Happy (?) Human Rights Day

Fifty-nine years ago today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a radical document predicated on the belief that "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." Today, Human Rights Day, kicks off a year of commemoration -- in which the UN will seek to raise awareness of its principles -- leading up to the Declaration's 60th anniversary.

The document's 30 articles take your breath away -- because they're so basic and yet, globally and here in the U.S., still so far from being universal. Here's how it begins (Article 5 is a doozy):

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 4

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Read it all.

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