The Power of a Declaration
Making human rights real.
Amartya Sen, The New Republic Published: Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Nineteen forty-eight may have begun as an unsettling year, with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in January, but it ended on a positive note, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December. There was a reasoned vision of lasting importance underlying the declaration; it was momentous in its time, and it remains important today. Invoking human rights has become a major way of challenging inequities and oppression in the contemporary world, and in this development the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the fledgling United Nations sixty years ago, swayed not least by the leadership of Eleanor Roosevelt, has played an indisputably significant and astonishingly constructive role.
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