Today marks the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Borne out of the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the foundation of international human rights law, it was the first universal statement outlining a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations stating the basic principles of inalienable human rights and guaranteeing the political and civic rights of all people, including the right to freedom from torture, slavery, poverty, homelessness and other forms of oppression. The Declaration represents a contract between governments and their peoples, and the people have a right to demand that this document be respected and fulfilled.
Although it has been sixty years since this document was created and great strides have been made due to its existence, its goals are still far from being achieved. Currently, torture is an acceptable practice in at least 81 countries, people face unfair trials in at least 54 countries and in at least 77 countries freedom of speech is punishable.
To ensure that the mission of the Declaration will be not only remembered in history lessons but will be alive and dictate the behavior and conduct of governments and that we will find its commitments woven through international treaties and national constitutions and laws. It will demand action…continued action...monumental action, taken by nations and small actions, taken by individual citizens. Together we must make a commitment to ensure “that recognition of the inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”