Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Human Rights Day - If not now, WHEN?

Today, December 10th, is the 60th annual celebration, across the globe, of Human Rights Day. This commemoration honors the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. It was the first global effort to proclaim the rights of all human beings. There are 30 articles in the document proclaiming such rights as the right to life and liberty, freedom of expression, equality before the law; and social, cultural and economic rights. Other more fundamental rights include the right to food, the right to work, and the right to education.

The Grameen Foundation is an organization that provides small loans, savings, and other financial services to poor people to help them launch businesses. According to Sarah Campbell of the Grameen Foundation:

  • One billion people live on less than $1 a day
  • One-in-five people live without adequate water or food
  • 26,000 children die each day from preventable causes

Though the U.N. outlined human rights adequately in 1948, our inability to provide even the basics a half a century later is painfully obvious.

“Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is. By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime....Poverty eradication is an achievable goal.”
—UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, 10 December 2006

At this time of year we need to turn our sights outward, to the world, and rather than focus our attention on our diminished 401 (K)s, resolve to help promote the rights of everyone. Why not begin TODAY? What do you think?

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