Today’s somewhat different challenge is to read The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I’ve read it before and possess a miniature version of My fundamental rights in the EU which is broadly similar but easier to read.
The UN declaration is a beautiful piece of writing. It’s a grandiose piece that children ought to study in school. Perhaps for no other reason than to tick off the rights that they know they have and appreciate the problems that not having those rights could cause and does cause in other countries.
Adults aren’t really aware of it and it rarely comes to our attention except for when politicians bang on about how it affects their ability to pass laws. Well maybe they shouldn’t be trying to pass them then.
Picking out one article that is weightier than the others is hard. It’s all important, although some articles more technical than others.
Article 1 goes some way to summarising one of the principles I try to follow in my life. I would prefer a gender-neutral word to “brotherhood” but that is being pedantic.
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.
Isn’t that stunning in its simplicity?
In some ways the rest of the Declaration is just explaining and defining that statement.
It says no to slavery and no to position and privilege by birth. The concept that we are all equal under the law is still not true in practice in the UK, even if it is in principle. Money helps.
Equal in dignity implies that we all have a right to a decent life, with education, reasonable food, work, pay and reasonable time off and quality of life. We can all argue about what reasonable and decent means in this context but how can you refute the principle?
But we are each of us no better or worse than anyone else when it comes to being treated in a civilised fashion, with respect and equality whether that’s how you’re treated by your legal system or any other part of the state. I would take it to support a national health service of some sort that provides medical treatment to all regardless of ability to pay.
We all have a brain and a conscience. I’d like us all to use them more. Stop relying on mainstream news and think for yourself; work out your own moral code.
It’s also essentially saying we should all be nice to one another, treating other people with dignity and respect, promoting tolerance and understanding. We are all different; we all hold differing opinions, but let’s live and let live.
I don’t really like the oft-quoted Golden Rule of “Treat others how you would wish to be treated” as others may not wish to be treated as I do. I’d much prefer to reflect on people’s differences and respect them.
I don’t really feel I’ve done this justice. The Article above is however better than any commentary I could write about it.
Beautiful You, by Rosie Molinary, with 365 thoughts and challenges, is available at Amazon (click on the picture) and her website is Rosie Molinary