70 Years of Human Rights


On December 10, 1948, the world recognized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard for human dignity: a code by which the peoples of the world should live. It appeared after one of the most deepest tragedies humanity lived, the Shoah. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights took shape in a world devastated by the horror of Nazism, in the wake of the most violent revelation of how human beings can dehumanize each other.

By analyzing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has a preamble and 30 articles, we can observe they refer to basic principles that support the rights of freedom, equality, fraternity and anti-discrimination, as well as those ones related to the rights of personal behaviour, rights of the person in relation to the community, rights of thought, consciousness, religion, political liberties, and economic, social and cultural rights. All of them transcend political systems and individual custom, and they were not invented 60 years ago. They have always been present with us from the beginning of civilization, and we can find numerous passages on the Bible where it is reflected the interest towards the inherent rights to all human beings.


From the Genesis: “And G-d created man in his own image; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27) where essential equality of all men is shown, the ones who have a humanity in common, even the 10 commandments (Exodus 10:1-7) which may be considered a philosophy that ensures the good relationship among human beings. And finally: “Love your fellow as yourself ” (Leviticus 19: 18) is the essence of the Judaism. Hillel says: “What is bad for you, do not do it to your fellow. This is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary.”


All this maintains its currency and universality. The Jewish people have defended those principles. The pain, the experience of persecution and violation of their rights for many centuries have given them courage and strength to protect their rights and, at the same time, this have helped to take consciousness in favor of liberation and human rights of everybody.


An example of this path in favor of the human rights is the State of Israel, as it is mentioned in the text of the Proclamation of the State of Israel (May 14, 1948): “…The State of Israel will encourage the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will base on precepts of Justice, Freedom and Peace taught by the Hebrew prophets; it will maintain full political and social equality of all its citizens without distinction of race, religion and sex; it will guarantee full liberty of consciousness, cult, education, and culture; it will ensure the inviolability and the holiness of churches and holy places of all religions, and it will dedicate its efforts to the execution of the principles of the Letter of the United Nations.”


However, despite more than half century of progress, we have not expanded enough the circle of human dignity. Yet there are many fellows, men and women, who are excluded from the basic rights proclaimed in the Declaration, whose suffering is not fully seen, heard, and felt.


Written in 2008 by Rosita Elnecavé, Director of “La Luz”, a Jewish community magazine from Argentina that is circulated all over Latin America.