Human Rights

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Today is Blog Action Day 2013. Bloggers across the globe are posting on the same topic – Human Rights. You might want to do some surfing and check out the different perspectives offered.

In the first half of the 20th Century discussions took place on setting criteria for acceptable treatment of all persons everywhere. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on December 10, 1948 by the United Nation General Assembly in Paris. Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the drafting committee that consisted of UN members of various political, religious, and cultural backgrounds.

It’s believed that everyone regardless of ethnicity, residence, gender, race, religion, and so on should have equal rights. International laws are enacted to ensure that at least a basic standard is set.

Of course we know that not everyone actually receives these rights. We all want them but do not award them to everyone without bias, particularly in some parts of the world. Even advocates for special interest groups tend to be prejudiced toward someone else.

The intention of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is to promote peace by protecting the rights and dignity of all people. When we feel we are treated unfairly, we become hurt and angry. The desire to retaliate and even out the playing field is a natural reaction. The result is tension and unrest between individuals, groups, and countries.

The sophisticated, detailed rules set in stone in the document are basic in principle. They boil down to the age-old golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated. If everyone treated everyone else with respect, we wouldn’t need any other guidelines.

When we shout Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, Fathers Rights, and Civil Rights we are isolating people into special groups when in fact, what we want is for everyone to be treated equally. Actually, it isn’t even equality we seek but justice for each as an individual with consideration to our unique needs.

We are not all in a position to correct the injustice of a group of people in the world but we can promote justice in small ways every day in our own little world. If we treat everyone we encounter in our daily life with kindness and respect we will promote justice and peace one relationship at a time.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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