Cuban activists say they were beaten on eve of 60th human rights anniversary
BBC News: World Marks UN Human Rights Day
Human rights violations in our own backyard
Mary Robinson: Climate change is an issue of human rights
Human Rights Day 2008 [Real Player, [pdf]
United Nations Audio Library: Radio Classics [iTunes]
This Wednesday marked the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A number of groups around the world, including the United Nations and Amnesty International, used the observation of this event to bring attention to some of the continued human rights challenges and abuses around the world. Of course, sixty years ago, just getting the Declaration approved by the new U.N. General Assembly was quite a challenge, as individual countries had their own separate ideas about what constituted human rights. As Larry Cox, the director of Amnesty International USA, points out: "It was no longer a question of individual states doing whatever they want to for their citizens, because the way that governments treat their citizens affects the whole word and especially the peace and security of the whole world." Also this week, a number of commentators, such as Mary Robinson, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights remarked that global climate change may be the next frontier in terms of thinking about human rights, especially in regards to the world's poor.
The first link will lead visitors to a piece from the Voice of America News which talks about the legacy and future of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The second link leads to a piece from this Thursday's Christian Science Monitor which comments on a group of Cuban activists who said they were beaten while readying for a rally related to the anniversary of the Declaration. The third link will lead visitors to an excellent site created by the BBC to commemorate this event. The site includes a news article, an interactive slideshow, and a general Q&A section about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moving on, the fourth link leads to an editorial by Sumayyah Waheed on the state of California's prison youth system, which appeared in Wednesday's San Francisco Chronicle. The fifth link will whisk users away to an impassioned piece by Mary Robinson about the relationship between climate change and human rights. The sixth link leads to the official United Nations homepage on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Here, visitors can read the text of the Declaration in hundreds of different languages, watch short video presentations, and take a look through the "World Voices" project. Finally, the last link leads to a fascinating collection of audio documentaries produced by the United Nations over the past sixty years. While visitors do have to register to listen in, the range of voices is quite accomplished. The archive includes Edward Murrow talking about needy children in a post-WWII Europe, Helen Hayes narrating reports on the Korean War, and the unbeatable troika of Michael Redgrave, James Mason, and Orson Welles narrating the history of diplomacy.