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Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”


Whereas 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,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any 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.

Source: UN

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Michael Moore: Open Letter to Caroline Kennedy

Dear Caroline,

We’ve never met, so I hope you don’t find this letter too presumptuous or inappropriate. As its contents involve the public’s business, I am sending this to you via the public on the Internet. I knew your brother John. He was a great guy, and I know he would’ve had a ball during this thrilling and historic election year. We all miss him dearly.

Barack Obama selected you to head up his search for a vice presidential candidate. It appears we may be just days (hours?) away from learning who that choice will be.

The media is reporting that Senator Obama has narrowed his alternatives to three men: Joe Biden, Evan Bayh and Tim Kaine. They’re all decent fellows, but they are far from the core of what the Obama campaign has been about: Change. Real change. Out with the old. And don’t invade countries that pose no threat to us.

Senators Biden and Bayh voted for that invasion and that war, the war Barack ran against, the war Barack reminded us was the big difference between him and Senator Clinton because she voted for the war and he spoke out against it while running for Senate (a brave and bold thing to do back in 2002).

For Obama to place either of these senators on the ticket would be a huge blow to the millions that chose him in the primaries over Hillary. He will undercut one of the strongest advantages he has over the Hundred-Year War senator, Mr. McCain. By anointing a VP who did what McCain did in throwing us into this war, Mr. Obama will lose the moral high ground in the debates.

As for Governor Kaine of Virginia, his big problem is, well, Obama’s big problem — who is he? The toughest thing Barack has had to overcome — and it will continue to be his biggest obstacle — is that too many of the voters simply don’t know him well enough to vote for him. The fact that Obama is new to the scene is both one of his most attractive qualities AND his biggest drawback. Too many Americans, who on the surface seem to like Barack Obama, just don’t feel comfortable voting for someone who hasn’t been on the national scene very long. It’s a comfort level thing, and it may be just what keeps Obama from winning in November (“I’d rather vote for the devil I know than the devil I don’t know”).

What Obama needs is a vice presidential candidate who is NOT a professional politician, but someone who is well-known and beloved by people across the political spectrum; someone who, like Obama, spoke out against the war; someone who has a good and generous heart, who will be cheered by the rest of the world; someone whom we’ve known and loved and admired all our lives and who has dedicated her life to public service and to the greater good for all.

That person, Caroline, is you.

I cannot think of a more winning ticket than one that reads: “OBAMA-KENNEDY.”

Caroline, I know that nominating yourself is the furthest idea from your mind and not consistent with who you are, but there would be some poetic justice to such an action. Just think, eight years after the last head of a vice presidential search team looked far and wide for a VP — and then picked himself (a move topped only by his hubris to then lead the country to near ruin while in office) — along comes Caroline Kennedy to return the favor with far different results, a vice president who helps restore America to its goodness and greatness.

Caroline, you are one of the most beloved and respected women in this country, and you have been so admired throughout your life. You chose a life outside of politics, to work for charities and schools, to write and lecture, to raise a wonderful family. But you did not choose to lead a private life. You have traveled the world and met with its leaders, giving you much experience on the world stage, a stage you have been on since you were a little girl.

The nation has, remarkably (considering our fascination with celebrity), left you alone and let you live your life in peace. (It’s like, long ago, we all collectively agreed that, with her father tragically gone, a man who died because he wanted to serve his country, we would look out for her, we would wish for her to be happy and well, and we would have her back. But we would let her be.)

Now, I am breaking this unwritten code and asking you to come forward and help us in our hour of need. So many families are hurting, losing their homes, going bankrupt with health care bills, seeing their public schools in shambles and living with this war without end. This is a historic year for women, from Hillary’s candidacy to the numerous women running for the House and Senate. This is the year that a woman should be on the Democratic ticket. This is the year that both names on that ticket should be people OUTSIDE the party machine. This is the year millions of independents and, yes, millions of Republicans are looking for something new and fresh and bold (and you are the Kennedy Republicans would vote for!).

This is the moment, Caroline. Seize it! And Barack, if you’re reading this, you probably know that she is far too humble and decent to nominate herself. So step up and surprise us again. Step up and be different than every politician we have witnessed in our lifetime. Keep the passion burning amongst the young people and others who have been energized by your unexpected, unpredicted, against-all-odds candidacy that has ignited and inspired a nation. Do it for all those reasons. Make Caroline Kennedy your VP. “Obama-Kennedy.” Wow, does that sound so cool.

Caroline, thanks for letting me intrude on your life. How wonderful it will be to have a vice president who will respect the Constitution, who will support (instead of control) her president, who will never let her staff out a CIA agent, and who will never tell her country that she is “currently residing in an undisclosed location.”

Say it one more time: “OBAMA-KENNEDY.” A move like that might send a message to the country that the Democrats would actually like to win an election for once.

Michael Moore

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Luis Hernández Navarro: Doris Lessing, la habitante del mundo de los libros

Desde siempre amiga de los sueños, llenos de información y advertencias, Doris Lessing necesita dormir y soñar para volver a ser ella misma. Y para soñar despierta, recurre a la lectura.

Autodidacta, prófuga de la escuela desde los 13 años, lectora voraz, niñera y operadora telefónica, la ganadora del más reciente Premio Nobel de Literatura supo, desde temprana juventud, que sería escritora. El mundo de los libros es el lugar del que forma parte desde muy joven.

Lessing es, más allá de su talento, una talachera de la pluma, una mujer capaz de sentarse a trabajar cada día durante horas. ¿Por qué escribe? Confiesa no saberlo. Pero su pasión es narrar historias. También su necesidad. Si no lo hace la asalta el mal humor. Las escribe desde los 12 años.

La escritura le ha proporcionado la posibilidad de ganar su libertad. “Fui capaz de ser más libre que la mayoría porque soy una escritora –cuenta en Dentro de mí, el primer tomo de su autobiografía– con la estructura sicológica de una escritora, que se coloca a distancia de lo que está escribiendo.”

La literatura, dijo el recientemente fallecido filósofo Richard Rorty, es más útil que la filosofía para lograr que los hombres sean felices. “Hay formas de sufrimiento humano –afirma– que la literatura puede hacer vívidas de una forma que la filosofía no puede. Leer literatura que, vívidamente, describe la crueldad y el sufrimiento experimentado en partes remotas del mundo, ayuda a apreciar la necesidad de la existencia de instituciones globales….”

La obra de Doris Lessing confirma la convicción de Rorty. Forjadora de nuevos lenguajes, no son pocos sus trabajos que reproducen habitadamente el Zeitgeist, el espíritu de su tiempo. En ellas se desmenuzan las actitudes intelectuales y emocionales de una época, las relaciones que la gente establece entre sí. A través de sus páginas se comprende la naturaleza de la relación colonial existente en el sur de África mucho mejor que en multitud de tratados políticos. Sus textos son una radiografía de las emociones humanas, un descarnado mapa del amor occidental en las últimas cinco décadas.

La auténtica vida del escritor –asegura la galardonada– sólo pueden entenderla otro escritor y unas cuantas personas más. Antes eran los editores. Ahora ya no. “Actualmente –escribe en Un paseo por la sombra, segunda parte de su autobiografía– los escritores somos mercancías, como los libros que escribimos.” Ningún escritor hoy en día –señala en Dentro de mí– puede escribir y ser independiente, “porque nuestra personalidad, nuestra historia, nuestra vida, pertenecen a la maquinaria de la publicidad.”

Muy joven abandona la religión y se vuelve atea. “Yo era heredera de todas las virtudes de la Ilustración –aunque entonces no lo supiera– pero, igual que lo hubiera sabido, empecé a despreciar sin mala conciencia a la gente religiosa por debilidad y cobardía moral”, escribe en Dentro de mí.

Años después se convierte en lectora de las distintas tradiciones del budismo y de los diferentes aspectos del hinduismo –del cual le atraía su politeísmo y su heteromorfismo. Sin embargo, como no era india, sale de todas esas lecturas por la misma puerta por la que había entrado, pero con una conclusión: la necesidad de contar con un maestro, pues sin él no hay guía. Descubre la existencia de un mundo espiritual, parte del misticismo sufí, corriente que ha vivido como su preocupación principal.

Militante comunista en su juventud, llega al socialismo por la literatura, las clases nocturnas y las aventuras íntimas con los libros. Se enrola en el movimiento en Rhodesia del Sur en 1942 porque, por primera vez en su vida, conoce a un grupo de personas que lo leían todo, y a los que leer no les parece nada raro. En 1951, ya en Londres, entra al Partido Comunista.

Su enamoramiento con esta fuerza política llega a su fin en 1954, y termina definitiva y virulentamente a principios de los años 60. Veinte años le toma no sentirse culpable de sus antiguas lealtades. Su ruptura fue acompañada de una vigorosa crítica a esta doctrina. Ahora ya no cree en “sueños perfectos y maravillosos”.

La publicación en 1962 de El cuaderno dorado la convierte en referencia del feminismo. Aunque varias amigas la critican por “revelar nuestros secretos”, la obra rápidamente se convierte en una “Biblia del Movimiento de la Mujer”.

La elaboración del libro transforma a Lessing: “Me hizo cambiar. Escribiendo aquella novela se transformó mi manera de pensar mucho más fundamentalmente que pensando (…) Causa un efecto extraño cambiar la manera de pensar, o mejor dicho, que cambiar la manera de pensar lo cambie a uno.”

Sin embargo, a pesar de ello y de la enorme libertad con la que vive su vida, la escritora es crítica del feminismo. Piensa que el movimiento la describe con opiniones que jamás en su vida ha mantenido. En un balance de este movimiento declara que “después de hacer una revolución, muchas mujeres se descarrilaron, no entendieron nada. Por dogmatismo. Por falta de análisis histórico. Por renuncia al pensamiento. Por una carencia dramática de humor”.

“No es que sea antifeminista –le cuenta a la periodista Juana Libedinsky–, es que creo que las feministas tienen los objetivos equivocados. La revolución sexual de la década del 60 está muy bien. ¡Pero pienso que las mujeres también podrían haber luchado por el mismo pago cuando cumplen el mismo trabajo que los hombres, por buenas guarderías y demás! Aun en la época victoriana, las mujeres salían a marchar y conseguían cosas concretas, como cambiar las leyes sobre la propiedad en el matrimonio. Hoy nadie hace algo así. El feminismo de los años 60 se disolvió en cháchara inútil.”

A las mujeres, asegura, las liberó la ciencia. La pastilla anticonceptiva puso el destino de las mujeres en su propia mano. La aspiradora las libró de la esclavitud del polvo. La lavarropa les quitó una pesada carga de encima.

Su vida es un ejemplo de lucidez, libertad y constancia en el trabajo. Nacida en 1919, a los 87 años de edad Doris Lessing sigue escribiendo.

* http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2007/10/16/index.php?section=opinion&article=019a1pol

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