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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...

To read the 30 Articles of the Declaration, click 


The Mill: "One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mill. She was 51 inches high. Has been in the mill one year. Sometimes works at night. Runs 4 sides - 48 cents a day. When asked how old she was, she hesitated, then said, "'I don't remember,'" then added confidentially, "'I'm not old enough to work, but do just the same.'" Out of 50 employees, there were ten children about her size."  - Lewis Hine, Whitnel, North Carolina, December 1908.



Congolese slave children soldiers Congolese slave children soldiers


This brothel keeper and her slaves are in a red-light district in Mumbling, India. The women and girls used in prostitution may be exploited 10 to 40 times a night, sometimes keeping as little as 20 rupees (less than 50 cents) per encounter. The Madam takes the biggest cut for herself, then pays the landlord, the pimps, and her "protectors." Government corruption is one of the driving factors behind the burgeoning trade in human beings.



Here are a few MDC databases that can help you in your Human Rights research:

Opposing Viewpoints in Context 

SIRS Researcher

CQ Researcher Plus Archive

New York Times - Current

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Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. - Voltaire

The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others. ― Julian Bond 

If the prisoner is beaten, it is an arrogant expression of fear. ― Ghassan Kanafani 

Two principles have stood face-to-face from the beginning of time; and they will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. ― Abraham Lincoln 

Whenever there is a conflict between human rights and property rights, human rights must prevail. ― Abraham Lincoln

. . . for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that. –
the Dalai Lama

The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be either good or evil. -- Hannah Arendt

The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. -- Stephen Biko

Democracy is not the law of the majority but the protection of the minority. -- Albert Camus

I realize that I cannot stand by silently as my government executes its citizens. If I do not speak out and resist, I am an accomplice. -- Sister Helen Prejean

A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you. -- Ramsey Clark 

Clean water and health care and school and food and tin roofs and cement floor, all of these things should constitute a set of basics that people must have as birthrights. -- Paul Farmer

Women's rights are an essential part of the overall human rights agenda, trained on the equal dignity and ability to live in freedom all people should enjoy. -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself. -- Robert G. Ingersoll

Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country and a finer world to live in. -- Martin Luther King, Jr. 

We believe that human rights transcend boundaries and must prevail over state sovereignty. -- Jose Ramos-Horta

The world does not need a war against ‘terrorism’, it needs a culture of peace based on human rights for all. -- Irene Khan

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. — Margarert Mead


Principles of the
Nuremberg Tribunal, 1950

Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal. Adopted by the International Law Commission of the United Nations, 1950.

Principle I

Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment.

Principle II

The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law.

Principle III

The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law.

Principle IV

The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

Principle V

Any person charged with a crime under international law has the right to a fair trial on the facts and law.

Principle Vl

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under; international law:

  1. Crimes against peace:
    1. Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
    2. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
  2. War crimes:
    Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or illtreatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
  3. Crimes against humanity:
    Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

Principle VII

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principles VI is a crime under international law.

More on the Neurenberg Trials: 1 & 2 & 3.