All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Today is Human Rights Day.
64 years ago, a drafting committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt finalized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that took two years to write and rewrite.
The drafting committee was chosen from eight countries representing the World body including Committee Rapporteur, a Lebanese Arab scholar from my birth region of Al Koura in North Lebanon-Dr. Charles Malik. Since the turbulent time following the destructive Second World War and the resolve of nations to protect human beings and their human dignity, an Arab was at the table taking part in crafting what was to become the most important universal declaration of our times.
The declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly who were meeting in Paris on December 10th 1948.
One of the drafting committee members, the Chilean Hernán Santa Cruz wrote:
“I perceived clearly that I was participating in a truly significant historic event in which a consensus had been reached as to the supreme value of the human person, a value that did not originate in the decision of a worldly power, but rather in the fact of existing—which gave rise to the inalienable right to live free from want and oppression and to fully develop one’s personality. In the Great Hall…there was an atmosphere of genuine solidarity and brotherhood among men and women from all latitudes, the like of which I have not seen again in any international setting.”
If you don’t have time to read anything at all, at least read the text of the declaration. Once. It concerns you, it was written by these great thinkers more than six decades ago precisely for you, and I, and every human chancing to live on our planet. Each of us should read it, discuss it, reflect upon it, and aspire to live by it. It is our charter, our very own road map to a dignified, free, full life where no one could rob us of our right to live, to think, to feel, to be safe, to reproduce and to be who we were meant to be to the best of our ability.
What you and I and people around the world need more than the oxygen we breathe is a recognition of our value as humans, and to be given a chance to hope, to dream, to be inspired, to create, to be productive, and to do all of that freely.
The link to the declaration is below. If you do nothing else today, just give it a glance. I bet you’re a bit curious about what all the fuss is about. All the fuss is about you and I.