Amnestry International and BlogCatalog are sponsoring today as a day to focus on human rights around the world.

I’ll add a few personal thoughts in support of this effort. First, I would like to emphasize the value of people’s lives, no matter what they believe and where they live. When the historical changeover occurred that made civilian casualties of war an everyday reality, and with the concept of collateral damage well entrenched in the soul of the times, I feel it is important to say that there is no acceptable death of innocents, of civilians, of bystanders. Furthermore, what has happened to the art of diplomacy? Brushed aside as outmoded by the Bush administration, there are now few open lines over which ostensible enemies can communicate. Surely this only helps situations escalate into war, which is a tragedy.

The damage done to women, children and men around the world is not, of course, limited to wartime. After the recent Cyclone, the response of the Myanmar Junta to offers of outside aid was and is simply inexcusable. How this Junta could participate in the decimation of its own country is unfathomable. As Daniel Schorr put it so eloquently on NPR yesterday, it is time for the international community to act, together and immediately, to prevent this tragedy from becoming far worse. This can be done through the United Nations “Responsibility to Protect” resolution of 2005. As Mr. Schorr made clear, this international action must be carried out in spite of the bad name given to “intervention” by President Bush.

It is not enough, however, to respect the right of people to live. As an international community, we must also respect and provide for the basic human rights that go beyond life itself. I join Amnesty International in support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

As further elaborated on Amnesty’s website, and quoted vebatim here, the organization fights for these additional goals:

Women: 15 Steps to Protect Women’s Human Rights

Torture: 12-point Program for the Prevention of Torture

Disappearances: 14-Point Program for the Prevention of “Disappearances”

Extrajudicial Executions: 14-point Program for the Prevention of Extrajudicial Executions

Peacekeepers: 15-Point Program for Implementing Human Rights in International Peace-keeping Operations

Health Professionals: Amnesty International’s Declaration on the Role of Health Professionals in the Exposure of Torture and Ill-treatment

Medical Investigations: Amnesty International’s Principles for the Medical Investigation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment

Internal Displacement: Amnesty International’s guiding principles for addressing the specific needs of internally displaced persons worldwide.”

I hope that everyone can take the time to personally contribute to the struggle, and it is a struggle, for universal human rights.

James K. Bashkin

Copyright © 2008

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  1. This is some great info and I appreciate all who is putting in effort for a green change. You got to check out my site it has alot of great info on Global Warming and Going green videos, what the politics say and all about the recent weather devastations and how they may play a part in Global Warming. Please stop by and keep it green.

  2. Thanks so much, Alaina! I will definitely stop by your site. I have a lens and group on Squidoo (solarenergy and sustainability) so I can blogroll you, etc. Best wishes, Jim

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