December 10

Human Rights Day

Reflection

The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to publicize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common goal for all peoples and all nations.
This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, emphasizes the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It focuses on the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.

Whereas 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,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law…
From The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Prayer

Remind us of our duty to create a just society right here, right now, in our day. Give us the vision of purpose to guard against the complacency of the comfortable – and the resolve in knowing that we cannot put off the cause of justice and freedom for another day. Remind us that the time is now.
A Prayer for International Human Rights Day

Action

The year 2014  has been called the worst year for the violation of human rights.  Read the Declaration of Universal Human Rights. Pick at least one section. Reflect on it and compare it to events in the world during the past year.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Suggested Reading

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31:8-9

I call on States to honor their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year. I call on people to hold their governments to account.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities.
Pope Francis

Every State has the primary duty to protect its own population from grave and sustained violations of human rights, as well as from the consequences of humanitarian crises, whether natural or man-made.
Pope Benedict XVI

To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.
Nelson Mandela

Human rights are not a privilege granted by the few, they are a liberty entitled to all, and human rights, by definition, include the rights of all humans, those in the dawn of life, the dusk of life, or the shadows of life.
Kay Granger

Human rights are praised more than ever – and violated as much as ever.
Anna Lindh

Human rights is a universal standard. It is a component of every religion and every civilization.
Shirin Ebadi

If we destroy human rights and rule of law in the response to terrorism, they have won.
Joichi Ito

It is easily and often overlooked that when Thomas Jefferson asserted that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were inalienable human rights, he did so on the ground that they had been endowed by God, our Creator.
Tom Stoppard

If Islam’s sole interest is the welfare of mankind, then Islam is the strongest advocate of human rights anywhere on Earth.
Mos Def

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