’s why it’s important for citizens to educate others about documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so we can get on the same page and implement its provisions.

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