Today marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly.
Take a few minutes to read the declaration here. From an American perspective, this is pretty basic stuff. Things we as citizens should be able to take for granted, but unfortunately becoming undermined more and more by fear and reactive behavior by many world governments, including our own.
The nations that worked to develop and adopt this document were coming out of one of the most violent conflicts in recorded history. They knew the costs associated with not only the oppressive nature of some governments, but also those who fight for the cause of freedom around the world. It remains the last global conflict, where most of the world’s population shared in making sacrifices and suffering losses.
Whether or not we as a nation can and will honor the principles brought forth in this declaration, especially in the face of activities such as extraordinary rendition, waterboarding, and Guantanamo Bay, is one dilemma among the many that await Barack Obama on January 20.
Regardless of what our government decides to do, these principles are set forth and planted in the hearts and minds of every citizen. How we choose to apply them in our daily lives is what will continue to define us as a nation, and as citizens of the world.
Happy Human Rights Day.