Today marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have often mentioned this document on this blog, notably here and here. I strongly recommend anyone who hasn’t yet done so, to read it now.
Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights that drafted the document. A quote from her is on this blog’s front page:
It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.
The creation of this great document shows how Roosevelt practiced what she preached. One thing that stands out in the document, is the explicit mention of economic rights, in addition to political and civil ones. As the article above mentions, this was added at the insistence of the Soviet block. Roosevelt put aside cold war considerations and got the US delegation to agree to this important addition.
The connection between human rights and peace is mentioned in the very first paragraph:
…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…
I hope President Obama takes the time to reread this document and commit his government to the fulfillment of the lofty aspirations it expresses.