The Universal Declaration of Human Rights– The US Grade

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights


I am exploring rights and to get a list of just what rights we all have. Also, to show where we fall short here.

Remember that Eleanor Roosevelt (former First Lady with FDR) was one of a small group that drafted this document, when she was the US Ambassador to the United Nations.

My intent was to concentrate on employment but the USA PATRIOT Act has violated a number of these rights.

In my mind, the ends never justify the means.

We like to say and think we have freedoms and sometimes complain about some other countries that do not have these freedoms, yet we do not truly have them in the USA.


Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Let me start by saying I agree that we should have most of these, if not all of these.

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
[I make a distinction here between life and living. We have a right (and rights are absolutes) to live. Our life will end no matter what we do, so life is not an absolute. You do have a right to try to live but not a right to life. Right to privacy? Security of person cannot be secure when under surveillance.]

Violation number 1.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

[Execution is cruel in all of its forms. I feel that the USA falls short here because capital punishment is allowed.]

Violation number 2.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

[Except when it comes to the USA PATRIOT Act. The USA falls short here.]

Violation number 3. Patriot Act violation number 1.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

[The Patriot Act again violates this one too. Assumed terrorists are not equal before the law. Even loyal citizens can be called a terrorist and therefore not treated with equal protection of the law.]

Violation number 4. Patriot Act violation number 2.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

[Again the Patriot Act violates this one. You can be locked up indefinitely and not charged with a crime.]

Violation number 5. Patriot Act violation number 3.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

[You can be defined as a terrorist in arbitrary way. So, the Patriot Act violates this one, too.]

Violation number 6. Patriot Act violation number 4.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

[Again the Patriot Act says you can lock someone up even without charges and not awaiting trial. This is violated too.]

Violation number 7. Patriot Act violation number 5.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. [This is not done by most people in the USA. Whenever someone is arrested they are presumed guilty and are suggesting punishments. The Patriot Act also violates this article.]
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Violation number 8. Patriot Act violation number 6.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. [The PATRIOT Act violates this one, too. Whenever you  arrest someone you have a record, which is a blot on your person, your reputation and honor.]

Violation number 9. Patriot Act violation number 7.

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. [This is subject to being able to pay for it. This is more of a privilege than a right.]
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. [This would preclude kids/people trying to escape drug gangs.]

Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. [To found a family. This means to try to have kids of your own. Gay and Lesbians cannot create their own family—their own kids. So, Gays and Lesbians should not be allowed to marry.]
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural [Key word here is natural. Gays and Lesbians are NOT natural.] and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. [Again this is more of a privilege based on the ability to pay.]
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. [This done with so-called Eminent Domain.]

Violation number 10 based on number 2. Still Patriot Act violation number 7.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. [While this talks mostly about religion, freedom of thought is not allowed under the Patriot Act.]

Violation number 11. Patriot Act violation number 8.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. [Again, the PATRIOT Act violates this one. If you say or write that the POTUS should be killed then you have committed a terrorist act, according to the Act. You have not really but they say you did.]

Violation number 12. Patriot Act violation number 9.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. [This one is regulated by numerous laws therefore is not a right but a privilege.]
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures. [Granted, but it is assumed that the choices given in an election make any difference. But yes we do have this right.]

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. [This is probably Eleanor’s impact as we got it under her husband.]

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, [Assuming the jobs exist. As it is, since we really have very little if any choice then we do not have this right. I have never had a choice. I had to take the first job that came along. Right now I am not doing what I want.] to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. [Protection against unemployment does not necessarily exist, for all of the time you may be out of work.]
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. [It is said that women get only about 80% of the pay of men.]
(3) 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. [A livable wage? This is not true for all.]
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests. [Yes the prevailing thought of the day, even though a lot of companies tried to bust unions. But I guess we still have this right, though of diminished influence.]

Violation number 13. Still Patriot Act violation number 9.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

[Working for a contract company means no paid holidays or vacation accrual. The USA violates this one, by allowing contract agencies. Also, working a compressed workweek means you work on a holiday if you are scheduled to do so. There are those that work holidays even as full time permanent employees.]

Violation number 14. Still Patriot Act violation number 9.

Article 25.

(1) 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, [I have not had unemployment benefits for most of the time I‘ve spent unemployed. Also, livable wage, which I have said does not exist for all.] sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. [Social Security does not accomplish this.]
(2) 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.

Violation number 15. Still Patriot Act violation number 9.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education [Education yes not to learn.]. Education shall be free, [Actually taxes pay for it. It is not free.] at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. [Yes on the basis of merit not race, sex, or any physical trait.]
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality [This is similar to some of the edicts of the Truman report on higher education for democracy.] and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. [Again, only if you have the money to buy these things.]
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized. [You do not mention what should be done to achieve this. The fact we are all free means that there will be disorder. We will have differences and sometimes conflicting agendas. I agree with this in theory but we do not have it.]

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. [Actually the Patriot Act violates this one too. How can we be free when our thoughts are monitored and arrested for our thoughts and writings.]
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law [This presupposes that the law is just.] solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. [This is, I hope, the “My right to swing my fist as I walk ends at your nose.” Meaning I have right to do anything just so long as it does not harm you, as do all of us. I do not believe, however, that this says that government or anyone else can tell us how to live our lives. This, unfortunately, government does all too often.]
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Violation number 16. Patriot Act violation number 10.

Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

[This is a catch-all. Violation of any of the other 29 articles violates this one. So the Patriot Act violates this one too.]

The USA PATRIOT Act violates 11 articles. The USA violates at least 17 articles. A number of the rest of them are suspect.

This is not good especially since the US had a lot do with writing this in the first place. With over ½ of the 30 articles violated I would give the USA a grade of F.


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