The history of mankind is a history of "repeated injuries and usurpations" on the part of man toward man. In the documents I have asked you to read, the universal rights of the individual--man, woman, and child--are addressed or the question of injustice to a particular group is central. The United Nation writes about the tyranny of one nation over another, while setting forth the rights of man; Mrs. Stanton delineates women's grievances and calls for equal rights for women; in a rich and deep idiom, Sojourner Truth echoes Mrs. Stanton's pleas for justice for all women (black and white; rich and poor; scholar and laborer); Dr. King addresses the oppression of Blacks in the U.S. and calls upon all eople who care about human dignity and human rights to respond; in contrast, Hitler argues for the natural superiority of the Aryan race--his racial theory, though deeply flawed, led to the slaughter of six million peple in the Nazi death camps; the United Nations' manifesto is considered the seminal modern document on universal human rights and its Convention on the Rights of the Child "proclained that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance." The Geneva Accords which set out to establish the treatment of soldiers eventually found it necessary also to lay down rules for the conquered peoples.
Everywhere we look today (Haiti, Cuba, Somalia, Sudan, China, Iraq, and other nations singled out for human rights violations--man's inhumanity to man and new theories of "racial cleansing" lead to the mutilation of man's mind and spirit and to racial and ethnic genocide. Our country does not escape censure. The abuse at Abu Grahib, Amnesty International's recent report that female prisoners are often sold as sex slaves to male inmates in our prisons, the controversies over building a mosque not only at Ground Zero which is an extremely sensitive issue but also in Oklahoma and other places across the nation, and the new immigration laws in Arizona, show...
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