American Views Abroad

Friday, December 05, 2008
Sixty years ago this month, without a single dissenting voice, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Eleanor Roosevelt was instrumental in ensuring its passage. Here are her words:

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home --- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet, they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.

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