The universal declaration of responsibilities for human rights and Earth trusteeship

On 10 December 2018, the world celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations. The Universal Declaration and subsequent human rights covenants are treasured as precious manifestations of the human spirit. The recognition of equal and unalienable rights of all human beings is an indispensable prerequisite for achieving just and sustainable societies. Our globalised world, however, brings new challenges to this prospect. We all belong to the community of life, the Earth Community, which determines what rights and responsibilities we must recognise the honour for each other, for future generations, for all living beings and the Earth, our home.

The Earth community is in grave danger. Over the last 70 yeas the human population has tripled and disparities in economic wealth have greatly increased. Moreover, overall consumption of Earth’s natural resources by humans has grown at such a rate that the entire Earth system with its interconnected components – the geosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere – are all now at risk. in his way, humanity is threatening the very living conditions that make the enjoyment of civil, political, cultural and economic rights possible in the first place. Human rights must, therefore, include responsibilities for the Earth community and the entire Earth system. These imply obligations and new opportunities for all human beings to act as Earth Trustees.

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The AIEA Board will discuss and endorse this at our next meeting. This is an issue for not only the board but our membership and those who receive this newsletter. We cannot be bystanders to this declaration or at least shouldn’t be if the words as outlined are seen as critical and true.

Key words in the declaration are “ecological integrity” and it is that recognition that is the bedrock of the AIEA.

For details of the principles go to:

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