"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Today (Friday) marks the 62nd anniversary of the UN's General Assembly voting to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted by Dutchess County's own Eleanor Roosevelt...
So-- if you can-- please join Dutchess County Human Rights Commission Director Marilyn Vetrano and yours truly for a special press conference to mark this (esp. now that GOP have eliminated (yesterday at 1:30 am) our county's Human Rights Commission)-- gather with us today (Fri.) at 9:30 am in front of our County Office Building at 22 Market St. in Poughkeepsie-- to wake up media on this!...
Fact: Both Ku Klux Klan and cross burnings have been here in Dutchess County over past two decades.
Fact: Complaints, inquiries, and info requests to our county's Human Rights Commission since 2000:
[from African-Americans, Latino immigrants, women, seniors, differently abled, and gays and lesbians]
2009-- 926 (less than '08 only because DCHRC was unable to process calls for 45 days; budget cuts)
2008-- 971 different complaints, inquiries, and info requests to our county's Human Rights Commission
2007-- 860 different complaints, inquiries, and info requests to our county's Human Rights Commission
2006-- 817 different complaints, inquiries, and info requests to our county's Human Rights Commission
2005-- 676 different complaints, inquiries, and info requests to our county's Human Rights Commission
2004-- 711 different complaints, inquiries, and info requests to our county's Human Rights Commission
2003-- 768 different complaints, inquiries, and info requests to our county's Human Rights Commission
2002-- 768 different complaints, inquiries, and info requests to our county's Human Rights Commission
2001-- 789 different complaints, inquiries, and info requests to our county's Human Rights Commission
2000-- 800 different complaints, inquiries, and info requests to our county's Human Rights Commission
Looking at those numbers above-- would say our county doesn't need a Human Rights Commission?...
[note as well-- our county's Human Rights Commission has also received dozens of complaints about various police departments and our criminal justice system over the past two years alone; the fact is that two GOP county legislators have served for quite a long time as police officers locally-- coincidence?]
Wake up, folks...(before the coffee gets too cold-- hold GOP Co. Leg. majority accountable, people!)...
Letters needed asap on this-- for media to fully cover this-- firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com...
[meet with us this Sat. 10:30 am at Palace Diner (194 Washington St. in Poughkeepsie)-- it's not over]
Just say NO to New Barbarism and New Dark Ages-- stop local GOP tea-party idiocy from spreading!...
This IS Dutchess County-- land of Eleanor Roosevelt-- holy, sacrosanct ground-- HOW DARE THEY...
[pass it on]
[from http://www.UDHR.org -- On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories." (scroll down below for full text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)]
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From http://www.udhr.org/history/biographies/bioer.htm ...
Although she had already won international respect and admiration in her role as First Lady to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt's work on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would become her greatest legacy. She was without doubt, the most influential member of the UN's Commission on Human Rights.
Unlike most other members of the Commission, Mrs. Roosevelt was neither a scholar nor an expert on international law. Her enthusiasm for her work at the United Nations was rooted in her humanitarian convictions and her steady faith in human dignity and worth. Although she often joked that she was out of place among so many academics and jurists, her intellect and compassion were great assets, and proved to be of crucial importance in the composition of a direct and straightforward Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
With characteristic modesty, Eleanor Roosevelt considered her position on the Commission to be one of ambassador for the common man and woman: "I used to tell my husband that, if he could make me understand something, it would be clear to all other people in the country, and perhaps that will be my real value on this drafting commission!"
The delegates to the Commission on Human Rights elected Eleanor Roosevelt their Chairperson. Like so many individuals throughout the world, the delegates recognized Eleanor Roosevelt's unparalleled humanitarian convictions. During her tenure in the White House she had assisted her physically disabled husband in political matters, serving as his "eyes and ears," traveling throughout the U.S. to gauge the mood of the people. Through this work, she became widely esteemed as a person who both understood and felt the plight of the common man and woman.
Even prior to her years in the White House, Eleanor Roosevelt was actively engaged in politics and advocacy on the local and national level. She was an astute, accomplished, and intelligent woman, thoroughly familiar with the world of political negotiation. Just as she had served as a liaison of sorts between the President and his constituency, so she acted as a liaison between the Commission and the hopes of humanity. She may have lacked certain factual knowledge, but she had a keen sense of what the average person expected out of life - what men, women and children needed to flourish as individuals.
Her common sense approach, constant optimism and boundless energy were integral to the smooth facilitation of meetings. On any given issue, her colloquial style and good humor were engaged not only to win over the majority of delegates who generally supported a particular U.S. position, but to confound those who opposed it. A New York Times reporter who was present at the Commission meetings wrote of the power Mrs. Roosevelt's personality had over certain unreasonable diplomats:
The Russians seem to have met their match in Mrs. Roosevelt. The proceedings sometimes turn into a long vitriolic attack on the U.S. when she is not present. These attacks, however, generally denigrate into flurries in the face of her calm and undisturbed but often pointed replies.
If Mrs. Roosevelt made one sort of impression with her familiar style, she made another with her commitment to produce a universally accepted, "living" declaration. She was recognized as a tireless worker, stating triumphantly at one point, "I drive hard and when I get home I will be tired! The men on the Commission will be also!" Many of the delegates found this aspect of her personality less agreeable than her charm. One went so far as to suggest that his own human rights were violated by the length of the meetings!
Envisioning a declaration with enduring principles that would be perpetually recognized by all nations, she was a strong advocate of true universality within the Declaration. She was adamant that different conceptions of human rights be deliberated during the UDHR's composition:
We wanted as many nations as possible to accept the fact that men, for one reason or another, were born free and equal in dignity and rights, that they were endowed with reason and conscience, and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The way to do that was to find words that everyone would accept.
Eleanor Roosevelt's personal sense of accomplishment with the finished Declaration was unparalleled in her life. Her speech before the General Assembly as she submitted the Declaration for review demonstrates the historical significance she placed upon its adoption:
We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere. We hope its proclamation by the General Assembly will be an event comparable to the proclamation in 1789 [of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man], the adoption of the Bill of Rights by the people of the U.S., and the adoption of comparable declarations at different times in other countries...
Eleanor Roosevelt's concern for humanity made her the driving force behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Her leadership of the Commission on Human Rights led to the composition of a Declaration that has endured as a universally accepted standard of achievement for all nations. As our respect for and understanding of the Universal Declaration has grown, so too has our gratitude and admiration for this modest woman who passionately pursued what she imagined would become a cornerstone in the struggle for human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone - everywhere.
She lived her life in the center of what many would regard the Twentieth Century's most consequential events, the Great Depression, World War II, the establishment of the United Nations and the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She confronted both opportunity and adversity with a sense of optimism and determination. A former Democratic presidential candidate, Adlai Stevenson, once said of Eleanor Roosevelt, "She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt on Human Rights:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 1948) United Nations.
The Universal Declaration is the primary international articulation of the fundamental and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. It represents the first comprehensive agreement among nations as to the specific rights and freedoms of all human beings. The Declaration has become a cornerstone of customary international law, binding all governments to its principles.
Human Rights and Human Freedom: An American View (1946) Eleanor Roosevelt
As a member of the United States delegation to the United Nations General Assembly, Mrs. Roosevelt debates Andrei Vishinsky, chief Soviet delegate, over the proposed amendment that no propaganda should be permitted in refugee camps against the interests of the United Nations or its members. The success of her argument, based on the idea that such an amendment would violate human rights by restricting freedom of speech and expression, strengthened Mrs. Roosevelt's position as a leading voice in the international defense of human rights.
The Promise of Human Rights (April 1948) Eleanor Roosevelt.
This article, from the journal Foreign Affairs, provides a brief history of the Commission on Human Rights and its efforts to write a draft international Bill of Human Rights, including a Declaration and a Convention. Mrs. Roosevelt discusses both documents, including the articles she thinks are of vital importance, and her views on the Commission's work in general.
Making Human Rights Come Alive (1949) Eleanor Roosevelt.
This speech to the Second National Conference on UNESCO reflects on the Universal Declaration and the problems that had to be overcome in writing a truly international document. Mrs. Roosevelt cites the difficulties in searching for appropriate wording and precedents in law and especially in bridging the gaps between cultures.
Statement on Draft Covenant on Human Rights (1951) Eleanor Roosevelt.
The American delegation proposes that the Draft Covenant be divided into two separate documents of equal importance to be considered for adoption simultaneously; one for civil and political rights and the other for economic, social, and cultural rights. Mrs. Roosevelt argues that differences in terms of the time, methods and machinery needed to implement the various provisions make such a division a practical step.
On the Draft Convention on Political Rights of Women (1953) Eleanor Roosevelt.
Discussing the specific articles of the Convention, Mrs. Roosevelt argues that the objectives of the United Nations are not only to encourage equal political rights for women in all countries, but also to ensure that women fully participate in directing the policy making of their governments.
In Your Hands (March 27, 1958) Eleanor Roosevelt.
Presenting a "guide to community action" on the eve of the Universal Declaration's Tenth Anniversary, Mrs. Roosevelt declares that "the destiny of human rights is in the hands of all our citizens in all our communities." She urges people to improve human rights conditions "in small places, close to home" as the first step towards global progress.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From http://www.UDHR.org ...
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."
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,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
* 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.
* 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.
* Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
* No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
* No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
* Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
* All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
* Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
* No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
* Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
* (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
* (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
* No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
* (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
* (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
* (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
* (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
* (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
* (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
* (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
* (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
* (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
* (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
* (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
* 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.
* 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.
* (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
* (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
* (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
* (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
* (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
* Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
* (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
* (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
* (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
* (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
* Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
* (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
* (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
* (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
* (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
* (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
* (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
* (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
* Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
* (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
* (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
* (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
* Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.