Saturday, February 23, 2008

91; Universal Rights

Hypothesis: All people are different, but equal.

To clarify, we must acknowledge the diversity of the human population and individuality of its members, while affirming an equality of rights for all.

The UN has come up with 30 rights "as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations" known as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Thirty rights are a lot to remember, though. So I thought I may try and consolidate, a la Carlin, the number of rights into a manageable number. Here goes.

One and Two read: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms 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." I think saying 'all beings' covers all the other predicates, doesn't it? Basically the second article is just a redundancy. We can par down these articles to saying 'all people are free and equal.' This brings us to numbers three and four:

"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and No one shall be held in slavery or servitude." But surely 'liberty' discludes any form of slavery? So we can ax the fourth article, and for that matter the fifth "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", since torture is clearly in violation of 'security of person'.

Article six reads: Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. Article seven: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. So far as I can tell these are basically saying the same thing, namely 'All people are equal, (which automatically excludes the notion of discrimination) before the law.'

Article eight's statement, "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" and nine: "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile" just reiterate this same concern, and further that no one will be arbitrarily arrested, which is already covered by the right to liberty earlier noted. Ten: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal. But this is not so distinct from number eight, which we agreed is covered by number six.

Eleven is that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and so we can sum up articles 6-11 with 'All peple are equal before the laws which will assume thier innocence.'

Twelve: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation, and Thirteen that all persons have freedom of movement. Fourteen asserts: "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution." Certainly these are all instances of encroachment of liberty, already secured.

Fifteen is odd: Everyone has the right to a nationality. Sixteen: 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. I think we can combine these into saying that you have a right to have a home, since a home implies family and location. Seventeen adds to this with the right to property.

Eighteen is freedom of religion, nineteen covers expression, and twenty peaceful assembly. Twenty-one: Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. To consolidate: 'All persons are allowed to think what they want, with whoever they want, worship whatever they want, and vote.'
Twenty-two is pure repitition: Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security. This is just an amalgamation of security and the political liberty already described.

Twenty-three is the right to work, and twenty-four is the right to limits on work, which can be summed up as 'All people have the right to work a reasonable ammount.' Twenty-five covers the right to a healthy standard of living. Twenty-six, the right to education. Twenty-seven, "the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community". I think this last one sums them up nicely, so we can say 'All people can get an education and have a good standard of living.' The right to partake in one's culture is already covered under 'social security'.

Finally the last three state a right to have these articles enforced, that all states should implement these articles, and that persons are free to develop thier personality, which I consider an exercise of liberty.

What do we have left, then, of the above thirty?

'All people are free and equal,' Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person,' 'All people are equal before the laws which will assume thier innocence,' 'Everyone has the right to a home,' 'All persons are allowed to think what they want, with whoever they want, worship whatever they want, and vote,' and 'All people can get an education and have a good standard of living'. I sum these up in the following statement:

All people are free, and can use that freedom to better themselves in a society which grants them their liberty and societal rights before the law.

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