Declaration of Human Rights to be Sent to Space Station

[/caption]On December 10th 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in a direct response to the atrocities committed during the Second World War. Since this landmark moment, the UDHR has been adopted and become the most translated document in history. The declaration consists of 30 articles (or 30 specific basic rights) and all have been worked into international law.

Now the one document that defines an individual’s rights on Earth will be launched into orbit and installed on the International Space Station (ISS), just in time for the 60th anniversary of the declaration’s signing…

All going well, November 14th will see the launch of STS-126, Space Shuttle Endeavour’s resupply mission to the ISS. The seven-member crew is set to deliver equipment to the ISS as well as repair the Solar Alpha Rotary Joints (SARJ). However, Endeavour will also have some extra special cargo on board.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the UDHR, a copy of the historic document will be hand-delivered and placed on board the European Space Agency’s Columbus module. The UDHR will remain on board the science laboratory permanently as a testament to the people on Earth and the astronauts in space who live by these rules.

On Friday, a copy of the declaration was handed to ESA’s Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, by Rama Yade (who is responsible of foreign affairs and human rights within the French government) at the Quai d’Orsay, the French Foreign Ministry. The UDHR has been sealed inside protective packaging to prevent damage from the ravages of space travel.

The ESA Astronaut Corps welcomes this humanitarian initiative. In recognition of the fact that human beings are at times downtrodden, the Declaration can symbolically find its place ‘above’ all the peoples of the world,” said ESA astronaut Léopold Eyharts, who helped to install the Columbus module back in February.

Sources: ESA, Physorg.com

20 Replies to “Declaration of Human Rights to be Sent to Space Station”

  1. What a waste of time. The DOHR did not do much to protect Rwandans when they were butchered in the millions. So now we are going to beam it into space? Typical bs from the useless UN.

  2. @ the above posts: so your answer is to do nothing at all–I assume as much since you have suggested no options of your own. Easy to sit on the sidelines and complain, isn’t it?

    It’s a good step and one of many more, I hope. Glad to see there is some initiative linking human rights and space exploration. And we do need many more initiatives. I hope this will spur a renewed interest in alleviating the suffering of untold numbers…anything to avoid making space exploration simply another playground for those with means….

  3. >The DOHR did not do much to protect Rwandans when they were butchered in the millions.

    Your comment doesn’t do anything either.

    I do have a point, too: the DOHR is just a document, putting it on the same level as your statement. It is just a standard, and the enforcement is left to people that are not the document.

    Your comment is ironic since you probably agree completely with the DOHR here: genocide is an abhorable crime. The fact that it keeps happening is a failure of applying this document (and ethical standards, both yours and mine at least when it comes to genocide), NOT a failure of the document. In saying what is wrong, this document is a complete success. In applying its standards, humanity fails every day – but we have a standard to work towards.

    So don’t lump these things together just because you don’t like the UN.

  4. This is the same UN Declaration of Human Rights that says you have rights only as long as they don’t interfere with the UN. This includes no right to your own life and no right to defend yourself.

    Yeah, that’s a great start – as long as you’re the typical UN dictator. The UN is an atrocity and should be disbanded. It is a disgrace to associate with space travel.

  5. You can’t use Congress to save a drowning man.

    Likewise, the UN (as a “Save the world” bureaucracy) always lacked the direction, speed, and teeth to make its words mean anything beyond the buildings threshold.

    Them producing this document is a nice gesture and all… but its a gesture that took up valuable time that could have been spent working on help for places like Haiti.

  6. David R and Iskender,

    Well if you guys feel that beaming a message into space is more effective than actually implementing the DOHR on earth then we will have to agree to disagree.

    If the UN achieved one millionth of its lofty rhetoric then i would be slightly more amenable. Just talking about doing good is not the same as actually doing it.

    I would also suggest that it is contemptible that we dare think of sending such a message into space when its clearly misrepresentative of the facts on earth. So we are lying about ourselves to the universal community..if there is one.

    Sounds fraudulent to me.

  7. Remember this is the same UN who’s Human Rights council is chaired by just about every major human rights abusing nation in the world.

    Ya lets send them out to space instead of a message…would be more benficial to the future of mankind no doubt.

  8. @ “Well if you guys feel that beaming a message into space is more effective than actually implementing the DOHR on earth then we will have to agree to disagree.
    If the UN achieved one millionth of its lofty rhetoric then i would be slightly more amenable. Just talking about doing good is not the same as actually doing it.
    I would also suggest that it is contemptible that we dare think of sending such a message into space when its clearly misrepresentative of the facts on earth. So we are lying about ourselves to the universal community..if there is one.”

    You didn’t even read my response. So let’s follow your train of logic to its contemptible conclusion. We bash all organizations for trying to do good in the world, we bash anyone for trying to get a little PR for human rights, we bash any group that has made any effort at alleviating human suffering (your post suggested that the UN has done nothing, which is patently false), and since we’re in the season of bashing, we bash anyone else for trying, while we’re at it. You’re angry at the UN for some unstated reason. At least they’re trying something. How many initiatives have you undertaken to alleviate human suffering (including beaming a message into space for the purpose of generating more awareness on planet earth)? I suspect you’re more concerned with bashing the UN for whatever armchair reason you have for disliking them. At least there are people working there that are actually doing something (even if there are “bad people” there, at least there is SOME good being done). There is actual work being done, contrary to your blunt opinion about the UN. You seem to prefer to do nothing because you don’t like the group. Well, I went to school with a lot of mates that used the same logic in grade school.

  9. Laws are just words.
    Contracts are just words.
    All human communication, including yours above, are just words.
    Why did you write anything when you claim such writings to be of no use at all?

    Laws get broken all the time.
    Contracts in business get broken all the time.
    But having them guides people in to what direction to take WHEN they are broken. And actually identify THAT they were in fact broken.

    The fact that there are instances of non-compliance do not in an of themselves deem such things “useless”. These “words” help guide actions, not always to success, but guide them none the less. And the UDHR is a very useful guide in deciding the interaction of humans in the future.

  10. It worries me when posters start using complex and flowery language. It makes me wonder if they’re trying too hard to appear intelligent.

  11. David R

    I read your response. You feel beaming misleading messages about human altruism is an honourable excercise. I dont.

    Like i said lets agree to disagree.

  12. I agree with the sentiment, “How did this end up on Universe Today?”.

    I like this website so much more when it sticks to astronomy, particularily observational astronomy. Deep sky imaging from the various satellites, Hubble and soforth are wonderful, because we get to see what otherwise is denied us to our Earthbound telescopes.

    Cosmology? That’s O.K. if it is not overdone, we have to have some concept of where we came from and what is going to happen in the far distant future.

    Politics? Especially PC stuff? Please, put it in the circular file.

  13. How does all this retoric and opinions end up in Universtoday? Can we please stick to the subject of the artical? If you (the commentators) feel so strongly about the subject (the United Nations) than contact your
    government you voted for and let them know
    how you feel about the UN. This maybe far more effective. If your country is a member of
    the UN? History has past you by, I remember when the declaration was singed, and no one
    carred then, because we all knew that it was
    not worth the paper it was written on! It was a
    politically motivated by our government to look
    good! Those who pay, call the shots or if you have an large army!

  14. jerry?

    I didn’t say that – can there be more than one jerry?

    Sad say, I live in a place where there is still rampant bigotry, sexism, religious intolerance and prejudice based upon sexual orientation. Those who mock written initiatives such as this need to think about how their attitudes are translated into actions by others, especially their own children.

    Declarations are important – so much of what the world is hopefully becoming is based upon powerful written declarations: The Magna Carta, Martin Luther’s letter, Jefferson’s Declaration of Independance, and rhe preamble to the US constitution.

    These powerful documents had to be written, the concepts debated and the merits proclaimed before the objectives can be met. The ISS should be a beacon for human rights; we should all be applauding.

  15. Its difficult to separate politics and space.

    I think the better question is how did this document end up going to an outpost with only 6 people to read it. Especially in light of the UN having much more important things to deal with at present.

    Human rights in space will not be any sort of issue for at least another few decades (at best). By which time the ISS will be long retired and scattered across the pacific.

    The space station is a science outpost, not a warehouse for monuments.

  16. Some day, in a not too distant future, the ” Universal Declaration of Human Rights” will rewritten and thus renamed the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Obligations”.

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