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by Antonella Antonecchia
Wednesday, Apr. 07, 2010 at 4:28 PM
How important are human rights? Long before the phrase “human rights’ came into existence, men and women fought and died for basic human freedoms. In fact, this struggle has lasted thousands of years and still continues today.
Ultimately, human rights are the basis of everything people cherish about their way of life. In their absence, lasting happiness is impossible, because there is no personal security, no freedom and no opportunity. Thus, all peoples have long recognized their fundamental importance and have sought to articulate and defend them.
Yet it took a world war and the deaths of millions of people to bring the leading nations together to create a truly universal charter of rights.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the world’s premier human rights instrument. Its opening paragraph is a powerful affirmation of the principles that lie at the heart of the modern human rights system: “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”.
The grim reality, however, is that in virtually every country of Earth, some portion of the population is a victim of torture, human trafficking, starvation, injustice, discrimination or other human rights abuses. The message of human rights should be clear, but these nations are not listening.
Why? Because no one is making them. And that goes back to the real problem – most people are largely unaware of the Declaration of Human Rights and the 30 rights it contains. Consequently, a wide gap exists between the articulation of the Declaration’s goals and their accomplishment. Millions are not free. Justice is often inequitable. And peace continues to elude many regions of the world. Bridging the enormous gulf between the ideal of universal human rights and the reality of widespread human rights violations is the challenge.
Who will face this challenge and make sure human rights are respected?
The answer to that question begins with education, because only when people know their rights and freedoms can they insist on their use and application for themselves and for others. These principles, once understood, can become a beacon to guide people toward successful coexistence and cooperation.
Youth for Human Rights Florida is a secular, non-profit organization with the mission to educate people of all ages about their rights. The uniqueness of the program lies in the educational materials created in collaboration with the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International. Its founder L. Ron Hubbard in fact stated: “Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream”. Designed to present the subject of human rights in multimedia formats suitable for all ages, the materials include “The Story of Human Rights,” a documentary video that illustrates the history of human rights through the ages; booklets; public service announcements that educate youth and adults on the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and teaching aids that include a study guide, activities manual and educator's classroom kit. For more information about the 30 human rights go to: www.youthforhumanrights.org
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