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Dignity Begins at Home

Nahal Zamani,
Human Rights Program
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December 4, 2008

Next Wednesday, December 10, marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR, arguably the founding document of the modern human rights system, outlines the basic rights and protections that are to be enjoyed by all people.

The UDHR, a covenant crafted in dangerous times, rejected the temptation to tyranny in favor of a regime of inalienable human dignity. The United States played a pivotal role in the creation of this document, yet has shied away from applying the principles of the UDHR at home. Today, human rights are often thought of as something to be monitored in other nations, while we neglect to pay enough attention to the human rights of people here at home. As we face our own uncertain times, we need to ensure no new limits are imposed on our fundamental human rights—as they have been under the current administration. A recommitment by the U.S. to the principles and ideals of the UDHR is essential to protecting these precious rights.

In the next week, you will see blog posts by ACLU staffers as they consider the importance of this pivotal document and what it means to the work they do on a wide range of civil liberties issues. And on December 10, our efforts will culminate in the online launch of an exclusive publication about the importance of the UDHR.

60 years ago today, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights laid the cornerstone for what was to become the modern human rights movement. Please join us in commemorating this critical moment in history.

Read the UDHR and share it with your friends, family and community. Celebrate the anniversary around the country, by joining in UDHR events. Sign the ACLU’s petition calling on the government and newly elected president to recommit to the UDHR.

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