60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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Today is the 60th Anniversary of the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Witness.org is asking people to submit video, images, or text, regarding what opened their eyes to human rights.  

I can easily name an image that opened my eyes to human rights.  It's the image of Tomasa Mendez, who became a poster child for the separation of families after the New Bedford raid.  I wrote a comprehensive post, here, about my feelings on the image of Tomasa Mendez and the New Bedford raid.

The U.S. has supported the Universal Declaration of Human Rights so lets just see how many of these articles have been violated in the U.S. treatment of migrants. 

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 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 9.
      No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.


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.


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 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.

A case could be made that migrants rights are violated according 12 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It's been 60 years but we still have a long way to go. 

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Thanks Kyle for joining the conversation and for sharing such a poignant example.

Mike McCarthy said:

The alienation of personal freedoms feels like a systemic problem. How can we possibly expect to treat immigrants fairly when the personal freedoms of legally-recognized citizens are compromised? We can't.

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on December 10, 2008 5:08 AM.

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