Human Rights

December 10 is Human Rights Day, in recognition of the adoption (without dissent) and proclamation on this day in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly. Human Rights Day 2009 starts a year in which “embracing diversity, ending discrimination” is the call for action, in keeping with Article 1 of the Declaration: “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.”

This is very familiar ground to Bahá’ís the world over. Consider that—at a talk given almost one hundred years ago in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—one of the teachings of the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith was summarized by His son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as follows: “Bahá’u’lláh taught that an equal standard of human rights must be recognized and adopted. In the estimation of God all men are equal; there is no distinction or preferment for any soul in the dominion of His justice and equity.”

That a world religion in this day would not concern itself with human rights is preposterous. The Bahá’í Writings are rich in material on the subject. Read about human rights from a Bahá’í point of view, and explore the many related documents such as A Bahá’í Declaration of Human Rights and Obligations and The Human Rights Discourse: A Bahá’í Perspective.

The Bahá’í International Community statement “60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights” indicates the optimism felt by Bahá’ís that, despite the crises assailing humanity on all sides, “the maturing consciousness of a global community, the development of mechanisms for implementation and monitoring of human rights and the rise of a vibrant civil society in support of these rights, holds promise that a global order capable of upholding the dignity and nobility of the individual will be realized.”