Realizing that there is no hierarchical body of Humanists that can and would speak for the society of Humanists, let me ask each individual reader: As a Humanist, what are your views on Human Rights? Specifically, what are your beliefs in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was presented largely through the efforts of Eleanor Roosevelt through the new United Nations in 1948.
Just as most “religionists” who insist on posting the 10 Commandments don’t know that most of the Commandments deal with man’s actions with a god rather than other men, most Americans, and I would venture to say even most Humanists, do not know specifically what is included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). (UDHR at Wikipedia) The Declaration, as a declaration of the fundamental and inalienable rights of all members of the human family, was approved by the UN General Assembly. The UN Commission was also tasked with drafting a legally binding international treaty on human rights and with creating effective means for implementing these.
For political reasons, the 30 Articles were set up as two Covenants: The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and The Covenant on Economical, Social, and Cultural Rights. The Soviet Union ratified the Economical/Social/Cultural Covenant but refused to ratify the Civil/Political Covenant. The United States ratified the Civil/Political Rights but has not yet ratified the Economical/Social/Cultural Covenant. Jimmy Carter finally signed this Covenant, but Congress has yet to ratify it.
What does the Economical/Social/Cultural part contain that’s Americans are afraid of? Here are some examples:
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: Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
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.
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: 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.
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
Based on these specific Articles, as a Humanist, what do you think the social rights should and should not be as part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?