The Internet is a Universal Human Right

Planetary Universal Rights Declaration
Applies to Planetary Internet

UnescoParis:- Friday, 23. February 1996:- Every human being on the planet should get a copy of the text of the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' and keep it handy. You may be in some doubt about your guaranteed 'rights' wherever you may happen to be, so having this short text, will give you a quick idea of where you stand.

I found out, last Tuesday, that the 'Universal Declaration' is not easy to find. If your bookseller doesn't have it in stock, ask them to order it. If it's not available, you might be in trouble, that is, if you are actually on this planet.

Merely knowing what your fundamental 'rights' are is not going to guarantee that you will benefit from them. Although all, or nearly all, countries in this world are signatories to the 'Universal Declaration,' some of them are a little sloppy in the observance. Knowing what rights you should have, rights everyone is entitled to, is not a bad thing.

I am not going to reproduce the entire text - 30 Articles in all; merely the Articles that seem to have a reference to the Internet, because that is where we are. It's sort of a new place, and it is sort of comforting to know that there is a worldwide law that covers behaviour here - in this worldwide 'cyber'-space place.

Article 2: 1. Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
2. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basic of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 11: 1. Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.
2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offense, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offense was committed.

Article 12: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 26: 1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. 3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Unesco_buildingArticle 27: 1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 29: 1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. 2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare of society.
3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30: Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

I did not claim it would be exciting to read, written as it were, by 500 lawyers from all the participating countries. The pact was signed 10. December 1948, and has been since been joined by two additional pacts, plus a large number of conventions concerning specific abuses or rights.

The edition from which the above text was copied, was commissioned by Amnesty International in 1988, and is illustrated by Jean-Michel Folon. Each Article is presented in six languages.

Ed note: it seems possible that this text, written in 1948, did not foresee that ladies would object to being referred to as 'he.' Please substitute 'her' for 'he' where necessary. There are other Articles in the 'Universal Declaration' that directly address special rights for women and families.

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