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Universal Declaration of Responsibilities of Human Intercourse: a draft proposal


Universal Declaration of Responsibilities of Human Intercourse
The General Assembly
Fundamental Principles for Humanity
Non-Violence and Respect for Life
Justice and Solidarity
Truthfulness and Tolerance
Mutual Respect and Partnership

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This text has been slightly adapted from the draft Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, proposed by the InterAction Council in 1997 (as amended in 1998) for consideration by the United Nations as a complement to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). No action has since been taken on the original proposal (available in many languages). In a reaction to it, the UN approved a Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (53/144, 9 December 1998).

A draft proposal for a very comprehensive Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities was adopted in 1998 in Valencia, under the auspices of UNESCO and the Valencia Third Millennium Foundation, by a high-level group (chaired by Richard J Goldstone) and then submitted for consideration to UNESCO in 1999 as the "Valencia Declaration" (but without any apparent follow-up). An earlier proposal, known as the Trieste Declaration of Human Duties (also known as the Carta of Human Duties), had been drafted from 1992 by the International Council of Human Duties. The Earth Charter (completed in 2000) has also been considered to be a Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities even if it does not bear that name -- notably by recognizing the need for "reproductive health and responsible reproduction".

Since the adoption of the 1948 Declaration, the peoples of the world have been witness to the totally irresponsible, self-interested pursuit of human rights by signatories of it or by those invoking its clauses. They have also been witness to massacres on a scale commensurate with those it was designed to prevent, which continue at this time -- and with merely token response by a United Nations arguably complicit in the process to some degree (as with Srebrenica and Rwanda).

In a Universal Declaration on Democracy (adopted in 1997), the Inter-Parliamentary Union specifies: Democracy is inseparable from the rights set forth in the international instruments recalled in the preamble. These rights must therefore be applied effectively and their proper exercise must be matched with individual and collective responsibilities.

Whilst there has long been a UN Commission on Human Rights, there is no such Commission on Human Responsibilities. The process of Dialogue among Civilizations, initiated by the United Nations in 2001, was immediately followed by the arrogation of the right by some permanent members of the UN Security Council to engage in a "war against terrorism" -- sustained by a religious and strategic mindset regarding a "clash of civilizations". In so doing they set aside some human rights enshrined in international law, notably with regard to the use of torture. Terrorism may be understood as one inappropriate form of human intercourse, just as its causes are another, and as may be the reaction to it. The UN Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (A More Secure World: our shared responsibility, 2004) might be seen as another effort to reframe the question of human responsibility.

Most issues resulting in human suffering and death, that are of concern to the United Nations, are a direct consequence of irresponsible human intercourse -- including global warming and the consequent climate change (see Begetting: challenges and responsibilities of overpopulation, 2007).


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 demand 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,

whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights addresses itself to the inalienable rights of humanity, and to the protection of all people against abuse of power by governments or institutions of governments, this proposed declaration is a moral appeal which addresses itself to issues of conscience and ethical behaviour. While governments are clearly responsible for just and equitable laws, there are many matters of conscience for which we must be our own judges.

Now, therefore,

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