World Citizens and the Awakening of Human Rights;
Safeguarding Human Rights and Rule of Law through Conscience
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Dec. 14, 2014
Protecting human rights is one of the main missions of the United Nations. The UN General Assembly declared December 10th as Human Rights Day – the first international day – in order to bring attention to the state of human rights in the world. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN on December 10th 1948 spearheaded a common ground for world citizens. As stated in Article 1 of the Declaration: “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.” With such understanding as a backdrop, it is evident that the lack of respect for human rights and human dignity is the main cause for the fragile basis of peace and unequal distribution of economic prosperity.
Listening to the voices of the people is at the core of democracy and rule of law. The rules and regulations are made to benefit people and protect the rights of the people. As stipulated in Article 6 of the Declaration for the Movement of An Era of Conscience: “Conscience is the fundamental core of a prosperous nation and a peaceful society. The governance of a nation should be based upon the people and ruled by law to ensure the protection of human rights and dignity.”
In the era of globalization, what do world citizens from across the globe really hope for? Some desire a sip of water or a mouth of food; others hope for a place of peace that will be free from war and disease; others pray for well-being, free from the destruction of calamities and disasters; some wish for secure and joyful living under a just and fair system.
The rule of law is human rights’ last line of defense. The hearts of the policy-makers, law-makers and law enforcers determine if justice and human rights are to be realized. Throughout history, there have been numerous examples of human rights abuse by governments such as violations of rights of life, property, work, fair litigation, freedom, religious belief, assembly and procession. The trust in sovereignty has been impaired. Harmony and stability are at risk and serious confrontations among nations and groups instigated.
Rule of law regulates the outside, while conscience regulates from within. Rule of law is governed by people, while conscience is governed by heaven. Rule of law emphasizes fairness, and conscience is above self-interest. The awakening of conscience leads to awakened citizens. Justice in rule of law depends upon the functioning of conscience. The realization of justice requires conscience to safeguard the rule of law. Practicing human rights based upon people and regulated by law paves the foundation for peace and prosperity.
As world citizens of this beautiful planet, we share this symbiotic relationship with every human being and living creature. Our fate and future are intricately tied to the planet. The concept of symbiosis is the manifestation of human rights – it transcends gender, age, and wealth. It does not differentiate based on power or fame.
Human rights, like sunshine, air and water, are inalienable rights for every human being, and it can’t be denied by anyone, any organization or country! People have the right to know the truth, and have the capability to differentiate between good and evil, right and wrong. The support of the people or the lack of it reflects the degree of human rights protection. The state of poor human rights protection requires people with conscience to proactively take corrective actions so as to return rights to the abused, disadvantaged and vulnerable. We have to work together to create a world of health, security, fairness and human rights for future generations. In this regard, the consolidation of kindness and positive energies is essential.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his report “In Larger Freedom” argued that “we will not enjoy development without security, or security without development…we will not enjoy either without universal respect for human rights. Unless all these causes are advanced, none will succeed. ” The security of the world hangs precariously by a thread, the split second decisions made at critical moments will determine our future; the outcome depends on the cumulative nature of these decisions, if they are weighted toward good or evil. Life is a series of decision-making. Most of us make decisions based upon self-interest. Only a small number of people make decisions based upon the collective interests of people. It is this small group of people that make history and become great leaders.
Human beings are inherently selfish. How do we get rid of our selfishness? The answer is simple; give up fame and gain. The ambition that spurs power and gain is like the dust that accumulates over time and slowly blinds our eyes. Selfish desire is akin to the “One Ring”, a shackle that binds the souls and incites greed. As we lose our wisdom, the voice of our conscience gradually fades into silence. And like a thief in the night, we fall into a directionless ocean devoid of conscience and filled with darkness.
People have grown deaf and blind to the call from conscience because they often ignore it and allow selfish desire to take charge. It requires silence to hear conscience; it requires courage to heed conscience’s call to action; when you accept both unconditionally, wisdom will accompany conscience. The wisdom that comes from conscience is beyond this physical world, and only those who look within themselves will find it. When a spark is ignited by wisdom, a person can illuminate himself/herself and show others the way.
Schooling only lasts for a certain period of time in our journey of life. However, education of conscience takes a lifetime. Education of conscience is a lifelong process of self-progression until the end of the journey. The score card of conscience is the ultimate summary of our life journey. Everyone is only allowed one test with no chance of retaking the exam. This is the judgment by heaven.
What do world citizens want for their future? How will the world develop in 2015 and beyond? Some tasks require immediate action now because we may never have the second chance. The window of opportunity is vanishing like the rain forests. At this critical juncture, only by bringing together all the good people in this world to act according to our conscience, disregarding fame and gain, will we have a chance at changing the energetic field, creating opportunities, saving the planet and leading humanity to a true era of conscience. The time to act is now, as time is running short.