Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

A Source of Human Rights. (Excerpt)

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

A Source of Human Rights. (Excerpt)

Article excerpt

Several features (of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights] set it apart from both Anglo-American and Soviet-bloc documents, and these should be kept in mind as contests over the meanings of the Declaration's provisions continue. Consider the following: its pervasive emphasis on the "inherent dignity" and "worth of the human person"; the affirmation that the human person is "endowed with reason and conscience"; the right to form trade unions; the worker's right to just remuneration for himself and his family; the recognition of the family as the "natural and fundamental group unit of society" entitled as such to "protection by society and the state"; the prior right of parents to choose the education of their children; and a provision that motherhood and childhood are entitled to "special care and assistance."

Where did those ideas come from? The immediate source was the 20th-century constitutions of many Latin American and continental European countries. …

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