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  5. Owning UDHR

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FOCUS December 2023 Volume 114

Owning UDHR


Two words in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are worth emphasizing: "all peoples." The declaration is meant to be a "common standard of achievement for all peoples."

It is highly possible that many "peoples" have been working hard to achieve the goals of the declaration without knowing the document. They faced barriers, some deliberately laid before them, to deprive them of their rights or the rights of others they assist.

Having this common standard not only in promoting human rights but also in protecting and realizing them requires a sense of ownership of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration has to be recognized by "all peoples" on their own initiative and to their own satisfaction.

This echoes what Eleanor Roosevelt once said, human rights must have meaning in "small places" where "peoples" enjoy their rights, or suffer from their violation and abuse.

The 75th anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or any celebration of the declaration for that matter, is best appreciated when undertaken in "small places" of the "peoples."