Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities
March 25, 2012
David Swanson & The Occupy General Assembly
"Whereas a common understanding of human rights and freedoms is false if it omits the eternal vigilance, struggle, and sacrifice necessary to create and maintain them, [therefore, we] shall strive by energetic use of creative nonviolence to promote the actual observance of what have never been but indeed should be made universal, equal, and inalienable rights and freedoms."
Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities
Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not self-enforcing,
Whereas statement of the inherent dignity and of the equal and supposedly inalienable rights of all members of the human family achieves little without a struggle against greed, injustice, tyranny, and war,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights could not have resulted in the barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of humankind without the cowardice, laziness, apathy, and blind obedience of well-meaning but unengaged spectators,
Whereas proclaiming as the highest aspiration of the common people the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want doesn't actually produce such a world,
Whereas nonviolent rebellion against tyranny and oppression must be a first resort rather than a last, and must be our constant companion into the future if justice and peace are to be achieved and maintained,
Whereas governments do not reliably conduct themselves humanely toward other nations' governments unless compelled to do so by their own people and the people of the world,
Whereas a common understanding of human rights and freedoms is false if it omits the eternal vigilance, struggle, and sacrifice necessary to create and maintain them,
Now, Therefore THE OCCUPY GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RESPONSIBILITIES as a common standard of practice for all people, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by energetic use of creative nonviolence to promote the actual observance of what have never been but indeed should be made universal, equal, and inalienable rights and freedoms,
* Human beings are born into every variety and degree of freedom and oppression, privilege and poverty, peace and war. All have a responsibility to work for the betterment of the condition of those around them and those less well off.
* Everyone is obligated to work at building understanding and equality across lines of race, color, sex, ethnicity, sexual-orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, and birth or other status. Everyone is obligated to actively reject the privileging of or discriminating against any such group, whether their own or others', with no exceptions created by the presence of or participation in war.
* Everyone has the responsibility to help organize and take part in resistance to any violation of anyone's right to life, liberty or security of person, whether that violation impacts a single individual or a large number, but in particular including resistance to war of any kind.
* Everyone has a responsibility to work for the swift elimination of slavery and servitude in all their forms.
* Everyone has a responsibility to expose any instance of torture or of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or of any conspiracy to facilitate such acts, and a responsibility to work to end these practices and to prosecute those responsible in a fair and open court of law.
* Everyone has a responsibility to work and to sacrifice something of their own comfort to ensure that every other human being is afforded equal recognition as a person before the law.
* All are obliged to actively oppose any discrimination in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and against any incitement to such discrimination.
* Everyone has the responsibility to insist upon, for themselves and all others, an effective remedy by the competent local, national, or international tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
* Everyone has a responsibility to treat the arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile, of anyone else as though it were that of themselves or a loved one.
* Everyone has a responsibility to understand and require for every human being the right to full equality and to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of their rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against them.
* (1) Everyone is obligated to ensure for anyone charged with a penal offense the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which they have had all the guarantees necessary for their defense.
* (2) Everyone is obligated to ensure that no one shall be held guilty of any penal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offense, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed, and that no heavier penalty shall be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offense was committed.
* All are responsible for not taking part in and for working to eliminate and to legally prohibit any arbitrary interference with anyone's privacy, family, home or correspondence, or attacks upon their honor and reputation.
* (1) Everyone has the responsibility to protect everyone's freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
* (2) Everyone has the responsibility to protect everyone's right to leave any country, including their own, and to return to their country.
* Everyone has the responsibility to protect for all the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution but not from prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes.
* Everyone has the responsibility to protect for all the right to a nationality and the right to change that nationality.
* All are obliged to protect the right of free and fully consenting adults to marry.
* All are obliged to defend the right of all others to own property.
* Everyone has the responsibility to protect freedom of thought for all.
* Every human being has a duty to help communicate to others to the greatest extent possible information about injustice and war, and information about nonviolent efforts to achieve justice and peace. This duty includes a responsibility to work for the creation of meaningful freedom of the press in which the communication of neither current events nor history is dominated or controlled by any privileged group within a society.
* Everyone has the responsibility to frequently exercise or attempt nonviolently to exercise the right to peaceful assembly and association in opposition to injustice or war, and in support of the rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
* Everyone has the responsibility to work for the creation and maintenance of democratic and/or representative government uncorrupted by bribery of any form, by an unfree press, or by arbitrary restrictions on participation as electoral candidates or voters.
* Everyone has a responsibility to struggle nonviolently to alter the political and economic world so as to increase the opportunity for every human being to live, learn, and work in dignity with security from fear and want.
* Everyone has the responsibility to work with others to ensure the protection of one and all to a free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work, to protection against unemployment, to the freedom to join a trade union and to strike, to equal pay for equal work, and to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for themselves and their family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
* Everyone has the responsibility to work not only at their primary career but also for the betterment of society and the establishment of the rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
* Everyone has the responsibility to work for a more just and less wasteful distribution of resources to ensure that one's own and all future generations can provide every single human being, including every child, a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, 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.
* Everyone has the responsibility to assist in the education of themselves and others and to work toward the provision of free, high-quality education, including education in civil responsibilities and the history of social change through people's movements, education directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, education that promotes understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and education that furthers the creation and maintenance of peace.
* Everyone has the responsibility to defend and exercise the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits, and the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which they are the author.
* Everyone has the responsibility to organize, agitate, sacrifice, and struggle nonviolently and strategically for sustainable environmental practices, demilitarization, the development of democratic and representative structures of government, and the realization of the rights found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
David Swanson's books include "War Is A Lie." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio