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December 11, 2012   View Discussion

Human Rights Day Observed on Long Island

Maryann Sinclair Slutsky

by Maryann Sinclair Slutsky - Executive Director

Monday, December 10th was Human Rights Day. The United Nations’ Human Rights Day is annually observed on December 10 to mark the anniversary of the presentation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights drafted by the UN between 1947-48.It aimed to form a basis for human rights all over the world and represented a significant change of direction from events during World War II and the continuing colonialism that was rife in the world at the time.

There were several speakers and among them was Sr. Judy Fay, Director of the St. Raphael Parish Outreach. She recounted the words of Cardinal Pedro Scherer who represented the Catholic Church at the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janiero last June. I found his words and Sr. Judy’s prayer to be a sobering reminder of those who do not have the basic human rights that every living person deserves. Cardinal Pedro Scherer stated:

“The right to water, the right to food, the right to health, and the right to education are intrinsically linked to the right to life and the right to development. Therefore we must be bold in affirming them and equally resolved to safeguard the evident reality that these rights are at the service of the human person.”

Sr. Judy offered a prayer:

For the 925 million people in the world who are malnourished, lacking an adequate amount of healthy food…

For the 46.7 million people in the United States who must rely on Food Stamps…

For the people in the United States and developing countries who do not have health insurance and cannot see doctors when they are ill…

For the currently 1.1 million homeless persons living in the United States…

For all those whose lives are affected by Hurricane Sandy, and those who lost family members, homes and the fruit of their labors…
For the workers who have lost their jobs as corporations move to developing countries to increase their profits, and for workers who work in difficult and unsafe conditions for low pay and no job security…

For the 2.3 million inmates held in prisons in the United States, the majority of whom are African-American and Hispanic, and for states that still practice capital punishment as a tool of order and peace…

For our sisters and brothers who fall victim to racial profiling because of their color, nationality, or faith affiliations…

Thank you, Sr. Judy, for reminding us of those who do not have the very basic human rights we all deserve and for the need to keep fighting for our fellow brothers and sisters who continue to suffer.




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