Peace Advocate Pushes Human Rights

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - Following the recent approval of the new United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, a Japanese peace advocate has lauded the declaration's emphasis on educating and empowering people on the rights every human is born with.

In his essay, "Learning About Dignity," published on The Japan Times, Daisaku Ikeda, founder of Soka Gakkai International, an international lay Buddhist association focused on advancing peace, culture and education, stressed the importance of public awareness on every man's rights to preserve human dignity.

"It is ultimately necessary to foster, through education, human behavior that is based on an appreciation of the dignity of every life, and thereby prevent violations from occurring in the first place," Ikeda said.

Last December 19, the UN General Assembly in New York adopted the Declaration on Human Rights Educat ion and Training which "recognizes the right of every one to have access to human rights education for the promotion of universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all."

The Philippines, Costa Rica, Italy, Morocco, Senegal, Slovenia and Switzerland worked together over a four-year period with key non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committed to promoting human rights education and in the UN Human Rights Council.

"The declaration reflects the voices of civil society. Its adoption creates a framework through which governments and civil society groups can work together to encourage more people to participate actively in fostering a culture of human rights," Ikeda said.

He further highl ighted the words of Brazilian Austregesilo de Athayde, who was involved in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that "the heart of all discussions of human rights is the battle against discrimination. …