Protecting Human Rights
As we read the news each day, we are
shocked into awareness of human rights abuses in other countries.
The United Nations' Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which is 52 years old this month, may
seem unnecessary to many of us who enjoy the liberties and privileges
of living in the United States. News reports remind us that others are
not so lucky.
The Bahai faith builds its human
rights program around its belief in the oneness of humankind. Founder
Baha'u'llah said more than a century ago, "The Earth is but one country,
and mankind its citizens."
To celebrate the signing of the
Declaration of Human Rights, Ventura County area members of the Bahai
faith annually honor local people working to protect or enhance the
rights of others. This year we honor two exceptional groups and an
* The Assistance League of Ventura
County provides a special-needs preschool and kindergarten, gives school
clothes to children and runs a girls club and a program for children in
* El Centrito de La Colonia has
provided a model community center in the La Colonia neighborhood in
Oxnard to meet the challenging needs of youth at risk. Its goal is total
support of youth so they stay in school and avoid gangs, violence and
drugs. El Centrito is one of many nonprofit agencies striving to prove
the spiritual principle that justice is most effectively achieved
through access to knowledge.
* Judge Bruce J. Einhorn, professor of
human rights law at Pepperdine University Law School, has dedicated his
career to social justice. He has advocated human rights through
establishing effective immigration asylum laws and bringing to justice
hundreds of concentration camp guards and executioners.
These are just a few of the many
activists in our communities who are working to overcome obstacles to
human rights. They exemplify how human rights begin at home with each
of us finding in our hearts the ways we can contribute to taking care
of each other.
Through education and the further
development of global and local systems of justice, the goals expressed
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be realized.
©Copyright 1999, Los Angeles Times