Saturday, December 10, 2011, was International Human Rights Day. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted after World War II. With the creation of the United Nations, the international community felt strongly that the crimes and atrocities of World War II should never be repeated and for that to be possible, we needed to be vigilant about the rights of all individuals. The first step in being vigilant was naming those rights.
I included the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Beautiful You (Day 31) because reading the Declaration is a powerful reminder of the real root of our dignity, which is our inherent worth and not our body size, shape, or appearance.
One of the first things to go when we struggle with a negative body image is our own sense of personal dignity. When we can telescope back and see ourselves in a grander sense, a global sense, we can glimpse that dignity and all that it encompasses once again. There is more to reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, though. Reading them reminds of how much work there is left to be done in this world so that each one of us can live a life of dignity and rooted in justice. When we read this declaration, it is hard for our cellulite to feel more important than our connection to community and humanity. Today, please take a moment to read the declaration in its entirety. I have included the Preamble below and a link to the entire document and consider the meaning of these words and the responsibility we each bear in making them a reality.
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.