The cultural concept of human rights is universal: all human beings, male and female, are born equal with an essential dignity manifested in living freely and responsibly. The universality of human rights is founded on the interdependence of all human beings, so it is historically logical to stress that the principle of human rights belongs neither uniquely to the West, nor the East, but all people everywhere.
A fair account of the history of human rights needs to be acknowledged by those aspiring to have theirs recognized. In 539 BCE, Cyrus the Great issued the first charter of Human Rights and freedoms known to civilization in ancient Persia. This charter was recognized as the first official charter of Human Rights in 1971 by the United Nations and thus, Iran's name was hailed as the first place in history where human rights were recognized and observed in ancient antiquity. The manifesto puts at the forefront issues such as abolition of slavery, freedom of religious beliefs, and establishing peace amongst nations.
Such ideas are still alive and clearly esteemed by all those who believe in human dignity and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in modern times. Human beings are born with an emotional and intellectual capacity to understand what is right and what is wrong. When properly nurtured, the human conscience engenders altruism. In the spirit of universal friendliness let us then acknowledge that regardless of sex, age, race, ethnicity, religion, political and national affiliation, language, cultural traditions, beliefs, interior thoughts and feelings, economic practices, wealth, personal appearance (height, weight, body shape, skin color, hairstyle, and so forth), birthplace, and same-sex or other-sex orientation we all have the right to live in freedom and safety.
As social beings, it is incumbent on us to create and sustain legislative and judicial institutions that will protect our rights. We thus acknowledge that our laws, those written for minors and those written for persons who have reached their legal majority, apply equally to each and all. We all have the right to equal protection under the laws that we create: no one shall be arrested without sufficient legal cause, each and all have the right to a fair, speedy, and public trial wherein it is understood that each and all are innocent until proven guilty. Therefore no one shall be incarcerated or exiled without just cause and due process of the law. Enslavement and torture are absolutely prohibited.
We have the right to travel freely throughout the world, respectfully crossing international boundaries without persecution from individuals or collective bodies in other countries.
Moreover, we have the right to privacy in our homes and our government should protect us from any inappropriate or illegal behavior that infringe on this privacy. Each and every consenting adult has the right to marry or not and the right to make a responsible choice to have children or not have them, with governmental protection of such personal rights.
In a social framework of mutual cooperation, educational institutions should of course, fulfill their fundamental purpose of preparing each student to work respectably, and also be designed to promote tolerance, open-mindedness, and peaceful relations among all people. Education should ensure that all individuals grow up knowing their rights. Educational facilities should be affordable and accessible to all. The concept of education should extend beyond the limits of academia so that those who so desire can share in their community’s arts, sciences, and politics.
Men and women, in pursuing their livelihoods, have the right to humane working conditions, including working hours not unduly long, and with pay sufficient for living in reasonable comfort and dignity. Working men and women have the right to organize in order to express their concerns and grievances.
Each adult citizen has the right to vote and the responsibility to cast an informed vote. Each vote is equal. Governing bodies and leaders should be voted for regularly.
Each person has the right to express his or her views and beliefs freely and the responsibility never to engage in bigoted or slanderous speech.
Each person has the right to have possessions and to own property and the responsibility to use those possessions and that property in a manner that sustains our earth.
Each individual must respect the social framework and institutions that are necessary for these rights to be available. This respect includes intelligently evaluating the said framework and institutions so that they evolve and flourish. And each person must respect the individual and collective rights of others and seek always to uphold, and never to harm, those rights.
Now, more than ever, it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to bring the culture of human rights into our lives, our homes, and our daily relationships with all our friends and neighbors—always perceiving that those friends and neighbors span the globe. This culture of human rights and responsibilities should be cherished as a way of life
12Petals Media Group (www.12petals.org) strives to be a union of creators and social entrepreneurs of media and visual arts working together to promote and encourage respect for those rights protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and endeavors to enhance the Declaration's impact on all people and cultures. Our media projects offer unique and socially penetrating ways to view the world around us.
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