Today, as global leaders gathered to memorialize Nelson Mandela it seems only fitting that it is done on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Nelson Mandela’s life was emblematic of the principles by which the document was drafted and adopted.
Between 1946-1948 delegates to the United Nations discussed and drafted an international declaration on human rights that has become a standard for human rights. After World War II, a committee headed by Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt was charged with developing the declaration. Eleanor Roosevelt was an ideal person to champion human rights as the US delegate and vocal advocate in her own country. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948.
“In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Chair of the United Nations Commission that wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
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