The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Turns Seventy.

Author:Murphy, Duane Paul
Position:UP FRONT

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris, France, on December 10, 1948, as General Assembly Resolution 217A and translated into more than 500 languages worldwide. The UDHR was carefully drafted by various representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all known regions of the world, setting out, for the first time in human history, fundamental human rights to be universally protected by international and domestic governments as well as intergovernmental organizations.

Created by members of the United Nations' Commission on Human Rights, representatives such as Rene Cassin of France, Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States, Charles Malik of Lebanon, John Humphrey of Canada, and Peng Chung Chang of China were among the primary drafters of this important document. While many of these diplomats came from Jewish, Christian, and Eastern religious backgrounds, the document they formed exemplifies a secular humanist ideal regarding a common universality and intersectionality of humanity and progress. From protecting freedom of thought and opinion to freedom from slavery, torture, and unjust arrest, these ideals have shaped human rights and civil liberty protections in democratically governed nations in developed and developing parts of the world. The document itself has major influences from the English Magna Carta, the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution, the Iranian Cyrus Charter, the English Bill of Rights, the US Bill of Rights, and the French Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen. The declaration also addresses critical socioeconomic rights being fought for today, such as the rights to healthcare and an education.

However, despite the fact that forty-eight member states voted for the resolution's adoption, the rights set forth in the UDHR have not been secured for a great many all over the world. Specifically in regards to protecting minority religious groups and the nonreligious from persecution, discrimination, and other forms of suppression or oppression, the global community still has far to go.

According to the 2017 Freedom of Thought Report, a global research project published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), countries listed as the worst places in the world to be a nonreligious nonbeliever include China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia...

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