- A commonly accepted definition calls human rights basic
freedoms "to which all humans are entitled, often held to include
the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality
before the law."
- The UN said "(o)n Human Rights Day 2011, we pay
tribute to all human rights defenders and ask you to get involved in the
global human rights movement."
- On December 9, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay will host a live online Facebook/Twitter/Weibo (Chinese) global
conversation from 9:30AM - 10:30AM EST to answer questions participants
ask. They're your rights, she says. "Know them, demand them, defend
- December 10 commemorates the day General Assembly members
adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.
- World leaders pledged to "complement the UN Charter
with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere."
- As a result, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
was discussed at the General Assembly's first session in 1946. It submitted
the UNHR to the Economic and Social Council "for reference to the
Commission on Human Rights for consideration....in its preparation of an
international bill of rights."
- Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the UDHR drafting committee.
Seventeen other political, cultural and religious figures joined her. She
perhaps was its driving force.
- In September 1948, its first draft was completed. Over
50 member states participated in its final drafting. On December 10, 1948,
UN Resolution 217 A (III) adopted UNHR. No members dissented. Eight abstained.
Despite emerging Cold War tensions, common ground was found.
- UNHR's 30 articles pledged "to promote respect for
(fundamental human) rights and freedoms....both among the peoples of Member
States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."
- It affirmed life, liberty, security and dignity. Said
no one should be held in bondage or subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment. It scorned arbitrary arrests, detention, exile, and other human
- It said everyone may leave any country and return freely.
It deplored discrimination of any kind. It championed free expression,
assembly, movement, thought, opinion and religion.
- It said everyone has the right to work and receive equal
pay for equal employment. It supported essential rights to healthcare,
food, clothing, housing, and education.
- It said "(n)othing in this Declaration may be interpreted
as implying for the 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."
- World War II atrocities inspired it. The UN Charter's
- "to save succeeding generations from the scourge
- "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights...."
- to assure justice and international law is respected,
- "to promote social progress and better standards
of life in larger freedom...."
- Since founded in 1945, the world body failed dismally
on all counts, despite modest successes in areas of health, education,
food assistance, refugees, and more.
- Hamstrung by America and its imperial partners, international
law was trashed, permanent global wars rage, and human rights and democratic
values became meaningless figures of speech.
- Israel's Deplorable Human Rights Record
- On December 6, a Haaretz editorial headlined, "Human
rights in Israel are in jeopardy," saying:
- "Israel ratified the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights," but never observed them.
- Israel's Knesset commemorates Human Rights Day on December
6. "However, it is hard to say the Knesset members are bound to it
or to its spirit and principles, most of which are reflected in the founding
document of the State of Israel - the Declaration of Independence."
- In its newly released 2011 human and civil rights report,
the Association for Civil Rights in Israel revealed alarming violations.
They include infringements on free expression, assembly, movement, political
activity, and religion.
- They show protests aren't tolerated, women are politically,
economically and social marginalized, discrimination is worse than ever,
social rights are fast eroding, democratic values barely exist, and Occupied
Palestinians face daily state terror.
- "It is hard to believe (Israel) lurk(s) at the threshold
of" destroying a free society entirely.
- In its 2011 human rights report on Israel, Amnesty International
(AI) condemned its systematic violations. Those listed include judicial
unfairness, administrative detentions without charge, besieged Gaza, home
demolitions, illegal settlements, torture and excessive use of force, free
movement, speech and assembly restrictions, collective punishment of an
entire population, and prosecution and imprisonment of refuseniks against
militarism and occupation.
- Daily headlines offer more proof. Past and present IDF
commanders support violence in all forms. So do Netanyahu and dominant
- Israeli Arabs wonder what's next. So do Jews. Many vote
with their feet and leave. Others took steps to follow, and still more
consider going because of deteriorating social conditions, extremist governance,
and constant threats of war.
- Palestinians are especially endangered. Israeli incursions
terrorize communities regularly. Peaceful protests are confronted violently.
Gazans are bombed and invaded. Soldiers shoot children too close to Israel's
border. Others are arrested and imprisoned.
- Torture is official policy. So are targeted assassinations,
illegal settlements, home demolitions, land theft, dispossessions, mass
arrests and imprisonment, state terror, occupation, persecution, and loss
of all rights.
- Jews are at risk like Arabs if they resist. Challenging
state policy leaves no one safe. Police state justice rules. Democracy
is a figure of speech. It's fast disappearing entirely.
- America's Deplorable Human Rights Record
- Notably under Bush and Obama, America's human rights
record is scandalous.
- Perhaps George Bernard had them in mind when he said:
- "Democracy is a form of government that substitutes
election by the incompetent many for the appointment of the corrupt few."
- Obama especially upheld the tradition and then some.
He's done what supporters thought impossible. He's governed to the right
of George Bush domestically and abroad.
- He looted the nation's wealth, wrecked the economy, and
consigned growing millions to impoverishment without jobs, homes, savings,
social services, or futures.
- His weapon of choice is war. He's waging them globally
on humanity and threatening more, perhaps with nuclear weapons. He deployed
Special Forces death squads in over 120 countries.
- He presides over the world's largest gulag. He claims
the right to detain US citizens indefinitely without charge. He believes
democratic values are impediments to world dominance.
- He's heading America rapidly toward tyranny. He continued
the worst Bush policies and added others. He uses repressive homeland police
state tactics against enemies.
- He targets Muslims, Latino immigrants, dissenters, whistleblowers,
social justice/anti-war advocates, and environmental and animal rights
called terrorists. He authorized killing US citizens abroad based on unproved
suspicions of terrorism.
- He spies more aggressively domestically than George Bush.
He's destroying public education and hard won labor rights. He's eroding
Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, public pensions, and living wage
security in decent jobs.
- He supports wealth and power at the expense of growing
needs. He impoverished a third of US households. He's destroying middle
- He trashed constitutional and international laws to reign
terror globally. He made America universally feared and hated. He turned
it into an armed camp. He made it unfit to live in socially, economically
- He's risking global war for wealth, power, and unchallenged
dominance. He created crisis conditions threatening humanity's survival.
He reserved the right to use America's superweapons preemptively to do
it. There's no place to hide or be safe.
- Challenging Rogue State Dominance
- Post-WW II, what human rights supporters envisioned lies
in ruins. OWS supporters say "the only solution is world revolution."
They represent a cross-pollination for a new nation.
- They're grassroots activists for change. They want social
justice replacing today's dysfunctional system. They want government of,
by and for everyone. They know getting it comes bottom up, not top down.
- They understand struggles this vital are too important
to lose. This one's the mother of them all. They know change won't come
easily or quickly.
- They want others joining them for what everyone deserves.
New Hampshire's state motto is "Live free or die." Resisting
tyranny is a universal right. Jefferson called it "obedience to God."
- John Locke said when government fails its people, its
"trust must necessarily be forfeited, and the Power devolve into the
hands of those that gave it, who may place it anew where they shall think
best for their safety and security."
- Henry David Thoreau "Civil Disobedience" essay
- "Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least
degree resign his conscience to the legislator?"
- "The only obligation which I have a right to assume
is to do at any time what I think right."
- "All men recognize the right of revolution; that
is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when
its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable."
- Essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, Martin Luther King, and
others believed unjust governance should be resisted.
- So did Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence,
saying people have a "right" and "duty to throw" them
off, "and to provide new Guards for their future security."
- People have enormous power to use. Saul Alinsky said,
"The only way to beat organized money is with organized people."
- The time is now. Goal one is going for it to assure future
Human Rights Days have meaning.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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