Friday, 26 June 2015

Key clauses in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the mother of all human rights, was signed by almost all the nations in the world and emerged from the Second World War. There were a few exceptions, like Saudi Arabia and communist Soviet Union who would not sign.  Key clauses relating to asylum, migration, religion, family and duties are:

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.
One does not have any automatic human right to live or work in another country - unless there is some agreement in place, such as in the EU states (at present).  If a national agreement is not in place, one still has the right, in Article 14 below, "to seek and to enjoy asylum from persecution", but not a right to go and live and work there to enjoy a better life. However, where and how, does one expect people to exercise the rights expressed in Article 14?

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 14 is the right to escape from religious, or other persecution. You can see how the definition of persecution could become a legal minefield, particularly in the light of these articles below.  

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 18 is our defence against the tyranny of dominant worldviews. This means that Christians have the right to think as they do (without suffering for it) and to hold moral views with which others may not agree, also to observe their faith and teach in public.  

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 19 is the defence against Big Brother. One notices the right covers receiving and imparting information through any media, regardless of frontiers.  This Article almost foresees the invention of the internet.

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.
Nations cannot wilfully leave their citizens with no income, and particularly not children.

Article 29

There is the largely unknown Article 29 about our duties and respecting the rights and freedoms of others, while meeting the requirements of morality, public order and general welfare of society:
  • (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.
There is also a statement, in Article 16, that the family is the fundamental unit of society: 

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment