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A Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities

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On This Page: [Preamble]   [Fundamentals]   [Non-Violence & Respect for Life]
[Truthfulness and Tolerance]   [Mutual Respect & Partnership]  [Conclusion]


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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 and implies obligations or responsibilities,

Whereas the exclusive insistence on rights can result in conflict, division, and endless dispute, and the neglect of human responsibilities can lead to lawlessness and chaos,

Whereas the rule of law and the promotion of human rights depend on the readiness of men and women to act justly,

Whereas global problems require global solutions which can only be achieved through ideas, values and norms respected by all cultures and societies,

Whereas all people, to the best of their knowledge and ability, have a responsibility to foster a better social order, both at home and globally, a goal which cannot be achieved by laws, prescriptions and conventions alone,

Whereas human aspirations for progress and improvement can only be realized by agreed values and standards applying to all people and institutions at all times,

Now, therefore

The General Assembly

proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities as a common standard for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this declaration constantly in mind, shall contribute to the advancement of communities and to the enlightenment of all their members. We, the peoples of the world, thus renew and reinforce commitments already proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: namely, the full acceptance of the dignity of all people, their inalienable freedom and equality, and their solidarity with one another. Awareness and acceptance of these responsibilities should be taught and promoted throughout the world.

Fundamental Principles for Humanity

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Article 1

Every person, regardless of gender, ethnic origin, social status, political opinion, language, age, nationality or religion, has a responsibility to treat all people in a humane way.

Article 2

No person shall lend support to any form of inhuman behavior, but all people have a responsibility to strive for the dignity and self-esteem of all others.

Article 3

No person, no group or organisation, no state, no army or police stands above good and evil; all are subject to ethical standards. Everyone has a responsibility to promote good and to avoid evil in all things.

Article 4

All people, endowed with reason and conscience; must accept a responsibility to each and all, to families and communities, to races, nations and religions in a spirit of solidarity: What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to others.

Non-Violence and Respect for Life

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Article 5

Every person has a responsibility to respect life. No one has the right to injure, to torture or to kill another person. This does not exclude the right of justified self-defense of individual or communities.

Article 6

Disputes between states, groups or individuals should be resolved without violence. No government should tolerate or participate in acts of genocide or terrorism, nor should it abuse women, children or any civilians as instruments of war. Every citizen and public official has a responsibility to act in a peaceful, non-violent way.

Article 7

Every person is infinitely precious and must be protected unconditionally. The animals and the natural environment also demand protection. All people have a responsibility to protect the air, water and soil of the earth for the sake of present inhabitants and future generations.

Article 8

Every person has a responsibility to behave with integrity, honesty and fairness. No person or group should aribtrarily deprive any other person or group of their property.

Article 9

All people, given the necessary tools have a responsibility to make serious efforts to overcome poverty, malnutrition, ignorance and inequality. They should promote sustainable development all over the world in order to assure dignity, freedom, security and justice for all people.

Article 10

All people have a responsibility to develop their talents through dilligent endevour; they should have equal access to education and to meaningful work. Everyone should lend support to the needy, the disadvantaged, the disabled and to the victims of discrimination.

Article 11

All property and wealth must be used responsibly in accordance with justice and for the advancement of the human race. Economic and political power must not be handled as an instrument of domination, but in the service of economic justice and social order.

Truthfullness and Tolerance

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Article 12

Every person has a responsibility to speak and act truthfully. No one, however high and mighty, should speak lies. The right to privacy and to personal and professional confidentiality is to be respected. No one is obliged to tell all the truth to everyone all of the time.

Article 13

No politicians, public servants, business leaders, scientists, writers or artists are exempt from general ethical standards, nor are physicians, lawyers and other professionals, who have special duties to clients. Professional and other codes of ethics should reflect the priority of general standards such as those of truthfullness and fairness.

Article 14

The freedom of the media to inform the public and to criticize institutions of society and governmental actions, which is essential for a just society, must be used with responsibility and discretion. Freedom of the media carries a social responsibility for accurate and truthful reporting. Sensational reporting that degrades the human person or dignity must at all times be avoided.

Article 15

While religious freedom must be guaranteed, the representatives of religions have a special responsibility to avoid expressions of prejudice and acts of discrimation towards those of different beliefs. They should not incite nor legitimize hatred, fanaticism and relgious wars, but should foster tolerance and mutual respect between people.

Mutual Respect and Partnership

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Article 16

All men and women have a responsibility to show respect to one another and understanding in their partnership. No one should subject another person to sexual exploitation or dependence. Rather, sexual partners should accept the responsibility of caring for each other's well-being.

Article 17

In all its cultural and religious varieties, marriage requires love, loyalty and forgiveness and should aim at guaranteeing security and mutual support.

Article 18

Sensible family planning is the responsibility of every couple. The relationship between parents and children should reflect mutual love, respect appreciation and concern. No parents or other adults should exploit, abuse or maltreat children.


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Article 19

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any state, group or person the right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the responsibilities, rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of1948.

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