Riverland Students Learn Human Rights Lesson

November 14, 2018 06:48 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- It was a document created with a goal of protecting us *all*.

And while it's evolved over the years, it still is ... seven decades later.


On Wednesday, students at Riverland community college in Austin learned a lesson in human rights.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the moral North Star for respecting and protecting that every person is born free and equal in dignity and rights," Andrea Cohen said.

It was a defining document in the quest for human rights.

"Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world" Andrea Cohen, Executive Director of the Iowa United Nations Association,  recited for students gathered in the Riverland library. “This is the preamble of the universal declaration of human rights."

70 years ago next month ... the United Nations general assembly adopted a document made up of 30 articles that would define ... and protect ... our human rights.

"Those are the rights you have as a human being because you are a human being and they are inalienable, they can't ever be taken away from you, they're indivisible, you have to have them altogether or they don't mean anything," Andrea Cohen told us.

With that as a framework, many see the central American migrant caravan making its way toward the US as a human rights issue.

"These are people who are legitimately afraid for their lives and they have to leave and they want to find protection and seek asylum somewhere, so that is definitely a human right that they are exercising at that point," Andrea Cohen said.

"People are fleeing and we can definitely do something about it, and that's a human rights issue,” said Makuiy Makair, president of the Riverland chapter of Amnesty International.

The 1948 UN declaration laid the groundwork for what would later become the International Bill of Human Rights.

"To me, it means compassion, morals, ethics,” Makuiy Makair said. “Human rights is just about like the saying, ‘treat others the way you would want to be treated’."


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