As Declaration Of Human Rights Approaches 60, ACLU Announces New Campaign And Contest

October 6, 2008 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – In anticipation of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the American Civil Liberties Union today announced the launch of "Dignity Begins at Home," a new campaign to celebrate the document that is the cornerstone of the modern human rights system. Despite the United States' involvement in drafting the UDHR and supposed support of the document, it has failed to honor its commitments under the UDHR, especially within U.S. borders.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the first document to recognize the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all people in the world," said Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program. "If the United States wishes to claim the high moral ground and assert leadership on the issue of human rights, it can't just talk the talk; it must also walk the walk and take its human rights commitments more seriously at home and abroad."

As part of the "Dignity Begins at Home" campaign, the ACLU has launched a new website, The website contains information about the UDHR and a petition calling on the U.S. government and the next president to recommit to the Declaration.

In addition, the ACLU is holding a video contest for youth. Contestants between the ages of 16 and 23 years old are asked to submit an original short video about an article in the UDHR. The winner will be flown to New York City to attend the U.N. General Assembly session celebrating the anniversary on December 10, 2008. The winning video will be featured on YouTube and

"Our goal is to ensure that the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are recognized and enforced in the United States," said Dakwar. "The struggle for universal human rights is far from over, and the next administration can lead by example by renewing the U.S. commitment to dignity for all here at home."

Adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, the UDHR details the basic rights and protections guaranteed to all people, regardless of "race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status." The UDHR was drafted in the aftermath of World War II in reaction to the mass targeting and killing of people because of their race, religion, sexuality and opinions. Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which drafted the declaration.

More information about the "Dignity Begins at Home" campaign, including the ACLU's video contest and a history of the UDHR, can be found online at:

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