Human Rights Day

Today, December 10th, 2014 is Human Rights Day.

It is a day that marks the 66th anniversary of the United Nations Charter on human rights.  It is a day celebrated in 192 United Nations member states throughout the world, in observance of a charter that provides for the support and protection of human rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the late president Franklin Roosevelt, in 1948 wrote the following in a special document which “declares” the rights that everyone in the entire world should have:

“In small places, close to home — so close that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.  Yet they are the world of the individual person;  the neighborhood he lives in;  the school or college he attends;  the factory, farm or office where he works.  Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.  Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.  Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world”

What is the declaration?

The Declaration is not in itself a legally binding document.  However, it contains a series of principles and rights that are based on human rights standards that are found in other international instruments that are legally binding.

Relevant excerpts in regards to the Airplane noise and pollution issue that we face on a daily basis;

  • 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 12 – No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, or home.
  • Article 24 – Everyone has the right to rest and leisure.
  • Article 29 – Everyone has duties to the community and are encouraged to be defenders of human rights.

In 1997, Mary Robinson, second United Nations High Commission for Human Rights encouraged grass roots movements in communities to know, demand, and defend their rights.

“Human rights belong to people; human rights are about people on the ground and their rights.”

Challenges lie ahead.  Many in the international community believe that human rights, democracy, and development are intertwined.

This post is respectfully dedicated to the residents of Nassau, and Suffolk counties, and the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

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