Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

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Yes, it is possible to be both, unless you are someone that thinks that there are only pure absolutes in this universe. If so, then no need for you to continue reading. Just skip on over to the next post in your feed.

But there are a few things that are absolutes for me:

  • Micheal Vick an evil piece of shit and should be incarcerated forever.
  • Liver is disgusting and equally as evil as Vick.
  • My unconditional love for my family, a few friends, and my pets.
  • I loathe injustice and cruelty.

There may be a few more, but not many. I know life is really thousands and thousands shades of gray. I know just as there is no absolute right, there isn’t an absolute wrong.

I know I tried really hard to wrap my head around the Georgia abortion bill HB 481 and I can’t. I read it and re-read it and studied the various analysis of it and walked away with a feeling of dread and worry. Not for me, but for you. I am too old to get pregnant, so this is not something that will affect me directly, but I’m still a woman who cares about other women.

I can usually understand, to some degree, other points of view. I may not agree, but I can get it. I will not profess to fully understand the entirety of this bill, but I understand enough to see that you cannot legislate anyone’s moral compass, ethics, and integrity.

I can’t think with this bill because it is too extreme to be anything other than a blatant attempt to govern and control women and our reproductive rights. It takes away our Human Right to family and marriage because it criminalizes a woman’s right to choose what is best for her and her family. It takes away our freedom of choice to make the decisions we deem correct. That is a form of slavery or at best, dictatorship.

I don’t think it would bother me quite as much if it also included the other half of the equation. Last time I checked, it still takes sperm to fertilize an egg, so why isn’t this bill also including the penalties for the man? Why isn’t the sperm donor also being interrogated and possibly charged with murder if the woman is also charged?

Why is it only women who are being targeted in this bill? If the people that put this together are so damned concerned about the child, why isn’t the man also being held responsible?

I say I am pro-choice and pro-life (I actually hate those terms, but it’s all we’ve got right now) and what I mean by that is this: I PERSONALLY think abortion is wrong. I BELIEVE life begins at conception. I FEEL there are better alternatives for most abortions.

I also BELIEVE that a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body. I FEEL that it is her choice and if she chooses to have an abortion, as much as it is not right for ME, I want it to be safe and legal. I don’t believe in abortion in general, so that means I should not have one.

I have never been pregnant and therefore never had an abortion. I had a few scares when I was younger and though I say that I don’t think abortion is right, trust me it was something I thought about as a teenager when my period was late. I can’t say what I would have done had I been pregnant and not just late, but the idea that I had a choice was important.

I can’t tell you what you should do, anymore than I’d listen to you tell me what I should do. I would never tell a woman what to do, but I sure as hell would make sure she was safe and hopefully making the best decision possible for HER situation.

I cannot even begin to imagine what a woman goes through after a miscarriage. I have seen friends and family grieve for the lost child, the lost hope and the agony of guilt and shame. I have not walked in those shoes but I have seen them.

The idea that any one of them could possibly then be subjected to an interrogation by a prosecutor and possibly charged with second-degree murder is incomprehensible to me. Only a monster would do that and therein lies the problem.

This bill is not about abortion, per se. This bill is not concerned with the welfare and health of children, but is an attempt to further control women via punishment or the threat of punishment for their choices.

I will be honest with you. I would prefer that no woman ever had an abortion, with very few exceptions.

I wish that every woman never had to be put in the position of having to make that choice.

I wish all children were not only welcomed with open arms and given love, security, and health into a family that will care for them, but they all grow up to be happy, healthy, and wonderful citizens who contribute to society and improve it.

I want that for everyone. I think we all do, but I am not naive. The reality is quite different and it is not my place to tell you what you should do or judge you for your decisions.

You and I each have the right to make decisions about our own bodies. I don’t need the government or court to tell me what I think, what my moral compass is, or how to live or behave.

  • I want you to be safe. I want you to be allowed to make the best possible choices for you, your family, and your loved ones.
  • I don’t want you harmed or feel you can’t get out of a bad situation.
  • I don’t want you judged, punished, and forced to live a life you don’t want.
  • I want more funding and help for adoption options.
  • I want more education on our choices.
  • I want the foster child program to no longer be necessary because all children have loving homes and no one has put them in danger.

I want all life to be respected and protected, including yours.

homelesswoman

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

The first time I saw her, I wanted to call the cops. I didn’t like her sitting on the bottom of the stairs that lead to the front door of my apartment. I was living in a 2 story house that had been converted into 2 or 3 apartments. 2 if you didn’t count the room directly to the left of the front door that the landlord was using for storage. He was always saying he was going to rent it out but never did.

I had come downstairs and was making sure the front door locked behind me when I saw her sitting there. She was stooped over and there were 2 large bags stuffed with God only knows what. She had a filthy hoodie pulled over her head. She had on a long skirt that covered her dirty sneakers.

I stood behind her, uncertain of what to do. Should I ignore her and walk to my car? Should I say something? Should l tell her to leave? She wasn’t hurting anyone but she made me uncomfortable sitting on the step. She was in the front yard on private property and didn’t belong here.

Her posture was atrocious. I could see that she wasn’t just leaning over; her back had a gigantic hump that forced her head down to her chest. It was as if her neck and shoulder were fused into one piece. She was bent from the waist down as if her back was frozen that way. She was deformed and it looked painful.

I stepped to her right and walked past. Halfway to my car, I turned around and looked back at her.

She was staring at the ground and I realized that was probably as far up as she could move her head. Her face was covered with dirt and her hands were black with filth. Her nails were crusted over with dirt.

I walked a few paces towards her.

“Are you OK? Do you need anything?”

Her eyes looked up at me. They were a brilliant blue, clear and sharp. She smiled. Most of her teeth were gone but the few that remained were rotten.

“I’ll get out of your way,” she said and began to gather her bags.

“No! That’s OK. You can sit there,” I said. “I just wanted to make sure you’re OK,” I said. I felt like a shit for wanting to call the cops on her. I also hoped the landlord didn’t show up. He’d berate her, throw her off his property and call the cops, just to be sure.

He really was an asshole.

She smiled slightly, shrugged her shoulders and said “I’m fine.”

I nodded and walked over to my car, started it up and put it in reverse. As I pulled away, I looked back at her. She was sitting quietly, staring at the ground.

As I drove away, I felt as if I had just left a toddler alone in my apartment and telling myself that they would be alright.

I didn’t see her again until 3 weeks later. This time she was sitting on the bench in front of my house at the bus stop. Stooped over with her 2 bags and wearing the same clothes. She still sat at that horrible angle. There was no way she wasn’t in pain, yet she sat, as she had done before on the porch, quietly, patiently, and not moving. Just looking at her feet.

I thought about going over and talking to her after I changed my clothes but when I looked out my window a few minutes later, she was gone. I doubted she had taken the bus and had probably been resting for a few minutes.

I would see her every so often over the next few months, walking down the street with her bags and stooped back. Her head was lower than her shoulders and I wondered if she could even see where she was going. She had to stare at the ground while she walked. She always had on the same clothes and she shuffled. It seemed she couldn’t pick up her feet very far up off the ground. Or maybe she could but since she couldn’t see in front of her, she had to walk slowly and carefully lest she walk into something or someone.

I began to worry about her when the weather turned cold. This wasn’t usually a concern of mine since the weather in Silicon Valley was mild compared to most of the United States, but we had our cold snaps and it wasn’t uncommon for the winter temperature get into the 30’s. The Bay Area, smack in the middle of the most liberal state in the Union, was known to have the largest and least cared for population of homeless people. Silicon Valley was booming with new millionaires almost daily due to the abundance of high tech companies we claimed to love and adore, but you were only as good as your last million, the last app you created or the last program you coded.

Why was I worrying about this woman who seemed to wander the few blocks around my apartment? She wasn’t dangerous by any means, so why should I wonder where she was or more importantly, who she was?

I began to imagine what happened to her. She had to have been someone’s child, but was she also someone’s mother or sister or wife? Where was her family? Had she been born deformed or did something happen to her? Was she hurt at some point and was unable to receive medical care and now was cursed to pull her dirty and hurt body around the streets until she dropped dead?

“Who is she?” was a question I would ask myself on my couch while binge watching Netflix. I’d get up and look outside my second story apartment window to see if she was walking by. I never knew if I was disappointed that I didn’t see her or afraid that I would see her shuffling down the street again.

One day while standing in line at Walgreen’s to buy my weekly supply of nicotine gum, of which I was still using 2 years after quitting smoking, I saw her walk in. She came through the automatic doors, her chin forced down to her chest and walked past me. A few people jumped back as she went by. My eyes followed her as she turned down an aisle and disappeared. I didn’t mean to stare but I couldn’t help it.

She was here. She walked into a store just like a normal person. I wanted to go find her but felt that was getting into the territory of stalking. Plus it would just be creepy to follow this poor woman around the store as if she were a freak or treat her as if I thought she would steal.

I paid for my purchase and walked to my car. I unlocked it and threw my gum onto the passenger seat, got in and closed the door. I didn’t start my car. Instead I sat there and stared at the entrance to the store and waited. I didn’t know exactly what I was waiting for except to watch her as she came out. That’s all I knew. I just wanted to watch her and maybe talk to her.

I was also afraid of her. I wasn’t afraid of her because of how she looked or that I thought she would hurt me or curse at me. I was afraid of her because I didn’t want to end up like her. If I didn’t get my shit together soon, I could be her in a decade or two or even sooner. Seeing homeless people scared me or made me nervous because even though I didn’t know their story, I knew they had one. We all do.

I didn’t know what I was going to say but I knew I had to talk to her. She had me worried during the cold weather. I wondered if she had a place to stay and food to eat.

I wondered if she was someone who was completely alone in the world, someone whom everyone tried not to see, someone who we all wanted to disappear and not ever have to think about, someone that we were all terrified of becoming since so many of us lived from one paycheck to the next.

I saw her come out and turn right. Without thinking, I got out of my car and walked towards her. She stopped by a trash can, rummaged through one of her bags, and threw something away.

I cleared my throat and quietly walked up to her. I didn’t want to scare her.

“Hi,’ I said. That was all I could think of.

She raised her head as best as she could and looked at me.

“Hello,” she said.

I stood there, staring at her and realized I was about to be incredibly rude, but I didn’t know what to say, so I said what had been on my mind for months.

“Are you OK?” I asked. “Do you need help with anything?”

She smiled. Her eyes were still blue and her few remaining teeth were still rotten.

“The porch steps,” she said.

I blinked. I didn’t know what she was talking about for a moment and then I realized she remembered me from months ago.

I chuckled “Yes, the porch steps. That’s me.”

She was lucid and calm. Her smile was genuine. I couldn’t quite tell her age. Her skin was like leather, brown from the sun, and wrinkled. She could have been anywhere from the age of 45 to 85. I didn’t know what I expected, but this wasn’t it. I thought someone in her condition, who wandered the streets all day, would be crazy and scary.

“No, I’m fine,” she said and stared to walk away.

“Wait!” I said and followed her. “Are you sure you don’t need anything? I’m sorry, but you look like you could use some help.”

She stopped and turned around. I worried that I had insulted or offended her even though that wasn’t my intent. I found myself, for the first time in a very long time, reaching out to someone.

I hadn’t realized it until that moment, and even then I wouldn’t be able to articulate it for some time, but it had been months since I had really talked to someone. I had the usual conversations at work, which were social and necessary, but I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen any of my friends or done anything other than go to work, worry about money, cry myself to sleep from the loneliness and get up the next morning and do it again.

She looked at me for a moment. “I don’t need any help. Do you?”

I didn’t know how to respond to her. I started to stutter because her words penetrated what social veneer I had left. This was not the conversation I had envisioned. I was prepared to give her money or take her across the street to McDonald’s and buy her a meal. I wasn’t prepared for an actual conversation beyond that.

I wasn’t counting on having her be anything other than grateful for my charity and me feeling like I had done some wonderful and selfless and contributed to mankind, something that would get her out of my head when it was cold.

I was talking to her to help MY conscience. That fact struck me in the face and I felt ashamed.

No, a conversation wasn’t what I wanted but I didn’t know what it was that I did want.

“I’m OK. Could be better but can’t complain….” I said and felt my words fall flat.

She snorted and for some reason, that made me chuckle.

“Look, I’m sorry if I’m bothering you and I don’t mean to offend, but honestly, you look like you’re having a rough time and I was worried about you. I know that sounds strange, and it IS strange, but I keep seeing you around the neighborhood and…well…I just wanted to know if you had a place to sleep…and I’m making a fool of myself, aren’t I?”

“Would you like to treat me to a cup of coffee?” she asked and motioned to the coffee shop a few doors down.

So we went and had coffee. She told me her name was Bernie and she lived in the neighborhood. I didn’t ask where. We chatted about the weather and I never once asked her any questions. I figured she would tell me whatever she wanted.

I glared at the people who stared at her and made them turn away out of shame for staring. I had a look that could turn a person to stone if I was pissed off enough.

She told me about the recent book she had read and recommended it to me. Reading was her hobby and passion. The bags she carried had some clothes but mostly she carried books. She would find the little free libraries throughout the neighborhood and take a book and then put it back when she was done and take another one.

When it was time to leave, I stood up and helped her with her chair and bags. I wasn’t sure if I felt better or worse. I had a million questions for her but even with the way she looked, she had a air of dignity about her.

“Well, good-bye Bernie. I’m sure I’ll see you around, yes?”

“Most likely. Thank you for the coffee, Susan. I enjoyed your company,” she said. She reached into one of her bags, rummaged around and pulled out a book. She handed it to me.

“I think you’ll like this one,” she said and walked away.

“Thank you!” I said and looked down at the book. It was used, which is just the way I like them, but it was in excellent condition. It was “The Black Ice” and it made me smile. I had mentioned during our conversation how much I liked the series by Michael Connelly.

I watched her shuffle down the sidewalk until she was out of sight. I got in my car and drove home. I wasn’t sure what I thought or felt, but there was a part of me that changed. I had reached out to a stranger and nothing bad happened. I talked to a person that may or may not have been homeless and realized it wasn’t money or food she wanted; it was the company of another person who sat with them and listened. She wasn’t that different from me. We were both lonely and for a moment, we weren’t.

After that, I’d look for her on my porch every morning when I’d leave for work and I always felt disappointed when she wasn’t there. I still have some used books in my car to give her, if I should ever see her again.

images

I had the pleasure of talking with a young man yesterday. He’s a friend of a friend and came into the office. Let’s call him Gary, OK?

Gary has been in the United States for 9 years. Prior to immigrating here, he was an attorney in his home land. He has no intention of being an attorney here but is still passionate about human rights.

He told me a story of working for someone here in the US. The man underpaid his employees and was a criminal. Gary, very intelligent and fluent in English, caught-on very quickly what illegal things this man was doing and that he was taking advantage of his employees, many of whom didn’t understand English and did not know their rights.

Gary tried, several times, to get the man to change his ways, but he refused. Gary watched as the employees worked hard yet didn’t know they weren’t even being paid minimum wage.

Gary played a little dumb (smart!) and told the man he would sue. The man laughed at him and blew him off.

Gary then started a class action suit against him. He gathered up all the employees, made sure they understood, took care of them and sued.

And they won. $2,000,000.00 of which Gary took very little from.

For you see, like me, he doesn’t give a crap about money. He just wants people to do well.

I asked him “As someone who has come from another country, what do you think about the US?”

With no hesitation, he said “You know why this is the greatest country in the world? Because we can all come here, be protected, and live our lives. You know there are so many people who want to kill all of you? You know that most of us don’t and that we love you, your government and your Constitution and will die to protect it? Each and every one of us are proud to be an American.”

I choked up, got up and hugged him. I thanked him for being here, for caring about people. He hugged me back.

He talked about our history and I was beyond impressed.

“You guys are rebels and you flipped off those that sought to control you, tell you what to think, what to believe, and how to live. You told them to go to hell, broke all the rules and opened your hearts to the foundation and basis of your country – freedom of religion and that’s why we’re here.”

Remember that our system works. It may not be perfect, but it works.

You just need to be more intelligent on how to use it.

When you rant, rave, share degrading meme’s and pictures of the President of the United States, YOU HURT YOUR CAUSE! You are doing so much more damage and personally, I’m sick of your shit.

I don’t give a flying fuck what you think because you are being an out-of-control idiot and will never get your message across. Those of us who you might have had a conversation with and might have gotten some help, you are immediately muted and written off as stupid.

Here’s some advice from someone who has had 40 years of success in getting people to act:

  • Speak intelligently and talk to each person as if they are important, because they are.
  • SIMPLY state ONE objection and be very specific in that ONE objection.
  • Answer people’s questions AND LISTEN TO WHAT THEY SAY.
  • Give them ONE THING to do and help them do that.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Carry on and get your emotions under control. You’re hurting your cause when you react.

/done

 

 

rail

There are many angels among us. The underground railroad still exits. It’s primary use is salvaging women from the men who hurt them, beat them, kill them and exploit them. Jane is on the run, scared and only knows to go to her pimp. After all, it’s what she was raised to do.

Only 3 people knew where the shelter was and Robert was not one of them. He would call his mother and set up a time and place for the woman to arrive. She would be whisked away and no one knew where. Getting the woman was only a small part of the process. Once she was put in a car, she would be driven to several points in which, each time, she was moved to another car for a minimum of 5 stops. Not one of the drivers knew anything other than where to pick the woman up and where to drop her off. Disposable cell phones were used and the route changed frequently. Before getting into the first car, the woman handed over her cell phone. The battery was taken out and the phone disposed of. She wasn’t just running from an abusive man; she was running from and leaving behind her life.

Now he had to call her and tell her Jane had run. She would be upset and somewhat angry at him even though it wasn’t his fault.

He sighed and dialed her number.

“Robert, where is she?” she asked. She didn’t even bother with “Hello.”

“Mom, I’m sorry, but she ran,” he said. He was a grown man but now felt like a petulant child that his mom was scolding. “I made sure she had cab fare and the sergeant had the address to give the cab driver, but she wouldn’t listen.”

“What do you mean the sergeant had the address? Why didn’t you make sure she got in the cab? I had someone waiting for her all afternoon. Not until the sun began to set did I have her leave the coffee shop. What was so important that you couldn’t talk to her yourself?”

Robert couldn’t help but chuckle. After all these years, his mother still believed that there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do. She had instilled in him that failure wasn’t an option or a choice. She also didn’t understand that a judge cannot be talking with defendant’s or becoming too familiar with them.

“Well, Mom, it’s a bit of a long story…”

“Robert, it always is. You know damn well how skittish and scared these women are. Promise me the next time, you get her to me.”

“Yes, ma’am, I will,” he said because chances were, Jane would be back in a courtroom again. They always came back unless they died. From what he had seen of her, she would surely be dead soon. He prayed that she offended again and he could get her to safety before her pimp or the streets murdered her. It was a waiting game of which would happen first.

The rest of the chapter continues on my Patreon site. I do hope you’ll join in. It’s $2.00 a month. An amazing deal! https://www.patreon.com/SusanLewis

 

 

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Sure, without the pimps, there would be a lot less human trafficking of young girls and boys. I’m in favor of prosecuting the customers and helping the prostitutes. It’s the whole “supply and demand” factor.

But you have to dig much deeper to find out why that child went down the path they did.

What was lacking in their life? How was someone able to grab them and whisk them away?

For each child, there is perhaps a different answer.

I’m often asked “But what can we do? How do we stop this?”

I always answer “What can YOU do in your immediate area?”

Because that’s how this is done. You deal with your block, your neighborhood, your school, your city and start helping individuals.

Don’t expect anyone else to do it. Don’t wait for the government for they are always late on the scene. Laws are being passed, awareness and understanding is increasing, but it’s not enough.

To quote “Truckers Against Trafficking:”

“Imagine if these pimp’s words fell on deaf ears because young people knew they were worth more, knew people loved them, knew they had a future and a hope.

It is very important to be investing in the lives of our own children but also the lives of the youth around us.

Get involved in your community’s outreach programs.

Mentor, tutor, donate much needed supplies to local assistance programs, be kind to the kids in your neighborhood. 

Say hi to the morose teen.

If non-exploitative adults get involved, pimps and exploiters will struggle to get a foothold. Let’s stop allowing this to be so easy for them.” 

Pay attention to your children. Pay attention to the kids around you. Learn the signs. Teach them that they need not look outside themselves for validation. Give them love, too much love. Show them by example, that they are priceless and start with yourself.

Children learn by seeing more than by listening, but they do listen. They watch everything. They miss nothing.

 

Well I’m so glad you asked!

But before I tell you, let me clarify a couple of things:

Rights: Things to which you are entitled or allowed; freedoms that are guaranteed.

Human Rights: The rights you have simply because you are human.

Belief: : a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true; : a feeling that something is good, right, or valuable; : a feeling of trust in the worth or ability of someone.

            Merriam-Webster

Do you see the difference? Rights are clearly definable and agreed upon by the majority. Belief is just what someone holds to be true for THEM.

I may believe that the moon is made of green cheese. I have the right to believe that, even if there is no proof. I can believe that if I want.

But I don’t have the right to force anyone to agree with me. I can live my life believing that and as long as I don’t attempt to force others to agree, we’re good.

And you don’t have the right to try to change my mind. No, you don’t.

If you want to know what the main problem with getting Human Rights implemented, it’s simple.

Most people don’t know what they are or that they are entitled to them. It’s an amazing thing to watch when someone starts to learn them.

So here they are, in layman’s terms, c/o http://www.youthforhumanrights.org

There are 30 of them, so sit back, grab a cup of coffee and learn. We are all entitled to them:

1)      We are all born free and equal. 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.

2)      Don’t discriminate. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

3)      The right to life. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

4)      No slavery. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms

5)      No torture. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

6)      You have rights no matter where you go. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

7)      We’re all equal before the law. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

8)      Your human rights are protected by law. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

9)      No unfair detainment. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

10)  The right to trial. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

11)  ) We’re Always Innocent Till Proven Guilty. a) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense. b)  No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

12)  The right to privacy. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

13)  Freedom to move. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

14)  The right to seek a safe place to live. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

15)  Right to a nationality. Everyone has the right to a nationality. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

16)  Marriage and family. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

17)  The right to ownership. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

18)  Freedom of thought. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

19)  Freedom of expression.  Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

20)  The right to public assembly. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

21)  The right to Democracy. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

22)  Social Security. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality

23)  Workers’ Rights. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

24)  The right to play. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay

25)  Food and shelter for all. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, 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 in circumstances beyond his control. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

26)  The right to education. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

27)  Copyright. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

28)  A fair and free world. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

29)  Responsibility. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

30)  No one can take away your Human Rights. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

And there you have them.

So before any of us starts heading in a direction that will violate someone’s rights, stop and take a look.

Is what is being proposed helping or hurting human rights?

You’ll have your answer immediately.