What are these “human rights” anyway? #bad2013 #humanrights

The subject of human rights isn’t top of mind for most of us most of the time, even though they are rights that most of us in the United States enjoy to some degree every day of our lives.

Often these human rights seem far off and hazy, things that despots, tyrants and nefarious others abuse.

Take a look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, though. I read this important document today for the first time. These are real, concrete, substantial things or concepts that describe what we hold dear. It is hard to imagine that it was difficult to reach agreement on this universal declaration, but it was in those post-World War II years and into the Cold War.

Protection from slavery, from torture, from inhuman treatment or punishment. The right to life, liberty and security. The right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Equal payment for equal work.

Go read the rest for yourself, please.

We can probably all think of examples of when and where these rights are denied, to our fellow U.S. citizens and to others around the globe. If we can’t, we’re not paying attention.

If we’re not paying attention, if we’re not aware of our rights and how they are imperiled and violated, we risk losing them.

The first section of Article 29 alludes to this:

Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

It’s our duty to know our rights and to serve our communities in ways that maintain them.

Nothing is hazy and far off about that. It’s right down the street, across town, over in the next county or congressional district, and beyond.

Find a way to serve the cause of protecting human rights. Begin with knowing what they are.

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