Thursday July 14, 2016

The Discovery of Human Rights

One of the first documents published by the United Nations, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

One of the first documents published by the United Nations, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Three Lions/Getty Images)

Listen to Full Episode 53:57

The modern concept of human rights has profoundly changed our world: genocide, slavery, famine and the oppression of women are no longer acceptable. But what exactly have we achieved, and how do we move forward? Featuring diplomat and humanitarian, and CBC Massey Lecturer Stephen Lewis, with journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong, and former UN prosecutor in Rwanda and international human rights lawyer Payam Akhavan. **This episode originally aired December 10, 2015.
 

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed by the United Nations on December 10th, 1948. In the shadow of the World War II, with its terrible legacy of human suffering and abuse, the nations of the world agreed on a set of principles in a document that would stand, as the United Nations put it --  "as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected."

The battle for universal human rights is by no means over; there have been many gains and more than a few failures.

This episode features diplomat, humanitarian, and CBC Massey Lecturer Stephen Lewis; journalist and human rights activist Sally Armstrong, and former UN prosecutor in Rwanda and International Human Rights lawyer Payam Akhavan. It's one of a series recorded at the Stratford Festival


**This episode was produced by Philip Coulter.