Declaration of Human Rights - 10 Things You Didn't Know

John M. Dabbs

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Can you define human rights?

Human rights are the fundamental freedoms belonging to everyone, just because they are human. They are applicable regardless of race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin. Human Rights apply to everyone, no matter where they are from or how they live their lives.

These rights are irrevocable, even though sometimes governments can restrict them- such as during war, or breaking the law. These rights are freedoms based on social values — fairness, equality, respect, and independence. Some societies have gone beyond the unwritten cultural norms and actually adopted laws formalizing human rights within their society.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

At the end of World War II, the United Nations — Universal Declaration of Human Rights was established. This 1948 document outlined many human rights in an effort to identify and protect every human being’s basic rights. After the horrors of the holocaust and Second World War, they wrote a document with the sole purpose of outlining and protecting every single human being’s basic rights. It was adopted on December 10th, 1948.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) identified 30 rights and freedoms, including the right to asylum, free speech, education, and the right to be free from torture. These rights have been identified as universal truths that can not be taken from us by people or governments.

After 70 years, these rights continue to form the basis for all international human rights laws. Amnesty International works closely around the world to promote and protect the UDHR and identify abuses where authorities must be held accountable.

Here are ten facts you probably didn't know:

1. The United Nations declared internet access a basic human right in 2011.

This would not seem the case in many 3rd or even 2nd world countries. In many rural areas of the United States, there isn't cellular or internet access. In some areas, people are required to live off the grid, because there simply isn't one where they choose to live.

2. King Cyrus the Great freed slaves, promoted religious choice and equity to all races.

This concept of human rights was established in what is now Iraq over 2,500 years ago. Many of us do not realize how modern Iraq had been prior to the recent wars involving the United States. The land now known as Iraq has been called the Cradle of Civilization. The ancient Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians all developed great empires in the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

3. The UDHR identifies the right to leisure and paid holidays.

There are many people in the United States who have don't have paid vacation, sick time, or paid holidays of any type. These do not apparently apply to part-time or contract employees in the U.S. either.

4. There are over 300,000 children working as soldiers around the world.

These children are under the age of eighteen and exploited as soldiers for their governments or tribes as the lack of adults to fill the roles is inadequate. (Amnesty International)

5. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most translated document in the world.

It is available in languages. Most people guess the most translated would have thought it to be the Holy Bible.

6. The death penalty has been abolished in 106 countries.

The practice of death sentences has been abolished in 142 countries. The United States is not among them.

7. At least 11 countries legally recognize three or more genders.

Nepal is one of at least five countries where your gender can now appear as “other” on official documentation.

8. The Netherlands is reportedly the country most concerned with human rights

In the Netherlands, human rights are laid down in their Constitution. These rights are also referred to as fundamental rights. Article 1 of their Constitution, says that everyone in the Netherlands must be treated equally in equal circumstances. Article 1 is elaborated on in the Equal Treatment Act.

9. 21 million people around the world are victims of forced labor.

At any given time an estimated 40 million people are in modern slavery, including 25 million in forced labor and over 15 million in forced marriage. It means there are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world. (2016 figures - International Labor Association)

One out of every four victims is a child. Of the 25 million people trapped in forced labor, nearly two-thirds are exploited in private sector domestic work, construction, or agriculture. Just under five million people are forced into sexual exploitation, and another 4 million are in forced labor imposed by governments.

Women and girls are disproportionately impacted, accounting for 99% of the commercial sex industry, and 58% in others.

10. The 2019 ranking of the 25 Best Countries - supporting human rights

The United States was ranked 19th, in a U.S. News & World Report study.

Wow. It really makes you think, doesn't it.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Johnson City, TN
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