[/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.