A Humanist contribution to a Celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, at the Unitarian Meeting House, Ipswich, 10th December 2008, organised by the local UN Association.
Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, 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.
Sometimes, when talking to young people about ethical or political issues, I’ve invited them to consider them from a different point of view – that of an interested, intelligent being from another part of the universe. Suppose there were alien anthropologists, or the equivalent, since they wouldn’t restrict themselves to studying one species – ours. What if they came and simply observed human behaviour. What if they came from a planet where there were no wars, where they’d restricted their population and the damage it might do, where they’d established some sort of harmonious relationship with their environment, where everyone regarded him or herself as part of one society, based on their planet, rather than having national or ethnic boundaries. I think they’d probably regard us as a primitive species.