The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – who has actually read it?


Whenever the conversation turns to the UN Charter of Human Rights and it is discussed more closely, it seems that many people do not actually know it.

One example is the right to asylum. The Charter does not oblige the States, to grant asylum to everybody who enters and applies. There are prerequisites:

“Asylum is protection for those forced to leave their own country because they are persecuted. However, the Universal Declaration recognizes no legal claim to asylum, in other words it grants no right to be awarded asylum, but only the right to seek and enjoy asylum, if it is granted by a State. “

Each and every State is therefore allowed to decline from granting asylum. This makes sense, since ultimately no state can be required to open the gates and welcome all who want to get there when a stampede takes place.

The next thing is the fundamental condition of being persecuted. This does not mean economic hardships (although considering the destitution e.g. in Africa, any humanist is almost forced to help here), but persecution by a state and danger to one’s life. This is to ensure that people are not locked up against their will or murdered in their country, because taking refuge in another country would be illegal worldwide.

In addition, of course, anyone who normally crosses the border to Austria from the south, has entered at least one safe country in which he is secure from prosecution, meaning there are no asylum seekers in Austria (apart from real exceptions) but (almost) only immigrants. But when people fled to us from our neighboring states back in the day, we were the country of asylum and it was not only right, but also imperative to take in all these people on the run.

But now the fundamentally humanistic attitude, which is only a part of the UN Charter – the “we take whoever is in need” – is being used as a policy. This however, is not UDHR Article 14, it is Article 25 “right to social security ” which refers to something different. The UN Charter is to make life humane for ALL people. Not only that of the people who come from somewhere different, it also applies to the people who have been born here.

Vienna-Parlament, Human Rights
Vienna-Parliament, Human Rights

Human rights are indivisible and have no order of priority.

This brazen axiom is constantly breached in our time and these principles are violated. It is but only for the benefit of all mankind, if we treat people differently and do not award them the same value. It is only the elimination of injustice, when we treat a portion of mankind unlike the another under the same conditions. This or that right has much higher ground than any other, it is claimed in this or in that part of the earth. But this is fundamentally wrong. And here are some of the rights that are being violated.

To sweepingly favor one group over others due to an perceived group disadvantage, is contrary to human rights.

Discrimination is always something individual, it relates to the individual and not to others in the group, given that no laws discriminate against an entire group. If this is the case, it should be abolished immediately, as contrary to human rights.

To treat men and women unequally before the law, based on the assertion that a particular form of violence exists only in men (so-called “gender-based violence”), is contrary to human rights.

Placing the burden of having to prove his innocence of an act on a person, because of the accusation of another person, is contrary to human rights.

To be subjected to a general suspicion because of one’s belonging to a group and thus to be monitored without direct reference to the person himself, have one’s property searched or be subpoenaed, is contrary to human rights.

To make laws that allow religions to ignore a person’s self-determination over their own bodies (especially in children), is contrary to human rights.

To restrict free speech, religion and worship (as long as they do not violate other human rights), to obstruct the exercise, is contrary to human rights.

To adopt electoral laws that influence the free list formation and therefore restrict the freedom of choice, to give individual or minority groups in the population representation, is contrary to human rights.

To forbid professions, or to criminalize the purchase or sale because a service is considered immoral, which is carried out with the person’s own body and voluntarily, is contrary to human rights.

To prohibit parents from educating their children, to prescribe them what every child has to learn without alternatives because of different worldviews, is contrary to human rights. Withholding equal education on the basis of characteristics, is just as much.

These are just some of the human rights. But all thirty of them together (without any being valued higher or lower than the other), make up the agreement of mankind to their life together. And just that is the goal here. No moral superiority, no political position or alignment.

Human rights are not only The Rights of Others, whom we see as vulnerable. Same Human rights are valid for all of us. It is a very simple program for each government, but a very difficult task, to balancedly implement these points so that fair treatment of all people on our native soil is made possible. But one to which we are all called.


Provided by: (modified)

Translation from German: Serena Nebo


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