Saturday, December 13, 2008

Our Universal Human Rights

Photo courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Franciso Public Library

Did you know you have the right to live a life of leisure, participate in the cultural life of your community, and not be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment? On December 10, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted what is known today as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document written in 337 languages outlining basic rights to which every human being is entitled.

If you are curious about the historical context in which this document was written, the participants involved with its creation, and additional information, try exploring the History Resource Center: World by following these instructions:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select “Articles & Databases.” You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select "History & Genealogy" then “History Resource Center: World.”

3. In the basic search box, enter "universal human rights."

4. The first result, an article from the DISCovering World History, provides an overview of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its impact on the world.

The History Resource Center: World, an online global collection of human history, covers over 4,900 years of the past. This database incorporates "secondary sources, primary sources, and full-text articles from academic journals and periodicals from around the world."

Furthermore, in light of the controversial social debates surrounding Proposition 8 on banning same-sex marriages, be sure to check out Geoff Callan's recent award-winning documentary "Pursuit of Equality."

Finally, in honor of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Center at the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library currently has an exhibit commemorating the 60th anniversary of this momentous and historical declaration.

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