Day 9

Credit: Meredith Stern

With nine days to go to our September 8 celebration and call to action on human rights, we focus today on Article 22, which asserts the right to social security in particular and to economic, social and cultural rights generally.

This final section of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 22-27, was one of the controversial points during the framing of the UDHR. The Soviet and Chinese representatives from Communist countries asserted that socioeconomic rights were the most important. The other representatives believed in a more balanced approach, but also knew that the politicians in their countries might balk at too strong an assertion of economic rights, when the emphasis in European and American political traditions had been on civil-political rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt keep all nine members of the committee working to find consensus and compromise. Rene Cassin, a French judge and law professor who later won the Nobel Peace Prize for these efforts, conceived of the entire UDHR as a structure with four co-equal pillars, of which social, economic, and cultural rights are one. His framework is knows and Cassin’s Portico, a visual image of which is posted here.

In the United States, the establishment of Social Security in the 1930s and Medicare in the 1960s have been crucial public benefits to ensure that elder citizens do not suffer a loss of basic dignity. These programs are not perfect, especially because they are in financial straits. Like all important initiatives for justice and the common good, they require citizens and leaders to exercise their responsibilities and sense of solidarity (as in the Preamble and Articles 28-30) to ensure that the implementation of supports for such rights are sustainable now and in the future.

Come #StandUp4HumanRightsCT at the State Capitol on September 8th!

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10 Days & Counting…

Credit: Meredith Stern

Welcome to Day 10 of the countdown to the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally on September 8. Today’s post will highlight Article 16, which focuses on the right to marry and have a family.

The article reads: “(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”

This crucial article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects against forced marriage and child marriage, both of which are still prevalent practices in the Global South. The International Center for Research on Women reports that one third of girls living in the developing world are married before the age of 18, and one in nine are married before the age of 15. Current numbers have led to a projected 150 million girls under the age of eighteen being married throughout the next decade. Girls living in poverty and with lower levels of formal education are disproportionately impacted by this phenomenon; studies indicate that, in some countries, 60 percent of girls with no education are married by age 18, whereas only 1% of those with higher levels of education reported the same.

How can you use your voice and platform to fight the ever-present practices of forced and child marriage around the world? In what ways can your community affect change in this way?

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DAY 11

Credit: Meredith Stern

“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

Welcome to Day 11 of the countdown to the fast-approaching #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally. Our post today is dedicated to Article 3, which essentially encapsulates the intersection of human rights and freedom in a mere six words: life, liberty, and security of person.

The right to life does not solely apply to one’s physical being, which could be violated by instances of war, solitary confinement, and torture. This right also ensures that everyone’s dignity and emotional well-being are not negatively impacted by such things as homelessness, slavery, and discrimination.

The right to liberty is defined as the freedom to act and believe, and is incorporated into Articles 13, the freedom movement, and 18, the freedom of opinion of expression, among others. See our previous post on balancing personal freedom with being mindful of others’ circumstances and reactions when it comes to the freedom of speech for a more in-depth discussion on the right to liberty.

And finally, the right to security of person. Although this aspect of the article deals more with larger concepts such as arbitrary arrest and detention rather than personal security, every person deserves to also carry out various tasks in his/her life knowing that he/she will be safe and protected.

These three rights of Article 3 are also frequently mentioned in other international documents such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This emphasizes the fact that these rights and freedoms are applicable to everyone.

Check out the pages of some of our co-sponsors, who are working to ensure that everyone is able to carry out the rights to life, liberty, and security of person.

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DAY 12

Credit: Meredith Stern

“Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.”

Today, on August 27, we spotlight Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As the country and the world mourn the passing of Senator John McCain, we can notice a connection between the work of the late Senator and the emphasis of this Article. First, McCain had a strong concern for justice in the international order. While he took stances in favor of military actions that were at times at odds with some or many in the human rights community, he was consistently motivated by the rights of civilians suffering under despots.

While McCain urged strong and military actions against international terrorists, he famously was the strongest and most compelling American voice against any use of torture (fyi, see our post about torture from August 20). He did so not not only because he thought it was simply, plainly wrong—a violation of basic human rights—but also because any use of torture by the U.S. would undermine the international order that actually makes the world safe.

McCain’s other famous work was for campaign finance reform and civility in American politics. McCain’s attempts to take unregulated, secret money out of electoral politics was an improvement of the social order, so that politics would be more accountable to the rights and freedoms of all citizens.

Unfortunately, effective action for both the international order and for the political-civic culture is rarely what it should be. McCain’s best works remain to be completed by us. That’s one reason you should come #StandUp4HumanRightsCT on September 8th!

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Day 13

Credit: Meredith Stern

“Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Today, August 26th, we celebrate Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Education is the fundamental bedrock of any people or nation. We tend to think of education in its most typical forms, such as public schooling or higher education; yet we know that education can take on many dimensions and shapes, and does not have to be “one size fits all.”   No matter what an individual becomes later in life, education stands as the hallmark to ensuring said person is informed, knowledgeable and has opportunity for success. Moreso, education can be a tool to creating global citizenry, communities of people driven to make change and promote human rights in impactful ways.

We also must acknowledge that the right to education is sometimes limited and violated in the most insidious ways around the world. Whether it’s the worldwide deficit of 120 million children not attending schools annually, or more direct limitations such as cultural or state sponsored persecution against educational opportunities and outlets, there are direct threats to the right to education we as a world community must address robustly.  

Despite this, there is good work happening, both here in the United States and around the world to support the right to education. The link below outlines some organizations doing incredible work worldwide to support this basic and most sacred right:

7 Organizations Supporting the Right to Education

Moreover, the American Federation of Teachers CT for example, has worked tirelessly to defend the rights of teachers and fight for exceptional educational outcomes across our state.

As students and staff head back to school these next two weeks, we at the Connecticut Human Rights Partnership and the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT campaign would like to wish everyone the best in their new school year. We’d ask everyone to reflect on why the right to education matters in our lives, and how we can best fulfill that central promise of this right, “the full development of the human personality…and the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

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DAY 14

Credit: Meredith Stern

“Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

On Day 14 of our countdown to the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT kickoff, we commemorate Article 27.

It is our basic right as human beings to break away from the routine of our lives and enjoy the richness of cultural life around us. Individuals, too many to count,  around the world have stepped up, used their talents and passions to create some of the most incredible facets of cultural expression. Museums, art exhibits, concerts, performances of all kinds are just some of the venue offered for our exploration and appreciation of that “cultural expression” we all so desire. Despite being widely praised and respected, these individuals and venues can also receive enormous criticism and even suppression by certain powers for perceived attacks against decency, morality or “what’s best for the public.” The right to participate in the cultural life of the community can also intersect with other human rights violations. Take for example the story of  Syrian artist Thaier Halel, barred from his own art exhibit surrounding visa issues:

This article not only guarantees and strives to protect our collective right to enjoy cultural life, but also enjoy the benefits of scientific advancement. With the explosion of social media and new technologies, our lives are connected in ways far more advanced than they were ten years ago. And still, pivotal questions remain around the right being fully secured. Should social media outlets limit freedoms of expression in order to protect for the security and common good of its participants? Do new advances in technology that take an ever increasingly central role in our lives leave us with a blindspot to the suppression of our basic rights? These are questions we must grapple with if we are to FULLY recognize Article 27 in our daily lives.


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Credit: Meredith Stern

On Day 15 of our countdown to the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally, we will be looking at Article 19 of the UDHR, which embodies the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

The freedom of speech is a deep-rooted right, and controversial topic, in American society. The Constitution lays out the right to the free exercise of speech and the press in the very first amendment. Many Americans hold their freedom of speech in the highest regard, even when it comes to expressing unpopular opinions, deeply offensive views, and/or hate speech. However, many Americans also believe that political correctness is an escalating issue in the United States, according to this survey conducted by The Cato Institute (

Political correctness: the avoidance of certain expressions that are perceived to marginalize, exclude, or insult groups of people, especially those identified by external markers such as race, gender, culture, or sexual orientation. The concept has been discussed and criticized by people across the political spectrum. Those opposed to political correctness view it as censorship and restricting the freedom of speech, whereas on the other hand, others see political correctness as a legitimate means of minimizing hate speech and exclusionary practices.

Should one’s freedom of speech and expression be curbed if derogatory and brutally offensive language is used, or is this human right absolutely non-negotiable no matter the circumstances? Which side, or what balance of both, will bring about the change our country and world you want to see? How willing, or unwilling, are you to sacrifice your right to opinion and expression for the well-being of others? Ultimately, these questions are for you to decide based on your own morals, values, and experiences.

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Day 16

Credit: Meredith Stern
“Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.”
Today we celebrate Article 23. The right to work remains a pivotal yet undervalued right that all human beings, no matter who they, are deserving of. Any person is deserving to gain opportunity of employment that he or she seeks. Still we recognize that this universal right is perceived, protected and promoted in varied ways across numerous contexts across the world. In the United States in particular, certain states, legislatures and powers of authority have attempted to co-opt the right to work in an effort to discriminate and marginalize certain workers or constituents. A Washington Post article from April 2018 comments on this exact dilemma:
Stripping workers of basic protections undermines the dignity, respect and rights deserving of any person in employment anywhere. It is also a dangerous precedent to set in any national system.
In addition, Article 23 directly addresses the right for persons to form and join a union in order to protect his or her interests. Unions, despite consistent backlash and rhetoric surrounding their purpose, provide both needed security when it comes to protecting workers individual employment rights, and community and fellowship for members. The Connecticut American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is one such organization that strives to protect and represent the interests of working people across our great state. CT AFL-CIO and its affiliates strive to eliminate all forms of work-place discrimination, and have worked tirelessly to be a voice of change in Connecticut.
We are proud to have CT AFL-CIO co-sponsor the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT kickoff on September 8th, and commit with them to stand up to defend worker’s rights everywhere.
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DAY 17

Credit: Meredith Stern

“Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him or her”

As our countdown continues, today we celebrate Article 10 of the UDHR. The right to a fair, objective trial or hearing is one of the hallmarks of any democratic system of justice. We know that this right is not always ensured, as challenges and limitations of said right take place consistently across the world. Take for example the Philippines. Under the Duterte government, persons suspected of the most minor to most extreme forms of drug trafficking have been harassed, beaten, jailed and even executed, without even the prospect of a fair, impartial hearing to determine their fate. The International Criminal Court, a body setup to fulfill this right coincidentally, as recently as February 2018 initiated a lengthy investigation and report into this maligning of the rule of law by the Duterte government:

ICC Launches Crimes Against Humanity Into Duterte’s War on Drugs

Moreover, in our country, as we continue to deal with the fallout of a policy that has separated parents from their families. Children as young as 6 months have been hauled into so called “immigration courts” without the know how, language skills or proper legal representation to defend themselves, and whose fate is in the hands of one judge.

And yet, in many cases both here and abroad, rule of law and this fundamental right have been supported and secured. No matter what restrictions, limitations, political attacks or legislative actions are put forward, it is incredibly important for every citizen, here in Connecticut, across our nation and our world, to stand up and raise their voices towards the protection of Article 10. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

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DAY 18

Credit: Meredith Stern

Welcome to Day 18 of our countdown! Today, we’ll be looking at Article 25 of the UDHR, which states that everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living and security during outstanding circumstances, such as sickness, disability, unemployment, and old age.


The fulfillment of Article 25 is contingent on a number of other economic, social, and cultural rights, such as the right to property, education, and fair wages (see also No one should have to live in such conditions where the only way to satisfy his or her basic needs is through degrading undertakings, such as forced labor, begging, and prostitution. Yet, according to the World Bank, YaleGlobal Online, and the Walk Free Foundation, in the world, over 750 million people live on less than $1.90 a day, no less than 150 million people are homeless, and an estimated 40 million have been victims of modern-day slavery.


Article 25 also mentions that mothers and children are entitled to special care and social protection. During and after pregnancy and birth, women should have access to high quality care and resources, an environment with safe delivering conditions, and paid maternity leave. However, there are a multitude of “hospitals” and locations around the world that are highly understaffed and under-resourced. Additionally, the U.S. still does not require employers to offer/guarantee paid leave. Paid leave, it is found, leads to outcomes such as a reduction in infant mortality and fewer depressive symptoms reported by the mother, and can have economic benefits as well ( Children especially need the attention and care during the crucial first several months of their lives.


The right to an adequate standard of living remains flexible and reflects the realities of our world as it progresses. However, its fundamental message will always persist: everyone’s basic needs should be met. Our government, along with we, the people, needs to take into account the many elements that impact the rights laid out in Article 25 and be aware of the various barriers marginalized populations face so that we can make accessibility and a high level of well-being more ubiquitous in our country and world.

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