Thoughts from Linda:
Something OLD and Something NEW --HUMAN DIGNITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS…
First, for something timeless, but old: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
You may have seen that one of our values at DNA Consulting is that of ‘Human Dignity.’
So, what does ‘human dignity’ mean in our world and by the way, what are ‘human rights?’
As the Swiss legal scholar, Walter Kalin and Judith Wyttenbach of the University of Bern have noted, this is an age-old question and has been debated by societies for centuries.
You’ve seen our definition of ‘human dignity’ as ‘consciousness of the basic right of all human beings to have respect and to have their basic needs met so that each person has the opportunity to develop to their full potential’
Looking at international human rights, Kalin concluded that they are ‘legal instruments of individuals in their relations with the state or state-like entities. Human rights are guaranteed by international law for the purpose of protecting human beings, their fundamental needs and their dignity in times of peace and war.’
This topic was seriously addressed right after the Second World War and the resulting Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed on December 10, 1948. The document begins with this urging of the General Assembly for all member countries “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.”
I’ve found that very few people seem to know about this document--booklet.
It is an amazing declaration and I would say ‘vision’ of what is necessary for the world to protect human rights. It was the first time in human history that a definition of the main rights of human beings were agreed upon in order to protect human dignity. It is now enshrined in a wide range of legally binding conventions of the United Nations.
I first learned of this document on June 20th of 1964. I happen to remember because I had left Paris Texas to study in Paris France during my last high school summer. I was able to see the United Nations in action and it changed my life. This document, consisting of 30 Articles, is one of the most profound declarations I’ve ever seen.
I’ve since been a student of international relations, a world history teacher, obtained an advanced degree in international relations/business, had an opportunity to work globally in 5 organizations and do consider myself a ‘citizen of the world.’
The Guinness Book of Records describes the UDHR as the Most Translated Document in the world. The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. It consists of 30 articles, which have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions and laws.
Today, in 2020, our world is in a turbulent time. Much of the ‘global order’ that was constructed and supported by nation states after WWII has been disrupted. There are many questions and hotly debated answers. The validity of the UN in such an environment has been questioned for sure.
This booklet provides you with a foundational document for understanding human dignity in the context of human rights globally and understanding how the very wise leaders of the mid-20th century viewed what was ‘right action’ for us all. At DNA Consulting, we subscribe to this vision!