Source: On the Wilder Side
On the morning of December 10, 2008, Cindy Sheehan, Nelson Valdes, Saul Landau, and I signed a declaration as the U.S. delegates to an international conference assessing sixty years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sponsored by the Network of Networks in Defense of Humanity. Here is our declaration:
We celebrate sixty years of failure. Human rights have been converted from a noble goal into an instrument of foreign policy used by rich and powerful nations against the poorest and weakest people of the world.
In 2008, almost three billion people throughout the world suffer the most basic privations.
After sixty years of empty human rights rhetoric, we demand that governments focus their attention on fulfilling the promises of 1948. We write this document on the parchment of environment, which everyone shares, and has warned us all to drastically change the ways in which mass production and consumption take place.
The United States is a member of the commonwealth of nations;
Benefits accrue to those who cooperate with the global community and view other countries as potential partners for the upliftment of humankind;
Unfortunately, the leadership of the United States Government has consistently been a disappointment to those of us who value the tenets and the possibilities for humankind embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the rights of self-determination, the rights of women, the indigenous, and the rights of association, expression, and resistance to protect and preserve these precious rights;
Poverty, severe income inequality on one hand and greed and over-consumption by a few, on the other hand, deny for far too many on the planet universal application of the Universal Declaration;
Climate change, unsustainable agriculture, unbridled militarism, terrorism with impunity, nuclear proliferation represent threats to our planet and threats to humankind;
The current implosion of the engine of U.S. imperialism and global capitalism contains the seeds of a new global order in which the rights of humankind and the Universal Declaration can find universal application;
The incoming Barack Obama Administration has a unique opportunity to make a clean break with the policies of the past, including installation of dictatorships, campaigns of invasion, terror, and slander, torture, and occupation, and can build bridges of peace and justice with dignity and respect to Africa, Latin America, and Europe;
Therefore, we call on the President-elect to put the United States on a clear course of global fraternity by
a) invoking the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
b) rejecting torture and terror and demonstrating this by closing and vacating Guantanamo and
ceding to Cuba its rightful patrimony,
c) ending the U.S. embargo,
d) releasing the Cuban Five, and
e) extraditing Luis Posada Cariles;
10. While this list is not exhaustive, it represents a much’needed down payment on hope and change.
11. We will disseminate this document through our respective networks.
Signed: Saul Landau, Cindy Sheehan, Nelson Valdes, Cynthia McKinney