THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS lists the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the Most Translated Document in the world. I have certainly heard about it before, but it is a document that I don't recall having ever read.
"1. All humans are born free with the same dignity and rights."
Drawing on the somber lessons of World War II, a United Nations Commission on Human Rights chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt worked to draft a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In honor of the 60th anniversary of the United Nation's adoption of the Declaration, National Geographic has crafted a beautiful photograph-filled book that introduces readers to this set of human entitlements. In it, they have restated/summarized each of the thirty Articles that make up the Declaration in a manner that provides the essence of each and can be far more easily digested by readers. In my first read through the book, I simply read these boldly-printed restatements and noted the single-word concepts and the photographs that accompany each one. The brevity achieved by the restatements/summarizations result in a set of rights that read as fresh, relevant, progressive, and commonsensical.
"5. Nobody has the right to torture you, bully you, or punish you too severely."
"22. You have the right to get help from your government if you are out of work, sick, disabled, old, or can't make enough money to live on for any other reason."
Reading through the book for the second time, I absorbed the captions (in lighter print) for each illustration. The captions provide facts about the rights that are enjoyed by or withheld from people in various nations around the world (including, in some instances, my own).
For instance, a stark photo of a crudely-built, empty swing is accompanied by the caption, "All over the world, unfair arrests break up families."
Also incorporated into the book are a number of topical poems that come from the ePals community; an introduction by Mary Robinson, the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and a two-page, full-text spread of the complete Declaration as adopted.
"And there but for fortune, may go you or I."
Whether one reads every poem and caption or simply wanders through this eye-catching photographic declaration to consider and savor the rights that are our birthright as members of the human community, EVERY HUMAN HAS RIGHTS will leave a lasting impression on readers of all ages.