THE MAKING OF CHAMPIONS
Breaking of glass;
Shattering of lives;
The attempt to systematically destroy a people…
And humanity said – “Never Again”
In 1948 the United Nations drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – a set of freedoms and principles to be granted all human beings. This monumental document was intended to act as a guide to every nation of the world in the treatment of its citizens and those who found themselves resident on its shores.
As a document the UDHR is modest in length but its impact and the implications from its attempted implementation have been profound. The concept of human rights has entered the common vernacular and successfully established a discourse that has provided, most ironically, justifications for wars but also, as is the subject of this work, the motivation for actions by individuals which are heroic in proportion to the resistances, hurdles and abuses that blight the history book of human relations.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not without precedence, but it is incomparable in its breadth of relevance and influence but also in its capacity to be manipulated in interpretation. Despite the flourishing of a Human Rights discourse such that the concept is taught in infants schools in many countries, few lay people though familiar with the concept of human rights, would have even a reasonable working knowledge of the content of the UDHR. This exhibition attempts to inform and engage viewers about the UDHR through the presentation of 32 images – portraits representing the Preamble, 30 Articles of the UDHR, and hope for the future.
The exhibition is titled “Champions of Human Rights”. Each portrait is presented with the Article of the UDHR for which the portrait is representative and a narrative as to the rationale for the choice of subject. It is an aim that these art works and the accompanying narrative engage, educate, enlighten and challenge those who take the time to view the Champions of Human Rights. But as the artist and author of this body of work, it is my greatest hope that viewing this exhibition will encourage discussion and motivate actions towards the establishment and maintenance of respectful human relations if only in the personal realm such that the words “Never Again” have meaning beyond hollow rhetoric.
“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 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 cooperation 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 realisation 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 ad among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.”
Anne Frank was only a child when the Nazis came to power in Germany prior to WWII. A lively, intelligent, talented youngster, she was fastidious in her recording of daily life, her thoughts and feelings in her much loved diary. Her story, portrayed in The Diary of Anne Frank, captures the fear, anguish and systematic dehumanization of a people during the Holocaust through the poignant words of an innocent child. The fate of the Frank family was the same as millions of others in that murderous period of history – made all the more horrific by the fact that even children were not spared from the labour camps and gas chambers.
It is estimated the following numbers of people lost their lives during the Holocaust:
Jews 5.93 million
Soviet POWs 2-3 million
Ethnic Poles 1.8-2 million
Jehovah’s Witnesses 2,500-5,000
Spanish Republicans 7,000
These numbers do not contain those who were permanently disabled from their injuries and the treatment they suffered. But what they do indicate is that this pogrom was not confined to ethnic groups, but any who were defined as “not human”.
Unfortunately it is far too easy to exclude others from the category of ‘human being’ as a simple exercise will indicate – please define ‘human being’, and then on the basis of your definition, consider those who may not be included…
The art work – a study of an image from The Anne Frank Trust UK. The photograph is in a series which are the last recorded photographs of Anne and her sister taken prior to the Nazi’s discovery of the family’s hiding place. The work is in mixed media – watercolour and graphite – it purposefully displays the scratch marks of etching which is symbolic of all genocidal acts to “scratch-out” the victims from existence.
“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.”
The purpose of this Article is to address the issues of freedom, equality. As such, its focus is that of the implementation of the Articles of the UDHR and the inherent rights within the forthcoming Articles. As is the case with all of the Articles of the UDHR, the Article itself presents a general principle of action. How those principles are to be implemented are presented in subsequent Conventions and Treaties which member states of the UN sign and thus ratify as agreeing to abide by the requirements set forth in those Conventions and Treaties.
In accordance with a decision by the UN Commission on Human Rights, a committee was formed to draft the UDHR. Eleanor Roosevelt as the first Chair of the UN Commission, also chaired the drafting Committee. That Committee consisted of:
Eleanor Roosevelt (Chair, USA)
Peng-chun Chang (China)
Charles Habib Malik (Lebanon)
William Hodgson (Australia)
Hernan Santa Cruz (Chile)
Rene Cassin (France)
Alexander E. Bogomolov (USSR)
Charles Dukes (Lord Dukeston) (UK)
John Peter Humphrey (Canada)
The drafting of the UDHR came at a time of increased tensions between the East and the West that would burgeon into what became known as the ‘Cold War’. Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with bringing her diplomatic capacities and prestige (as the First Lady of the US during the Presidency of Harry S. Truman) to the relations between the superpowers successfully steering the Committee to the completion of the Drafting process. John Peter Humphrey was given the task of formulating the preliminary draft of the UDHR.
The art work – a study of an image from Getty Images – watercolour paint and pencil.
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the 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.”
Like the Article before it, Article 2 is focussed upon a general principle – and that is the act of non-discrimination which is considered as fundamental to the successful implementation of the UDHR. There are two Conventions – The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination – that in their entirety, address the the fight against discrimination.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women – 189 states ratified or acceded to the Treaty as of May 2015. USA and Palau have signed but not ratified the Treaty; Holy See, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Tonga are non-signatory states. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination – as of 10th January 2016 – 88 Signatories and 177 Parties (Australia Ratified this Convention in 1975). The source of controversy for many states to this Convention is that it requires the outlaw of hate speech and to criminalise membership in racist organisations.
The song Imagine by John Lennon was an expression of the desire for Global Harmony and the ideal that given appropriate social conditions, every individual could reach their full human potential. This goal and sentiment is encompassed within this Article of the UDHR. Given the popularity and influence of this song as measured by international music charts and frequency of choice of performance at international functions (eg. closing of 2012 Summer Olympics; prior to New Years Eve Time Square Ball Drop New York City every year since 2005), this song clearly strikes a significant chord to the emotions and ideals for many – not unlike the UDHR itself. As Lennon’s lyrics say… “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one..” The basic ideal of the UDHR is for people to live a peaceful life that is not just free from war but also the structural violence and suffering that comes from poverty. The eradication of poverty may not be possible in our lifetime, but any progress towards that goal would mean the improvement of life conditions for a great many.
The art work – a study of an image from the New York Daily News. The photograph was the last official photo shoot by John Lennon just days prior to his murder December 5 1980 – graphite pencil
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”
During Committee discussions for drafting the UDHR, Peng-chun Chang (China) proposed a conceptual framework adhering to the 18th Century political philosophy of “Fraternity, Equality and Liberty”. Fraternity and Equality are expressed in Articles 1 and 2 respectively, whilst Article 3 sets forth the basic principle of Liberty (defined and clarified further in Articles 4-11). Whilst the UDHR is not a treaty in itself, the UDHR is a fundamental constitutive document of the United Nations that served the foundation for two binding UN covenants on human rights – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. There are many more international treaties that elaborate upon the principles of the UDHR, apart from those previously mentioned in the discussion on Article 2 others of significance that are strongly based upon Article 3 are the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
“We, the people of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:
That South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white and that no government
can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people”
These are the opening lines from the Freedom Charter, a document drafted from a ‘Congress of the People’ planned by the ANC (African National Congress) at the time (1955) led by Nelson Mandela. The purpose of the Freedom Charter was to call for the creation of a democratic, non-racialist state. Groups attending the ‘Congress of the People’ included the ANC, South African Indian Congress, the Coloured People’s Congress, the South African Congress of Trade Unions and the Congress of Democrats totalling 3000 delegates, but the invitation was sent out to all South Africans for the submission of proposals for a post-apartheid era. With the adoption of the Charter at the Conference there was a police crack-down on the event – with the South African Government accusing the organisers and participants of “high treason” against the state. The political activism of these groups was motivated by the racially-based apartheid system – an officially structured policy instigated in 1948 and culminating in 1970 in the abolishment of non-white political representation, the deprivation of their South African citizenship with their enforced citizenship in tribally based self-governing homelands which then enabled government segregation of education, medical care, beaches and other public services of a significant sub-standard to that enjoyed by the white minority. Nelson Mandela was jailed for 27 years receiving unconditional release and walking free 11 February 1990. During his imprisonment he became an icon for sustained resistance to the apartheid regime with his election as South Africa’s first black chief executive in multi-racial elections. He served as President of South Africa 1994-1999 and in 2009 the UN General Assembly declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day in recognition of his contribution to peace and freedom.
The art work – a study of an image from the Nelson Mandela Foundation for the publication – Maharaja, M. & Kathrada, A.M. (Eds.). (2006). Mandela the authorised portrait. Andrews McMeel Publishing – graphite pencil.
“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”
This article is the first of the UDHR’s specific rights. Human slavery as an accepted system of labour is not legal anywhere in the world. However, slave-like forms of labour continue. Examples of contemporary slavery are debt bondage, serfdom, forced labour, child labour and servitude, trafficking of persons and human organs, sexual slavery, children in armed conflict, sale of children, forced marriage and the sale of wives, migrant work, and the exploitation of prostitution. Even though traditional slavery has been legally abolished, it can remain as a state-of-mind among victims, their descendants and among the inheritors of those who benefitted from the practise. The majority who are the victims (conservative estimates – depending on the definition of slavery used range from 21million to 30million) consisting of the poorest, most marginalised and most vulnerable groups in society. But despite slavery being illegal, it is a highly profitable practise with the UN estimating $35 billion are generated annually from slave-based industries. Though some of the poorest non-democratic countries in the world are those reported to have the largest numbers of modern slaves, slavery also exists in advanced democratic societies – for example, in 2015 the Home Office in the UK estimated there were 10,000-13,000 victims in that country. In 2014 the Walk Free Foundation reported approximately 3,000 people were living in slavery in Australia.
Biram Dah Abeid
A Mauritanian politician; an advocate for the abolition of slavery; listed in 2014 by PeaceLinkLive as one of “10 People Who Changed the World You Might Not Have Heard Of”; he hails from the country’s traditional slave caste, the Haratin; awarded the 2013 UN Human Rights Prize and the Front Line Defenders Award. He was arrested 11 November 2014 at a peaceful protest march in a government clampdown on anti-slavery activists; 26 June 2015 Mr Abeid remained in jail, his health deteriorating and according to the International Human Rights Federation, he did not have access to medical attention; a court hearing 20 August 2015 rejected his appeal against charges of ‘inciting trouble’, ‘belonging to an unrecognised organistion’ (Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement), ‘leading an unauthorised rally’ and ‘violence against the police’. As the last country in the world to abolish slavery, Mauritania is reported to have the highest percentage of slaves with 10%-20% of the population estimated to be living in slavery (340,000-680,000); and there has only been one conviction against a slave owner since 2007.
The art work – a study of an image from goodthingsguy.com – watercolour paint and pencil.
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Torture, like slavery, has a long and sordid history. It is often associated with the actions of State Administrations. In 1789 the drafters of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man (a significant predecessor to the UDHR) though not using the word “torture”, wrote in Article 9 “if arrest shall be deemed indispensable, all harshness not essential to the securing of the prisoner’s person shall be severely repressed by law”. The 1984 UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment includes the limitation that “such pain and suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity”. The UN has recorded abuses around the world in this area from government bodies such as police, secret police, military police, juvenile and immigration detention centres, “reform” schools, workhouses, prisons and prison farms; and from non-government areas there are records pertaining to businesses, religious entities, para-military bodies, and extremist organisations. One of the most prominent cases in recent times being the recording of treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. But one of the most contested issues pertaining to this Article is States’ use of the death penalty. A brief timeline: 1966 adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that states “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life” and that the death penalty not be imposed on pregnant women and children under 18; 1989 the UN General Assembly adopted the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR – its goal being the abolition of the death penalty; 1999 The UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) passed a resolution calling on all states that maintain the death penalty to progressively restrict the number of offences for which it may be imposed with the goal of its abolition; 2005 the UNHCR approved Human Rights Resolution 2005/59 which calls for all states that still maintain the death penalty to abolish it completely – supported in 2007 (in Resolution 62/149) by the UN General Assembly (UNGA). As of July 2015 – of the 196 UN members (or with UN observer status) – 102 have abolished the death penalty for all crimes; 7 have abolished for all crimes but retain fro exceptional circumstance (crimes committed in wartime); 50 retain it, but have not used it for at least 10 years; 37 retain it in both law and practice. Countries with the most confirmed executions in 2014: 1. China (1,000s – number through Amnesty International and is estimated as such statistics remain state secret); 2. Iran (289+); 3. Saudi Arabia (90+); 4. Iraq (61+); 5. USA (35); 6. Sudan (23+)
Sonia ‘Sunny’ Jacobs was the passenger in a car along with her partner (Jesse Tafero) and two children, when the officers were shot during a traffic stop. The driver (Walter Rhodes) claimed Tafero shot the officers with a gun legally registered to Jacobs. Gunpowder tests showed the three adults had residue on their hands. Tafero and Jacobs were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. Jacobs received three life sentences. May 4 1990 Tafero was executed by electrocution. The machine malfunctioned, three jolts were applied to Tafero resulting in flames coming from his head and the process taking seven minutes for him to die. After the electrocution Rhodes admitted to killing the officers. Jacobs’ conviction was overturned on appeal. She is an active campaigner against the death penalty.
The art work – a study of an image from ‘Goddesses on Pinterest’ – watercolour.
“Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”
This article is the first in the UDHR referring to the fundamental legality of human rights as regards remedial actions against the violation of human rights. The origins of this article were in response to the Nazi genocidal action de-legitimising Jews as citizens, and thus as persons – the initial step in a systematic process of dehumanisation – which meant the state abrogated its moral and legal responsibility as to its treatment of Jews (and all others deemed non-persons). In 2014 the UN General Assembly turned its focus upon the issue of birth registration. The UN found a strong link between birth registration and the realisation of many other rights, particularly socioeconomic, such as the right to education and the right to health. When registration did not occur, the welfare and protection of the child was seriously jeopardised, with non-registration being instrumental in violations such as child labour, children in conflict with the law, early and forced marriage, human trafficking, the sale of children, and the treatment of children during armed conflict, emergency situations and as refugees. As such, establishing the existence of a person under law through birth registration lays the foundation for safeguarding civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. As such, according to the UN, it is a fundamental means of protecting the human rights of the individual. Between 200 and 2010, the global rate of birth registration grew from approximately 58%-65%. In 2014, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimated 230 million children under the age of 5 were not registered. The UN has found non-registration is a particularly serious problem in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and in Asia. But even in industrialised countries with overall high rates of registration, the UN encountered pockets of marginalised and disadvantaged groups who are not registered.
This image is of an unknown child and it portrays the impact being a non-person can have on the well-being and welfare of the individual. The child is portrayed as gazing upwards – as all children need to look to adults for the protection of their rights.
The art work – a study of a series of images by Muhammed Muhasein of children whose families fled Afghanistan for Islamabad, Pakistan – watercolour with salt.
“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 right of equality before the law is part of the right to a fair trial. Moreover, during the drafting process, this article took many forms and was subject to many changes. There has been debate, critique and controversy surrounding both the intent and application of this article. The first part is focussed upon the values of non-discrimination and equality, whilst the second part is focussed upon the protection against incitement to discrimination and it is this second part that has been particularly contentious. During the drafting process the intent of the second part was to ensure protection against the effects of “hate speech” and incitement to discrimination – a clear reaction to the Nazi persecution of the Jews and other minorities. Debate still occurs and quite vehemently, about the seeming conflict between this protection and the rights to freedom of speech (Article 19) and of association (Article 20), but Article 29 spells-out limitations intended to assist governments to balance these rights.
As a recognised legal expert specialising in human rights and terrorism issues, Christophe Marchand is an Advisory Board Member of Fair Trials International (FTI) – a human rights organisation that works to improve respect for the right to a fair trial by educating people to understand and defend their rights. His work on strategic litigation requires collaboration with human rights NGOs and universities. Christophe Marchand has been leading the defence team that gained the condemnation of Belgium in a steppingstone case related to the use of evidence obtained by torture; and he has litigated and obtained the condemnation of Belgium, Morocco and Spain in the case of Ali Aarrass, a Belgian-Moroccan national extradited illegally by Spain to Morocco, tortured and left in Moroccan jails without consular assistance from the Belgian embassy. He is currently a member of the defence team of Edward Snowden.
The art work – a study of an image from subject shared through Linkedin – graphite pencil.
“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.”
This article extends upon article 7 with its main rationale being the need for protection of the individual against abuses by authorities, particularly those responsible for the carriage of article 7. It asserts both the need and importance of holding officials accountable under the laws that flow from them – a predominant aim being to avoid the development of totalitarian police states. Because the implementation of human rights principally takes place at the national level, it was considered essential for individuals to be able to argue before a national institution that their rights had been violated. International human rights law lays down both an obligation for states to implement (respect and ensure) the rights set forth in international instruments, but to also establish effective remedies.
Justice Alan Moses
May 2014 Sir Alan Moses was elected as the inaugural chair of the new press regulator in the UK – the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso). He came to prominence when as a lead judge in the High Court and as QC for the prosecution in the Matrix Churchill trial – a machine tool firm accused of selling arms-related equipment to the Iraq regime of Saddam Hussein. The case collapsed and in his evidence to the Scott inquiry into the affair 1992 he stated he would have abandoned the prosecution had he known about crucial evidence contained in documents concealed by Whitehall officials before the action came to court. Whitehall withheld information which anyone “with a basic sense of justice”should have disclosed, he said.It emerged that Alan Clark, Thatcher’s trade and defence minister, had “turned a blind eye” to the exports and Paul Henderson, managing director of the company, had been asked by MI6 to spy on Iraq. He recently delivered a scathing attack on the Ministry of Defence, ruling that its attempt to stop the media reporting on allegations of abuse by British soldiers, allegedly involved in serious hum rights abuses of Iraqi civilians, had no basis in law.
The art work – a study of an image from The Law Society Gazette, 23 April 2015 – watercolour and gouache.
“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”
The measure of “arbitrary-ness” of a police or judicial action has to do with the standard against which that official action is measured. In Nazi Germany the categories which the police and the judiciary used to interpret the laws and decrees of the Fuhrer were so vague that citizens could not gauge the legality of their actions. Officials could readily “reason” arrests on the basis of actions being “in conflict with the German National Socialist world view”. The use of arbitrary detention remains a strategic political weapon. Since the introduction of mandatory immigration detention by the Keating government, the UN has upheld 36 specific complaints against Australia (the fourth highest number of adverse findings in the world) – half of these complaints were referred as arbitrary detention.
Aung San Suu Kyi
The leader of the pro-democracy movement of Burma is one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners, and it is because of the continued violation of this article of the UDHR for political purposes that her image is representative of such machinations. After a lengthy period of study and work overseas, Aung Sann Suu Kyi returned to her homeland (at that time under military rule) in 1988 which coincided with mass demonstrations for democracy which were violently suppressed. This bloody event became known as the 8888 Uprising (8th August, 1988). On the 26th August she addressed 500,000 people at a mass rally in the capital, calling for a democratic government, but a new military junta took power in September. Aung San Suu Kyi helped found the National League for Democracy (NLD) 27 September 1988. She was placed under house arrest 20th July 1989 on grounds she was a person “likely to undermine the community peace and stability”. Offered freedom if she left the country, she refused and was placed under house arrest for a total of 15 years on numerous occasions over a 21-year period. Although under house arrest, she had permission to leave Burma on condition that she never return. On 12 November 2010, days after the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won elections after a 20 year gap, her release orders were signed and Suu Kyi’s house arrest ended 13 November 2010.
The art work – a study of an image from southeastasianews.org – graphite pencil.
“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.”
Amongst the variety of human rights, the right to a fair trial is significant as one of the more “inventively elaborated and dynamically interpreted” by different bodies established for the protection of human rights. It is evolving, despite its explicit wording, which is due to varying emphases on the constituent parts within different human rights instruments (such as the Centre for Civil and Political Rights in regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). For example, the attribute of a tribunal being “independent” has become an intensive focus of study both in human rights case law but also in standard-setting work of intergovernmental organisations and NGOs. In the UN 12 Congresses from 1955-2010 have been especially active in efforts to formulate standards for the independence of justice. Because of the variety of existing judicial systems, it has been an unceasing and thus evolving, process to compile a list of criteria for the independence of the judiciary. Conditions of service and tenure, manner of appointment and discharge, degree of stability and non-removability from office, as well as physical, political, legal and logistical protection against outside pressures and harassment are recognised as some of the most crucial; and the problems linked with the independence of judges are divers, both in quality and quantity, in different parts of the world, ranging from salary bargaining schemes to physical disappearances – and all these vagaries can have significant impact upon those facing a court.
Yang Maodong (Guo Feixiong)
As a human rights lawyer, Yang Maodong has worked on controversial issues defending the rights of marginalised groups – such as the Taishi village standoff – but he is also active as a dissident writer under the pen name Guo Feixiong. Arrested in 2005 and 2006, human rights groups reported he was beaten on multiple occasions. This mistreatment was reportedly a catalyst behind a rolling nationwide hunger strike. Upon his arrest 30 September 2006 he was detained on charges of “illegal business activity” in connection with his book based on a political scandal (Shenyang Political Earthquake). He was held in pre-trial detention for 17 months and sentenced to five years imprisonment and fined 40,000 yuan, in what was reported by human rights observers as a “trial marked with procedural irregularities” – he was release 13 September, 2011. 8 August 2013 Guo was again arrested on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place”; 10 December 2013, the Tianhe District Branch of the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau recommended his indictment on the charge and the trial commenced November 2014. The trial lasted 18 hours non-stop with defence lawyers not being allowed to take a break and Guo was not allowed to give a final statement. He was convicted and in November 2015 sentenced to six years imprisonment.
The art work – a study of an image from chinadigitaltimes.net – watercolour.
“(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.
(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.”
In summary, this article addresses: 1. the presumption of innocence until proven guilty; 2. the right to defence; 3. the right to a public hearing; and 4. the non-retroactivity of laws. Along with Articles 3-10, it is aimed at subjecting the exercise of power to legal rules.
In Iran at the age of 14, Mohammed Mostafaie attended the public hanging of a “very young man” – this sight was profoundly disturbing and became the catalyst for his decision to study law. He is a human rights lawyer specialising in death penalty cases, particularly with juvenile defendants. During his work in Iran he appealed forty death sentences of juvenile defendants of which 18 were overturned. Four of his clients were executed in 2008 and 2009. One of his most prominent cases was Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. Mostafaie’s series of blogs on the case attracted international attention and protest. In 2010 her sentence was commuted to 10 years in prison – she was freed in 2014. But Mohammed Mostafaie’s defence of this case resulted in his wife, father-in-law and brother-in-law being imprisoned in what Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe described as “an apparent attempt to pressure him to back down”. Mostafaie then illegally crossed the border into Turkey and sought and was granted asylum in Norway. He continues to work on human rights issues in Norway. In 2012 he established the Universal Tolerance Organisation (www.universaltolerance.org).
The art work – a study of an image from the guardian.com – watercolour.
“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.”
Article 12 is the first of six articles (12-17) constituting the rights of the individual in civil and political society. During the course of the drafting of this article, a lengthy debate took place regarding the question of whether a provision should be included guaranteeing individuals a right of protection against attacks on their honour and reputation. The reluctance on the part of certain delegations to include “honour” and, to some extent, “reputation” was based on concern that these vague terms could be used as justification for curbing free speech, but particularly freedom of the press. Objections were also raised about the use of the word “attacks”, but during that debate it was pointed out that, at least in the English language, it was not possible to “interfere” with honour and reputation, but it was possible to “attack” another’s honour and reputation.
March 2007 Viacom filed a US$1 billion lawsuit against Google and YouTube alleging the site had engaged in copyright infringement by allowing users to upload and view copyrighted material owned by Viacom (eg. SpongeBobSquarePants) and that these clips had collectively been viewed more than 1.5 billion times. In July 2008 during the pre-trial discovery phase, Viacom won a court ruling requiring YouTube to hand over data detailing the viewing habits of every user who had ever watched videos on the site. The move led to concerns the viewing habits of individual users could be identified through their IP addresses and login names. The decision was heavily criticised by the Electronic Frontier Foundation as “a setback to privacy rights”. As director of Privacy International, Simon Davies is a leading academic, advocate and consultant on privacy and technology policy, and in this particular case, he concluded that Google’s actions had resulted in the privacy of tens of millions being placed under threat. Moreover, he has repeatedly warned that governments and other organisations realise that companies like Google have a warehouse of data and while that data is stored it is under threat of being used and as such, putting privacy in danger….please, think about your own electronic footprint – where it leads and the information it contains….
The art work – a study of an image from future-nonstop.org – graphite pencil and watercolour.
“(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
The right to freedom of movement is enshrined in the legally binding instrument – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (Article 12) – and though freedom of movement is deemed a fundamental right to be accorded all individuals within States, migrants exercising this right may be subject to restrictions in their movements on entering a State of which they are not yet permanent residents or nationals. A distinction is made between “regularised” migrants (considered lawfully within the territory or State) who are granted this provision of freedom of movement with the State in some national constitutions and “irregular” migrants who may be restricted to residing in certain parts of the country. Note – the ICCPR was accepted 1966 and enacted from 1976. But in 1975 the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe – 57 participating states spanning the globe, encompassing three continents – Europe, Asia and North America) declared their intention to ease regulations concerning the movement of citizens from other participating States in their particular territories. Then in 1989, 1990 and 1991 the OSCE States committed themselves to remove legal and other restrictions on travel within their territories and foreigners. This commitment is maintained, monitored (and modified) through the following means – sharing information between participating States and holding bilateral meetings to examine particular questions or issues which may be brought to the attention of the OSCE through diplomatic channels. As in 2015, with the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine to review the impact the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea had upon Internally Displaced Persons – it was found there were severe implications for human rights activists who were detained and interrogated or expelled by the de facto authorities. Between April 2014 – March 2015 more than 20,000 individuals moved to mainland Ukraine from the Crimean peninsula with with reports of incidents alleged violations of human rights of persons belonging to national minorities.
During times of conflict and social unrest, human rights protagonists can be the first to experience restrictions on their capacity to move freely within a territory – as established and experienced by Elizardo Sanchez. As leader of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a group that tracks human rights in Cuba, he contended the police held dozens of activists without charge just prior to the announcement of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, and his group reported a record 3,821 such arrests between January-April 2015. The purpose of these arrests Sanchez claims is to keep dissidents away from gatherings organised in opposition to the Cuban government.
The art work – a study of an image by Peter Orsi of Business Insider – graphite pencil and watercolour.
“(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.”
The opening statement of The Refugee Convention 1951 reads, “One of the outstanding achievements of the 20th Century in the humanitarian field has been the establishment of the principle that the refugee problem is a matter of concern to the international community and must be addressed in the context of international cooperation and burden-sharing”. Ian Martin, the former Secretary General of Amnesty International, observed in 1992 that “Governments…are more often motivated by self-interest than by considerations of humanity, and this provides a further reason for those seeking to combat human rights violations to insist upon the right to asylum”. The World Report 2015 by Human Rights Watch describes the Australian government’s failure to respect international standards protecting asylum seekers and refugees continues to take a heavy human toll and undermines Australia’s ability to call for stronger human rights protections abroad. As of October 31 2014, 1,056 men were detained on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea; 1,095 men, women and children were detained on Nauru; only 10 of the Manus Island detainees had received final refugee status determinations; 261 of the Nauru detainees had been determined to be refugees and released into the community; 72 were denied refugee status.The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has criticised Australia’s offshore detention policy as “return-oriented”. The detention centres are overcrowded and dirty, Asylum claims are not processed in a fair transparent, or expedient manner, with significant cost to detainees’ physical and mental health. In February 2014, the Australian Human Rights Commission launched a national inquiry into the approximately 1,000 children in immigration detention. Staff at detention centres gave evidence conditions were substandard, unsafe and inappropriate. By October 2014, 2,693 people were in immigration detention on Australian territory. The Report cites 50 refugees as being held indefinitely based on advert security assessments and many have been in detention for over four years. In September 2014, incoming UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein stated that Australia’s policies are “Leading to a chain of human rights violations, including arbitrary detention and possible torture following return to home countries”.
Cathie Bond has more than 12 years experience as an advocate with Rural Australians for Refugees, befriending some of the most marginalised of people. She is a regular visitor to immigration detention centres and newly settled asylum seekers in the community, to whom she hands out her “welcome packs” which contain food, warm clothing, socks, underwear and toiletries – “to give them some dignity”. Of the Australian Government’s asylum seeker policy Cathie Bond says “it’s a brutal policy and it is destroying souls, hearts, minds, bodies…It is destroying people and it is creating distress in the broader community because people are seeing that if this government can treat these vulnerable people so cruelly, won’t that have impacts on the whole of society?”
The art work – a study of an image from the guardian.com – watercolour.
“(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.”
A person not considered to be a national of a country is deemed stateless. In some cases, stateless individuals are not legally recognised as a citizen by any country (a situation known as de jure statelessness). In other cases, a stateless individual may possess a legal nationality but cannot in practice exercise their citizenship rights (known as de facto statelessness). People can become stateless through various means: gaps or conflicts in nationality laws; forced displacement; arbitrary deprivation of nationality; discrimination against minority groups in legislation; a lack of effective birth registration procedures; and failure to include all residents as citizens when a state becomes independent. It is not necessarily a feature of statelessness that the person is facing persecution. However, due to their precarious situation, stateless persons are in need of international protection and assistance. Stateless persons are generally unable to exercise the basic rights associated with citizenship or face serious difficulties in doing so. They are typically excluded from political processes, cannot travel freely and lack access to publicly funded services such as education, health care and welfare support. They often face difficulty in obtaining identity documents and securing employment and in many countries face the threat of detention and exploitation because they lack official status. The UNHCR estimates that there are 12 million stateless persons worldwide. However, only 6.6 million of these have been formally identified by the organisation.
A child born stateless is particularly vulnerable. The UNHCR estimate a stateless child is born at least every 10 minutes and in countries hosting the largest stateless populations, at least 70,000 stateless children are born each year. 750,000 stateless people are estimated to be in the West African region. In 27 countries of the world, many in the West African region, women are still not allowed to pass their nationality on to their children on an equal basis with men, creating a high possibility of statelessness for those children. Dobet Gnahore is a singer from Côte d’Ivoire. She settled in Marseille in 1999 due to the Civil War in her country. Through her music and concerts she actively supports and promotes the UNHR campaign initiated in 2015 for women to be able to pass on their nationality to their children.
The art work – a study of an image from enchantedtunes.com – watercolour.
“(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.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”
The intention of this article was to deal with the right of spouses to enjoy equality of rights and responsibilities as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. As with all articles in the UDHR, it presents a standard which States parties should strive to attain. The legally binding instrument to explicate the issues inherent to this article is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which has a particular focus in addressing issues of discrimination particularly experienced by women in reference to marriage, in matters relating to domicile, nationality, parental control of children, the right to own property, and the right to work. Contemporarily, these discriminations are still experienced in many parts of the world and are often associated with long established cultural practices. However, this article has taken on an added dimension for those striving for what is termed ‘marriage equality’ – the capacity for the lawful union of same-sex couples. Australia has a highly conflict-ridden history as regards restrictions imposed on matrimonial relations: Friday 13 August 2004 the Senate passed a Howard government amendment to the Marriage Act 1961 defining matrimony as the exclusive union between one man and one woman for life (which limited the powers of the courts to recognise overseas same-sex unions); for 50 years after 1788 the government decided who, how and when most Australians married – convicts had to apply to the colonial government to wed; for campaigners against convict transportation, freedom to marry was also important in their struggle against governmental intervention and for personal liberty – modelling themselves on the American anti-slavery movement, they maintained that a society’s prosperity and stability depended on the right to make contracts (political, commercial and matrimonial) free of compulsion; government control over Indigenous marriage dated from the 1860s, when the Victorian government passed laws allowing the expulsion of Aboriginals from reserves if they married across racial lines; 1897 fears of racial contamination motivated the passage of the first law assuming direct control over marriages involving Indigenous people in Queensland with Western Australia and the Northern Territory following; South Australia passed an Aboriginal marriage law for the territory it then governed, but not for itself; beginning as controls on the marriage of black women to white or Asian men, the laws grew steadily in scope until, at their peak in the 1930s, they regulated the marriages of all Aboriginal people of all ancestries to all other people and to each other.
Rodney Croome currently serves as the spokesperson for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group. He is the National Convenor of Australian Marriage Equality and one of the founders of the Australian Coalition for Equality (ACE).
The art work – a study of an image by photographer Mick Tsikas – watercolour.
“(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”
The concept of property rights is often associated with commercial rights protecting corporate ownership of goods, land, or scientific innovation. However this narrow reading obscures the importance of the right to property as a human right and the social function of property as a dimension of other human rights including the human rights to food, housing and social security. The right to property can be traced to the early philosophical writings leading to the French Revolution’s Déclaration des droits de l’Homme et du citoyen and the US Bill of Rights. But long after these 18th century developments, the classification of the right to property as a human right continued to raise controversies. One of the grounds for debate is that property has been a privilege of the few and served in the past as a means of excluding the large mass of non-possessors from social and political life. This argument is pinpoints an intrinsic tension between the right to property as a civil liberty and its social function. The right to property, understood as a means of survival, is closely related to the realisation of the right to life and of other human rights of the individual. At the same time, however, its limitation may be necessary for the realisation of other human rights of other individuals. Western liberal tradition places this right among other freedoms, while its characteristics unequivocally would lead to its inclusion among economic, social and cultural rights, another line of argument leads to a view of property rights interpreted solely through the lenses of civil and political rights (with focus upon property being able to be bought, sold or destroyed). However, when comparisons are made from the context of economic, social and cultural rights – for example the right to food, where food itself can be sold, traded or destroyed – the dual nature of the right to property has important implications.
Torres Strait is the common name of the stretch of water located off the north-east tip of Australia. Three islands together comprise the Murray Islands in the Torres Strait – Mer, Dauar and Waier. The native Meriam people inhabit them. The islands were annexed to the Colony of Queensland in 1879. In May 1982, Eddie Mabo (a resident of Mer Island) and four other indigenous islanders began an action seeking judicial confirmation of their traditional land rights on the island. The islanders sought a declaration that the Meriam people were entitled to the islands as owners, possessors, occupiers or as persons entitled to use and enjoy the islands, that the islands were not and had never been Crown Land and that the State of Queensland was not entitled to extinguish the title of the Meriam people. The applicants acknowledged that the British Crown assumed sovereignty of the islands in 1879 when they were annexed to Queensland. The final High Court of Australia hearing in 1992 represented the culmination of a ten-year uphill struggle, during which time three of the applicants, including the now immortalised Eddie Mabo, died.
The art work – a study of an image from James Cook University – watercolour paint and pencil.
“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.”
When the international human rights regime emerged in the 1940s, the right to religious liberty stood out as one of its central principles. It was one of the cornerstones in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘‘Four Freedoms’’ address; was singled out as one of the moral objectives of war that the Allied powers declared on New Year’s Day 1942; and was incorporated into most prototypical international bills of rights elaborated by various states, international law institutes, and individual activists during the war years. Yet even if the concept of religious liberty was central in the era’s fledgling human rights discourse, it remained entirely unclear what its basic components actually were, let alone how these should be phrased in an international document. This was one of the challenges that faced the United Nations’ original Commission on Human Rights and its designated Drafting Committee. The articulation of religious liberty permits a variety of interpretations. This article never addresses the difficult questions of how the relation between states and religious institutions should be regulated; it leaves terms like ‘‘teaching,’’ ‘‘practice,’’ ‘‘worship,’’ and ‘‘observance’’ undefined; and it never clarifies under which circumstances religious liberty can and cannot be curtailed. The implication of this argument is that Article 18 in itself is a minimalistic and unproblematic articulation of religious liberty, one which had no specific meaning in the postwar moment, just as it has no stable meaning today.
Ellery Schempp is a physicist. On November 26, 1956, he staged a protest against his school’s requirement that students read 10 Bible passages and the Lord’s Prayer each day during homeroom. The Schempps were Unitarian Universalists, a theologically liberal religious community. On his day of protest, he brought a copy of the Qur’an and read from that, and for this he was sent to the Principal’s office. With the help of his father, Edward Schempp, and the American Civil Liberties Union, they sued the Abington School district over the Public School policy of mandatory Bible readings. Over several years, Schempp, and later his younger siblings Roger and Donna, continued to fight this policy in the courts. The case was eventually decided in Schempps’ favour by the Supreme Court in 1963 – five years after Ellery had graduated from high school. The precedent established by this decision – that public schools do not have the right to sponsor religious exercises and then pressure students to take part in them. This precedence has appeared in every church-state case focusing on religion in public schools since in the US. Today Schempp remains a strong supporter of the separation between church and state and travels the United States speaking about his landmark protest, the current state of democracy, the constitution and the bill of rights. Schempp’s actions illustrate the all-too-often ignored aspect of Article 18 – that along with the right to choose their religious belief, people also have the right to not believe.
The art work – a study of an image from a photograph by Mike Linksvayer – watercolour.
“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.”
This article reflects the significant interest in the freedom of information in the postwar years. The Soviet Union proposed an amendment that would deny this right to Nazi and fascist groups. This forced the drafters to discuss the question of how tolerant an already just society should be of intolerant groups like Nazis. Taking together Articles 19 and 7, they solved the dilemma by giving everyone two rights: the right to free speech (subject to the limitation of Article 29) and the right to be protected against hate speech.The roots of the right to freedom of information may be found in the struggle for the freedom of speech of legislators during the 17th century. As early as 1688, the English Bill of Rights provided “that the freedom of speech and debate or proceedings in Parliament ought not be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.” The scope of this freedom was later gradually expanded by the United States Bill of Rights, added to the constitution in 1791, and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789). Article 11 of the French Declaration stated that “The unrestrained communication of thought or opinions being one of the most precious rights of man, every citizen may speak, write and publics freely, provided he be responsible for the abuse of this liberty, in case determined by law.” At the end of the 19th century, the freedom of the press had been accepted in most countries. After World War II, the concept of freedom of the press, now significantly relabelled “freedom of information” was, however, more controversial than ever.
WikiLeaks is an international non-profit organisation working for transparency which publishes news leaks based on their ethical, historical and political significance. WikiLeaks was founded in 2006 by Chinese dissidents, journalists and mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, South Africa Australia, and Europe. An Australian Internet activist, Julian Assange, is described as a director of WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks was originally launched as a Wiki site, but it has moved towards a more traditional publication model and their texts are edited only by editors. Their database covered more than 1.2 million documents by 2007. On their website WikiLeaks states Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a basis their work by defining the human rights of expression and receipt of information regardless of frontiers as civil rights. The WikiLeaks web site further defines “principled leaking,” as necessary to fight government, individual and corporate corruption. Julian Assange also has compared his actions to Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers case as an example of why principled leaking would be necessary for good government. The most high-profile documents hosted by WikiLeaks are either US based documents or they focus on alleged US government misbehaviour. Many of the documents relate to hidden war crimes or prisoner abuse.
The art work – a study of an image from greatpreneurs.com – watercolour.
“(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.”
In many regions of the world, social protest movements are taking hold (eg. student protests, protests against institutions of globalisation – G8, World Bank, IMF, World Trade Organisation and democracy movements). States are required to ensure the safety of their citizens and maintain law and order, in particular to prevent the loss of life or other personal or material damage. In addition, States must ensure respect for the rights of citizens who peacefully express social demands. The response – both normative and of law enforcement – of States against such movements must conform to international human rights standards. They must at all times ensure the exercise of these rights, particularly the right of peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The legal instrument that specifically addresses this article of the UDHR is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 21: ¨ The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognised. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. It is this last clause that is often referred to as justification for the actions of authorities in imposing restrictions upon public protests. Note: The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is an international treaty ratified by 167 States.
Maina Kiwi is a lawyer and Kenyan human rights activist. He currently serves as the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association – which means he is independent from any government or organisation. As of June 2015 he had submitted 4 reports to the Human Rights Council: 1.Best Practices in Promoting the Freedoms of Assembly and Association (May 2012); Civil Society’s Ability to Access Funding and Resources (April 2013); Plight of Groups “Most at Risk” when Exercising their Assembly and Association Rights (June 2014); and Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association in the Context of Natural Resource Exploitation (June 2015). Kiai has also presented three reports to the UN General Assembly: 1. Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association in the Context of Elections (October, 2013); 2. The Effect of Multilateral Institutions on Promoting and Protecting Assembly and Association Rights (October 2014); 3. A Comparative Study of the “Enabling Environments” States Create for Businesses and Associations (October 2015) – this report found that businesses generally get much more favourable treatment. In 1992 Kiai co-founded the unofficial Kenya Human Rights Commission. He served as the Commission’s executive director until September 1998 and then became Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Program (1999-2001) and the Africa Director of the International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights, 2001-2003) before finally serving as Chairman of the official Kenya National Human Rights Commission from 2003 to 2008. From July 2010 to April 2011, Kiai was the Executive Director of the International Council on Human Rights Policy prior to taking-up his position of UN Special Rapporteur. He and his family have received ongoing death threats and harassment directly linked to his human rights work.
The art work – a study of an image from the haguetrials.co.ke – watercolour.
“(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.”
Article 21 addresses the subject of political rights and has been referred to as “a revolution within a revolution”. Through this provision the international community has not only declared the idea of the equal and inalienable rights of individuals in relation to their state, but also sets minimum requirements for the structure and functioning of the state – and that is – authority of its government must be based on “the will of the people”, and there must be a system of democratic participation with equal political rights for every citizen. Therefore, this article is primarily concerned with members of a given political community (citizens) rather than with individuals as such. In regard to Article 21, it seems especially pertinent to stress a broader framework; the modern notion of political rights is based upon the principle of equality (Articles 1, 2, 4, 7), presupposes civil rights and liberties and certain basic social rights, and is affected by the final limitation provisions (Articles 29 and 30).
The drafters fully appreciated the enormous difference between Hitler’s “Fuhrer principle of government” and the machinery of the more democratic state. They also understood that, in conjunction with the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of political opinion (Article 2), Article 21 calls for a multiparty system.
Mahatma Ghandi was the leader of a movement for the people of India’s right to self-rule and he was tireless in his work for India’s poorest, most deprived and depressed. Moreover, he was an innovative strategist in relation to the means of achieving change in society and polity – through nonviolence. Apart from his significant role in India’s achievement of independence from British rule, Ghandi also presented an alternative perspective to human rights, which is of equal importance, but all too frequently absent in discourse – with an emphasis on duties. Gandhi disagreed with the rhetoric of rights, preferring a discourse couched in the language of duties. Moreover, he went beyond the obvious correlation between human rights and state duties, and emphasised the duties of individuals. The role of duties in the international human rights discourse has gained currency in recent times – as in the emergence of the norm of the responsibility to protect, which suggests that states may act to prevent gross violations of human rights within the boundaries of other states. Also Gandhi’s emphasis on the duties of non-state actors in the context of human rights protection is becoming more relevant. International law is progressively realising the inefficacy of promoting global human rights without regulating the conduct of crucial non-state actors (eg. corporate accountability for rights violations, individual criminal liability for rights violations, the responsibility of armed groups and ‘belligerents’ in times of war, duties of peacekeepers and human rights defenders). Recently adopted regional instruments – such as the African Charter for Human Rights – provide for clearly delineated individual duties. The InterAction Council recently went so far as to suggest a draft ‘Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities’.
The art work – a study of an image from biography.com – graphite pencil.
“Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realisation, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organisation and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.”
This article recognises an entitlement to “social security” – to be achieved by the realisation of an integral set of indispensable economic, social and cultural rights (ESC). The principle being that government is there to coordinate action and, where necessary, provide support to the voluntary and local efforts of the community. The initiative of government and society essentially was intended as playing pro-active roles to enable freedoms by providing opportunities for development – to be guaranteed through equality, participation and accountability. In particular the intention was for there to be focus on education, work and assistance in the face of risks and contingencies (such as unemployment, abandonment, disability). This article is significant in its acknowledgement the relationship and interdependence between the individual, society, State and world community. In other words, this article is significant in its acknowledgement of the foundations of social justice. There are currently 170 countries in the world with some form of social security program and some countries have International Social Security Agreements to share responsibility for social security coverage – Australia has 30 such agreements and is in negotiations with other countries.
Frances Perkins Wilson (born Fannie Coralie Perkins; April 10, 1880 – May 14, 1965) was U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945, the longest serving in that position, and the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet. As a loyal supporter of her friend, Franklin D. Roosevelt, she helped pull the labor movement into the New Deal coalition. Her legacy is that she was largely responsible for the U.S. adoption of social security, unemployment insurance, federal laws regulating child labor, and adoption of the federal minimum wage.With the Social Security Act she established unemployment benefits, pensions for the many uncovered elderly Americans, and welfare for the poorest Americans. She pushed to reduce workplace accidents and helped craft laws against child labor. Through the Fair Labor Standards Act, she established the first minimum wage and overtime laws for American workers, and defined the standard forty-hour work week. She formed governmental policy for working with labor unions and helped to alleviate strikes by way of the United States Conciliation Service.
The art work – a study of an image from mtholyoke.com – watercolour.
“(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(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.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.”
“I have always felt that it was important that everyone who was a worker join a labor organisation”. Eleanor Roosevelt spoke these words to striking workers in 1941, one of many talks to union audiences as First Lady of the United States. Her clear and unequivocal statement in support of union membership reflected her past and foreshadowed her future. Eleanor Roosevelt was a champion of workers and she became a key player in defining workers’ rights as part of the UDHR. Article 23 establishes four principles: the right to work principle; the equal pay principle; the just remuneration principle; and freedom of association principle. The right to work principle includes several elements. The article establishes the right of every resident–not only citizens–to get access to the labor market. The right to work means that the individual should be able to choose employment without interference from authorities. Forced work, in all its forms, is rejected. Access to the labor market is worthless, however, if the working conditions are not acceptable. Wages and the working environment must rise to a certain level before the right to work has any real meaning. The same can be said about the free choice of employment in relation to protection against unemployment. Free choice cannot exist if the unemployed are left unprotected. The right to work can be regarded as a prerequisite for the protection against discrimination, the freedom of association, and other economic and social rights of the employees.
In 1968 Walesa was working as an electrician at the Lenin Shipyards (now Gdańsk Shipyard) in Poland when he encouraged colleagues to boycott official rallies that condemned recent student strikes. For his trade union activism he was persecuted by the Communist authorities, placed under surveillance, fired in 1976, and arrested several times. In August 1980 he was instrumental in political negotiations that led to the ground-breaking Gdańsk Agreement between striking workers and the government. He became a co-founder of the Solidarity (Solidarność) union movement – the Soviet bloc’s first independent trade union. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983. He was arrested again after martial law was imposed in Poland and Solidarity was outlawed. He continued his activism after his release and was prominent in the establishment of the 1989 Round Table Agreement that led to semi-free parliamentary elections in June 1989 and to a Solidarity-led government – the first non-Communist government in the Soviet Bloc. In the Polish election of 1990, he successfully ran for the newly re-established office of President of Poland. He presided over Poland’s transformation from a communist to a post-communist state and served as president from 1990-1995.
The art work – a study of an image from scu.edu – watercolour.
“Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.”
Though this right is not explicitly mentioned in any of the core rights conventions, it is enshrined in Article 30 (which contains 5 parts and further subsections) on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In the drafting of this article a distinction was made between the concepts of “rest” and “leisure” as rest was to be enjoyed within the context of work and leisure referring to accessing the enjoyment of recreational practices.With reference to the concept of rest, this article is concerned with the more general problem often referred to as just conditions of work. The provisions should be read in conjunction with Article 22, enjoining the state’s general obligation to guarantee social security and, in accordance with the resources of each state, economic, social, and cultural rights. The rights mentioned in Article 24 are among the original concerns of the labor movement and among the early standards established by international labor law. In some countries the right prescribed in the article is considered to be a fundamental right and may be embodied in constitutions. But contemporarily, as regards the concept of leisure, this article is the foundation for social inclusion programs (arts and sports) for disabled people.
Dr Ludwig Guttmann
Professor Ludwig Guttmann was a German-born British neurologist who established the Paralympic Games in England. The Jewish doctor, who had fled Nazi Germany just before the start of the Second World War. He is considered to be one of the founders of organised physical activities for disabled people. In September 1943 the British government asked Dr Guttmann to establish the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire. When the centre opened on 1 February 1944, Guttmann was appointed its director (a position he held until 1946). As director of the UK’s first specialist unit for treating spinal injuries, he believed that sport was a major method of therapy for injured military personnel helping them build up physical strength and self-respect. He organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for disabled persons on 28 July 1948, the same day as the start of the London 1948 Summer Olympics. Dr Guttmann used the term paraplegic games for national games held in order to encourage his patients to take part. This came to be known as the “Paralympics,” which only later became the “Parallel Games” and included other disabilities. By 1952, more than 130 international competitors had entered the Stoke Mandeville Games. As the annual event continued to grow, the ethos and efforts by all those involved impressed the organisers of the Olympic Games and members of the international community. Dr Gutmann’s vision of an international games the equivalent of the Olympic Games themselves was realised in 1960 when the International Stoke Mandeville Games were held alongside the official 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Known at the time as the 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games, and organised under the aegis of the World Federation of Ex-servicemen (an International Working Group on Sport for the Disabled), they are now recognised as the first Paralympic Games. (The term “Paralympic Games” was retroactively applied by the International Olympic Committee in 1984.)
The art work – a study of an image from The Repository from The Royal Society – graphite pencil. The portrait is complete – just as a person without a limb is complete.
“(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, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(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.”
Inherent to this article is the idea that all people are entitled to have the physical needs of their bodies satisfied and to survive and live free of reasonably preventable suffering. In other words, it articulates the right to health and well-being through the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living – the essential components of which are access to food, clothing, housing, health care and social services. But defining the precise standards that must evaluate these components is difficult since states with varying economic and social histories and capacities have different understandings of an “adequate standard of living”. For example, in some cases the highest attainable standard of living that a nation can provide does not satisfy the existing consensus on the minimum health-related rights to which all people are entitled (i.e., vaccines, physical therapies, geriatric care). It is partially because many governments in developing countries cannot provide adequate health care and living conditions for all their citizens, that their populations suffer disproportionately from diseases that are routinely preventable or curable in developed nations. According to current World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates 1.7 million people die annually in developing countries from diseases resulting from unclean water and inadequate sanitation. Over three million children die annually from malnutrition while an estimated 170 million children suffer from under nutrition. Due to insufficient prenatal and early childhood healthcare, as well as lack of nutrition, developing nations manifest high mortality rates for children under five years old. Even in the developed world, huge health disparities exist between majority and minority, rich and poor, and urban and rural populations.
Leilani Farha is the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, she is also the Executive Director of the NGO Canada Without Poverty. A lawyer by training, for the past 20 years Ms. Farha has worked both internationally and domestically on the implementation of the right to adequate housing for the most marginalized groups. In Canada Ms. Farha worked on housing rights issues as the Executive Director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA). In that capacity, she helped to launch an historic legal challenge seeking the implementation of UN recommendations for addressing homelessness as a violation of human rights. In her current work she continues to promote a human rights based approach to poverty. Internationally, Ms. Farha has actively participated in a number of missions around the world to examine the status of housing rights and to assist in developing policy responses for the implementation of these rights. Within the UN human rights system, she helped spearhead the first resolution regarding women and the right to adequate housing.
The art work – a study of an image from University of Toronto – watercolour.
“(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be 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.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality 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.”
The right to education is enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as a human right that includes the right to free, compulsory primary education for all, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all, in particular by the progressive introduction of free secondary education, as well as an obligation to develop equitable access to higher education, ideally by the progressive introduction of free higher education.The right to education also includes a responsibility to provide basic education for individuals who have not completed primary education. In addition to these access to education provisions, the right to education encompasses the obligation to rule out discrimination at all levels of the educational system, to set minimum standards and to improve the quality of education. Estimates by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that approximately 124 million children and adolescents were out of school in 2013. Of this number, 59 million were of primary school age and 65 million were of lower secondary school age. The entrance ages and durations of primary and lower secondary education vary between countries, but primary school age is typically 6-11 years and lower secondary school age is typically 12-15 years. The estimate for 2013 represents a decrease by 72 million from 2000, when about 196 million children and adolescents were out of school. Most of this decrease occurred between 2000 and 2007 but since 2007 there has been hardly any progress in reducing the global out-of-school population. In the most recent period there was even a slight increase in the number of out-of-school children and adolescents.
Malala Yousafzai is known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women in her native Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Early 2009 (aged 11–12) Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban occupation, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley. The following summer, a New York Times documentary was made about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. Yousafzai rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television; she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. October 9, 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by an unknown gunman. 12 October, 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated their intent to kill her and her father. 2014, Yousafzai was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize (aged 17), for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.
The art work – a study of an image from a photograph by Mark Seliger – watercolour paint and pencil.
“(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.
(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.”
This article has been a source of contention in that it seems to contain a paradoxical juxtapositioning of public rights of access to science/literature/art and private rights of thescience/literature/art in the same article. For example, with the international hardening of trade rights and intellectual property(IP) there has been the extension of copyrights and patents to basic theoretical science and the aggressive assertion by transnational pharmaceutical corporations of their IP rights over life-saving medicines in developing countries. Similarly, in the field of education, the cost of resources – particularly texts – severely limits the instructional capacities in many developing countries – making education unaffordable for significant numbers of their population. Article 27 illustrates the intersection and sometimes conflict of rights that brings into focus the complexities and turmoil that can ensue as interests differ between contesting parties and states as regards the attainment of that which is deemed a right – not foreseen or preempted by the drafting Committee. It is such conflicts and tensions that become a significant source of critique of the human rights corpus with arguments particularly focussing upon the domination of Western values and discourse.
The narrative on this article has indicated the domino-effect of human rights. This choice of subject is also illustrative of that domino-effect. In Saudi Arabia women have limited freedom of movement and is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving (as of December 2015 there is no law prohibiting women from driving in Saudi Arabia, but there are fatwas, or religious edicts issued by conservative Muslim clerics. As a result, the government won’t grant women licenses). These women are clearly limited in their capacity to participate in the cultural life of their community. In 2011, a group of women including Manal al-Sharif started a Facebook campaign named “Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself” or “Women2Drive” that says that women should be allowed to drive. The campaign calls for women to start driving from 17 June 2011. By 21 May 2011, about 12,000 readers of the Facebook page had expressed their support. In late May, Al-Sharif was filmed driving her car in Khobar. The video was posted to YouTube and Facebook. She was detained by the religious police (CPVPV) on 21 May and released after six hours. On 22 May, al-Sharif was detained again – Amnesty International declared Al-Sharif to be a prisoner of conscience and called for her immediate and unconditional release. The day after al-Sharif’s arrest, another woman was detained for driving a car. In reaction to al-Sharif’s arrest, several more Saudi women published videos of themselves driving during the following days. On 26 May, authorities said that al-Sharif would remain in detention until 5 June 2011, she was conditionally freed on 30 May. She had been charged with “inciting women to drive” and “rallying public opinion”. Al-Sharif filed an objection with the General Directorate of Traffic in Riyadh on 15 November 2011 because officials rejected her driver’s licence application.
The art work – a study of an image from wikimedia.org – watercolour.
“Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realised.”
This article complements article 22 with both encompassing the need for action separately within the State (though not necessarily by the State) and at the international level. But scholarly interpretation differs on whether the entitlement to “a social and international order” recognised in this article bears a normative character or is purely aspirational. However, there is agreement that the intention of the article is referring to the negative affect violence and war have upon the enjoyment of human rights; and that a social and political order in which all the rights in the UDHR could be enjoyed would be possible only if there were peace on both the international and national levels. The relevance of peace to the application of human rights treaties has been expressly recognised by the UN Human Rights Council adopting several resolutions on the promotion of ‘peoples’ right to peace’ (though there seems no great clarity about what a ‘right to peace’ entails). Despite these intellectual debates, the intention of the Drafting Committee was for the last three articles of the Declaration (this article being the first of the three) to provide the pediment which binds the structure together. These articles are concerned with the duty of the individual to society and the prohibition of use of rights in contravention of the purposes of the United Nations Organisation.
Trygue Halvdan Lie
Trygve Halvdan Lie of Norway served as the first official secretary-general of the United Nations from 1946 to 1952. In 1937 Lie entered the Norwegian political scene when he was elected as a representative in the Norwegian parliament. Climbing through the ranks of the Norwegian government, Lie was appointed to numerous ministerial positions including the post of Foreign Minister throughout World War II. Lie led the Norwegian delegation to the United Nations in 1946, and after helping draft the provisions of the United Nations Security Council, he was elected secretary-general as a compromise candidate between the major world powers – Russia and the U.S.A. As Secretary-General, Lie supported the independence of Israel and Indonesia and worked to strike a ceasefire agreement in Kashmir. Upon retiring from the UN in 1952, Lie returned to work in the Norwegian government.
“Those who gave their lives in order that we may be free, those who lost their homes, those who suffered, and still suffer, from the consequences of war have given us a sacred mandate: that is, to build a firm foundation for the peace of the world.”
Trygve Lie, 2 February 1946.
The art work – a study of an image from un.org – watercolour.
“(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law 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.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”
This article clearly states that the individual has not only rights but also duties (Paragraph 1), and that limitations on rights not only may (Paragraph 2) but also must (Paragraph 3) be drawn. But the matter of responsibilities and duties is not articulated in any detail in the UDHR. As such, the proclamation of rights in previous articles of the UDHR is thus accompanied by these three caveats. Two of these ideas seem to be obvious and necessary: that the corollary of rights is duties, and that rights are not unlimited. Otherwise, no social balance and harmony would be possible. However, since the UDHR does not list the duties of the individual, there is no such thing as fundamental or “human” duties in the same way there are rights. Any catalogue of duties to the community – as can be found in some constitutions – would therefore be to some extent arbitrary, or rather a matter of domestic law and politics. (It is worth noting that with the strategic application of limitations, sometimes described as restrictions, or even as forthright exceptions from rights in the signing of treaties and declarations, the issue of permissible limitations/restrictions/exceptions sometimes overshadows the basic principle that a right is supposed to exist, both on the “domestic” or “national” and on the international level.) The third idea is less obvious though its intention is the necessity to balance the exercise of rights with the interest of the world community which the United Nations claim to represent. Article 29 was previously part of a set of three (and then two) articles dealing with the communitarian dimension of rights possession. It has deep connections with the references to “human family” in the first recital and to “the spirit of brotherhood” in Article 1. Article 29 came to be located at the end of the Declaration instead of the beginning, which is where it was until very late in the drafting process. The third paragraph of this article overlaps with Article 30.
In 1946 as a Member of Parliament, Makin was leader of the Australian delegation to the London meeting of the newly formed General Assembly of the United Nations; by virtue of Australia’s alphabetical advantage, he was the first president (1946) of the UN Security Council. UN Security Council (the Council) was established in 1946 under the UN Charter and is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. It is one of six principal organs of the UN and is generally viewed as the apex of the UN system (although its powers and functions are separate to the UN Secretary-General). The Council’s powers include the establishment of peacekeeping and special political missions, authorisation of military enforcement action, the imposition of international sanctions on member states, and the ability to refer matters to the International Criminal Court (ICC). It is the only body in the UN system that can make decisions that are legally binding on all members.
The art work – a study of an image from en.wikipedia.org – watercolour.
“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.”
The last provision of the UDHR sets out a clause the objective of which is to protect the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Declaration in the case of foreseeable attacks from a State, an individual, or from groups of people. In other words, nobody can seek protection in the rights recognised in the Declaration for any attempt against the UDHR itself.
Mogens Lykketoft is a Danish politician In June 2015 who was unanimously elected the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) presiding over the 70th session of the General Assembly beginning 15 September 2015. The President of the UNGA is a position voted for by representatives of the UNGA on a yearly basis. The President presides over the sessions of the General Assembly. Mogens Lykketoft was the only nominee put forward by the Western Europe and other States group to become President. The presidency of the UNGA rotates annually between the five geographic groups: African, Asian, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean, and Western European and other States. Because of their powerful stature globally, some of the largest, most powerful countries have never held the presidency, such as the People’s Republic of China, France, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In particular, it is customary that no permanent member of the UN Security Council ever serves as General Assembly president. A little more on the UN Security Council which has an important role in the governance of the UN system. It has responsibility for approving the admission of new member states to the UN, the appointment of the UN Secretary-General and senior UN officials, and is jointly responsible with the UNGA for the election of judges to the International Court of Justice. The Security Council has unique responsibility and decision making powers and has a range of tools at its disposal.
When faced with a potential conflict, the first response of the Council is to recommend to the parties that they reach agreement through peaceful means. The Council may appoint, or ask the UN Secretary General to appoint special representatives to assist and guide efforts towards conflict resolution. In cases where conflict is occurring, the Council may issue ceasefire directives, send in UN peacekeeping forces or use enforcement actions, such as sanctions. With or without agreement of national governments, the Council can take steps to protect civilians caught in the conflict, for example by allowing access across national borders for humanitarian organisations. The Council can direct Governments to limit stockpiling of certain weapons or disarm, for example by nuclear non-proliferation and destruction of chemical weapons. The Council’s day-to-day functions include the review of UN peacekeeping operations, consultations on specific country situations and monitoring the implementation of UN sanctions regimes through the work of its sanctions committees. The Council is made up of 15 Member States. There are five permanent Members (the P5) – the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia, and the United States – and 10 non-permanent Members (the E10) elected by the UNGA to serve for two-year terms.The Council is the only UN body that allows use of the veto. The veto is exercised when a country votes against a draft decision and so prevents its adoption. It can only be used by the five permanent Members.
The art work – a study of an image from da.wikipedia.org – watercolour.
Hope for the Future
These Champions have achieved much in their lifetime, and sometimes at the greatest of costs.
The worst violations of human rights require immense efforts to be addressed.
But the greatest of efforts cannot succeed without respect for human rights day-by-day,
and it is in the everyday that everyone can make an effort.
It is what we want for ourselves, and we can only have our rights respected if we respect the rights of others.
It is in that act of reciprocation that we all become :