Dec. 10, Human Rights Day

Fifty-nine years ago today, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It sets forward the ideals that people have inherent rights and that countries should respect those rights. The declaration consists of 30 articles, or brief paragraphs outlining the basic rights of all people.

Religion is prominent in the document. Article 2 states that the rights listed in the document are held regardless of one's religion. Article 16 states the right to marry and have a family, regardless of one's religion. Article 26 states that education shall promote understanding among groups that frequently are divided, including various religious groups.

But it is Article 18 that emphasizes religion most strongly. It states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance." Article 19 is closely related, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Psychology generally supports those rights, although this is not always true. Religion, too, offers mixed support of human rights, as evidenced by the stir the Universal Declaration of Human Rights caused among countries with high populations of Muslims. The result of that commotion was the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. Still, whether you find the UN or the Cairo declaration more to your liking, I think you will agree that if people everywhere lived by the ideals in those documents, the world would be a better place. We would have less genocide & war, better education for all people, and less exploitation.

Whether or not Human Rights Day receives much attention where you live, take a moment to consider basic rights, and the roles that psychology and religion play in them. Then do something, even a small thing, in remembrance of the fact that the world falls short of these ideals. Every action counts.

1 comment:

Fernanda said...

If, we all had in mind not to do to the others what we wouldn't like the others do to us, every human right would be preserved. It's really a shame this lack of tolerence and respect...
Have a nice week!