universal declaration of human rights

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, the UN – Geneva convened a two-day gathering to reaffirm these founding principles and call on governments to place them at the center of policy and action. The event had an important level of participation toward rekindling the spirit, momentum, and essence of human rights. Over 150 countries pledged action, as did many other stakeholders, including youth. 

Executive Director Alison Van Dyk affirms the human rights that are at the core of the work of the Temple of Understanding, where we “strive to call out anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous peoples, anti-women, anti-gay, etc. as aggression towards “the other” which is an impediment towards a peaceful world.”  Her words reflect, in particular, the Preamble, Article 2, Article 18, and Article 26:2 of the Declaration.

Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, offered a press briefing on December 12, 2023, expressing that the declaration of human rights is aspirational, with a history of achievements and lack of implementation. Political leadership must embrace human rights and make them central to policy-making and decisions. We cannot have human rights a la carte: we must honor and uphold all human rights for all people.

Dr. Azza Karam, a new board member of the Temple of Understanding, has called for religions, and therefore interfaith organizations too, to uphold all human rights and, in a recent publication, profoundly asks, “How many ‘religious actors’ actually partner with ‘secular’ civil society organizations to hold institutions of political and financial power equally accountable – if need be, at a cost to their own welfare. In other words, how many stand on principle, irrespective of the cost?”

Now is a time to carry principles into action. 

Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, statement online

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Türk briefs the General Assembly on Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel

Dr. Azza Karam, The Common Good, or Transactional Religion?


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