The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;

As Declaration Of Human Rights Approaches 60, ACLU Announces New Campaign And Contest

Document Initiated Global Human Rights Movement


In anticipation of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (UDHR), the American Civil Liberties Union today announced
the launch of "Dignity Begins at Home," a new campaign to celebrate the
document that is the cornerstone of the modern human rights system.
Despite the United States' involvement in drafting the UDHR and
supposed support of the document, it has failed to honor its
commitments under the UDHR, especially within U.S. borders.

"The Universal Declaration of Human
Rights was the first document to recognize the inherent dignity and
inalienable rights of all people in the world," said Jamil Dakwar,
Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program. "If the United States wishes
to claim the high moral ground and assert leadership on the issue of
human rights, it can't just talk the talk; it must also walk the walk
and take its human rights commitments more seriously at home and

As part of the "Dignity Begins at Home" campaign, the ACLU has launched a new website,
The website contains information about the UDHR and a petition calling
on the U.S. government and the next president to recommit to the

In addition, the ACLU is holding a
video contest for youth. Contestants between the ages of 16 and 23
years old are asked to submit an original short video about an article
in the UDHR. The winner will be flown to New York City to attend the
U.N. General Assembly session celebrating the anniversary on December
10, 2008. The winning video will be featured on YouTube and

"Our goal is to ensure that the
principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are recognized
and enforced in the United States," said Dakwar. "The struggle for
universal human rights is far from over, and the next administration
can lead by example by renewing the U.S. commitment to dignity for all
here at home."

Adopted by the United Nations on
December 10, 1948, the UDHR details the basic rights and protections
guaranteed to all people, regardless of "race, color, sex, language,
religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth or other status." The UDHR was drafted in the aftermath
of World War II in reaction to the mass targeting and killing of people
because of their race, religion, sexuality and opinions. Eleanor
Roosevelt chaired the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which drafted
the declaration.

More information about the "Dignity
Begins at Home" campaign, including the ACLU's video contest and a
history of the UDHR, can be found online at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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