Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris).

PREAMBLE

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,…”

Article 1.

* All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

* Everyone is entitled to all the 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. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis 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 3.

* Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

 

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 

Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989
Preamble 

The States Parties to the present Convention,

Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Bearing in mind that the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Recognizing that the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, 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,

Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance…

Article 1

For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.

Article 2

1. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members.

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm

 

Dr. Arif Bhimji a founder and spokesperson from the Association for Genital Integrity discusses the rights of infants to genital integrity:

“It is a fundamental principle of international law, as well as the mark of every civilized community, that discrimination is unlawful. Interpretations of human rights law that recognize FGM but not MGM as violations infringe on equal protection principles enshrined in national and international law. Female circumcision is, rightly, a criminal offence in almost every country even when “religious duty” is claimed; there can be no justification for not extending the same protection to boys. All forms of sexual cutting of children are profoundly damaging, whether male or female. To suggest that only female circumcision be regarded as in breach of the various conventions on human rights denies the medical evidence as to the pain, risks and sexual dysfunction from infant male circumcision. It argues for the formalization of discrimination against these male children on the grounds of their sex, race and the religious beliefs of the family into which they are born. Human rights principles are absolute, not subject to balancing in the scales of international justice relative to other violations.”

“The presence of and tolerance for infant male circumcision in our societies harms us all. Male infants need our protection from unnecessary surgery. To contemplate a ban on non-ritual, non-therapeutic circumcision, while allowing ritual circumcision, would be a prohibited discrimination against a group of boys on the grounds of their parents’ religion. These infants will always have the choice to be circumcised later in life, if they so choose to do as a sign of their faith. At that point, at least, it is their own decision and not one that has been imposed irreversibly upon them.’

* Excerpts taken from INFANT MALE CIRCUMCISION – A Violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (2000)
written by ARIF BHIMJI, MD