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June 18, 2010

June 18, 2010

62 Years Ago Today…

…the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, under the chairmanship of Eleanor Roosevelt, adopted its Draft Declaration of Human Rights setting up a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.” Read the New York Times coverage of the event, and the text of the full document. The final version of the Declaration was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 10, 1948. Below are some of the Declaration’s key provisions:

Preamble

…Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights resulted before and during the second World War, in barbarous acts which outraged the conscience of mankind and made it apparent that the fundamental freedoms were one of the supreme issues of the conflict …

Article 4

No one shall be held in slavery or involuntary servitude.

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

Article 7

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.

Article 12

Everyone has the right to seek and be granted, in other countries, asylum from persecution.

Article 13

No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality or denied the right to change his nationality.

Take a look at that last one [Article 15(2) in the final version] I’d be very curious to know more about the intent of “no one shall be…denied the right to change his nationality,” and about how that has been interpreted and applied over the past 62 years. Does it suggest a human rights-based limitation on nations’ right to limit immigration? Anybody out there with knowledge or informed opinion on this please send us a comment.

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