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Dec 21, 2008

The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights celebrated its 60th anniversary this month, which is a great accomplishment. It has raised awareness around the world and has been a touchstone for rights workers everywhere. What I can't understand is why my country, the United States, continues to vote against resolutions that one would think any civilized nation could support.

Two important resolutions at the UN General Assembly were opposed by the U.S. last week. Maybe it was just a matter of semantics, and with some different wording our representative would have voted for them. But then I looked at the votes cast and it seems clear to me that every other nation did not have issues with the wording. It left me kind of disgusted at the powers that be.

The first was a resolution on the right to food, which would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children continue to die every year before the age of 5 from hunger-related illness, when the planet can produce enough food to feed 12 billion people (twice the world’s population). One hundred and eighty nations voted in favor of making the "right to food" a basic human right, and the U.S. was the only country to vote against it.

The second was a resolution on the rights of the child, which asks nations to create an environment conducive to the well-being of all children, including the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the right to food, the eradication of poverty and the right to education. Again, 180 nations voted in favor, and the U.S. was the only vote against it.

Is this contrary attitude just a carryover from the Bush administration? Will Barack Obama's government change the way we interact with the world?

I certainly hope so.

It's high time we woke up and became good neighbors with the other residents here on Spaceship Earth.

Add your name to these petitions and let our government know how you feel about the issues:

Make Worldwide Hunger a Priority

Tell Obama: Support Human Rights

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Posted: Dec 21, 2008 7:41pm

 

 
 
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Author

Derek Markham
, 2, 5 children
Fort Collins, CO, USA
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