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 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 to 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.


© The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

OHCHR‐UNOG
8–14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

+41 22 917‑9000
udhr@ohchr.org

Convergence?

Andrew J. Brown, an English liberal Christian Unitarian, blogs at CAUTE: Some more thoughts on Garden Academies

. . . if liberals are going to get real things done in these difficult times then we need to recall that our power has always been in the cultivation of small and ever‐evolving gardens which, collectively, show something real about our liberalism which includes, of course, a commitment to the incredible diversity and vulnerability of all life upon our home planet. The moment we are tempted to scale up to bigger institutions we begin to resemble, not gardeners (i.e. people actively commingling with the world) but managers (i.e. people who act at a distance from the world).

And Martin Kelley, a Quaker (I won’t hyphenate him!) blogs at Quaker Ranter: Is it Convergent to talk about Convergence?

Just the last thing is that for me if our work isn’t ultimately rooted in sharing the good news then it’s self‐indulgent. I don’t want to create a little oasis or hippy compound of happy people. Friends aren’t going to go to heaven in our politically‐correct smugness while the rest of the world is dying off. It’s all of us or none of us. If we’re not actively evangelizing, then we are part of the problem. “Convergence” is Quaker lingo. When we say it we’re turning our back to the world to talk amongst ourselves: a useful exercise occassionally but not our main work.

Hmm. I’m not sure the two quotes I’ve chosen do the best job at showing why I think these two posts are related, but it’s the best I have time to do at the moment!

Marilynne Robinson on faith

The Spring 2008 issue of Harvard Divinity Bulletin has a lovely essay by Marilynne Robinson, “Credo.”

History up to the present moment tells us again and again that a narrow understanding of faith very readily turns to bitterness and coerciveness. There is something about certainty that makes Christianity un‐Christian. Instances of this are only too numerous and familiar. . . .

My habit for a long time has been to consider disputed and in some cases discarded doctrines on the theory that if in the past thoughtful people have found them meaningful, they might in fact be meaningful, though, of course, meaningful is not the same as wholly sufficient or correct. Take for example the two terms in that venerable controversy, free will versus predestination. There are problems associated with both of them, but in such great matters problems are to be expected, and problems have their own interest and their own implications. In the universe that is the knowledge of God, opposed beliefs can be equally true, and equally false, and, at the same time, complementary, because contradiction and anomaly are the effect of our very limited understanding. As a writer it is important to me to remember always, or as often as I can, that we inhabit a reality far larger and more complex than our conception of it can in any way reflect.

Sadly, the website has only a short excerpt from her essay, but it is well worth getting a copy of the issue. (I found the following essay unreadably over-written–my colleagues assure me it is par for academia–but there’s another wonderful and readable essay on Confucian thought, “Rooted in Humanity, Extended to Heaven,” by Tu Weiming, which isn’t online at all.)

Practicing and imitating

Andrew Brown is both a jazz musician and a Unitarian and radical Christian minister. He has written No Image — No Passion or how practising rock and roll moves in the mirror taught me the value of imitation:

. . . merely desiring the fruits of a liberal religion without at the same time seriously seeking to follow a religious exemplar means you will never get a real grip on what you need to be doing in the life of the spirit. Everything will remain terribly unfocussed and unfulfilling. There will be no attainment and progression.

Freedom and covenant

From a minister‐blogger I’m reading more of these days, CAUTE: On cottages, decay, barns, fire, Mt. Olympus and the moon – or the future of the liberal church . . .:

So we are left with what feels to many the inconvenient truth that to be truly free as an individual to pursue truth we must ensure the freedom to do the same of an ever larger community and, to do that properly, we have to limit our personal freedom through the continuous process of covenanting. (It’s like marriage of course.)

Showing up hatred

“The Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kansas, is a hate group masquerading as a Christian church.” Thus the Kansas‐based organizers of The Million Fag March describe one of America’s most notorious hate mongers.

What you need to know

Date: March 30, 2008
Time: 11:00 AM

Where: Westboro Baptist Church, Topeka, KS

Requirements: This is not a “gay‐only” event. Just come with the ability to send a message to the WBC and Fred Phelps that intolerance is unacceptable.

Not equivalent

The Wall Street Journal has an article on Mormon reaction to anti‐Mormon feeling raised by Mitt Romney’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination:

“I don’t think that any of us had any idea how much anti‐Mormon stuff was out there,” said Armand Mauss, a Mormon sociologist who has written extensively about church culture, in an interview last week. “The Romney campaign has given the church a wake‐up call. There is the equivalent of anti‐Semitism still out there.”

I’m sorry, but what we’ve seen is not the equivalent of anti‐Semitism. It is prejudice, and unfair questions and accusations based on ignorance or hatred, but I simply can’t see it as equivalent to anti‐Semitism.

Doug Muder unpacking metaphors

Doug Muder has posted a sermon at Free and Responsible Search: Some Assembly Required. As ever, he has an engaging intro:

[T]here used to be a little sign on Highway 24 – I don’t think it’s there any more – directing you to the Ripley Church of God.

One of my character flaws is that I lack a proper sense of reverence. And so, every time I passed that sign, the same irreverent phrase went through my mind: Believe it or not.

Something similar happens whenever I pass an Assembly of God church. You know what phrase pops into my mind then? Some assembly required. I picture a bunch of people with a God kit and an enormous set of directions, trying to figure out how to make the omnipotence fit together with the benevolence.

That’s probably not what they do in Assemblies of God. But it’s not a bad metaphor for what Unitarian Universalists do. Our religion doesn’t come to us as a finished product; some assembly is required. As George Marshall wrote: “Don’t come to a Unitarian Universalist church to be given a religion. Come to develop your own religion.”

The meat of Doug’s sermon explores this quandary:

[S]omeone who walks in the door with the wrong metaphor, someone who tries to stuff us into the wrong box . . . well, they ask the wrong questions. And after you’ve asked the wrong questions, even the best answers might not help you.

He proceeds to reframe some of the “wrong” questions in order to make “right” answers possible.