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A Milestone in Human History

The campaign "Weltbürger statt Reichsbürger" elucidates universal human rights

Today the Giordano Bruno Stiftung released its brochure "Die Menschenrechte: Wie sie entstanden sind - und warum wir sie verteidigen müssen" ("Human Rights: How they came about - and why we must defend them"). It provides compact information on the historical background and current threats to human rights and can now be ordered free of charge by schools in Germany.

"The adoption of the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' by the General Assembly of the United Nations 70 years ago was a milestone in human history, which had previously mostly thought in the limited categories of its own tribe, nation, or religion," declared Michael Schmidt-Salomon, spokesman of the gbs board, at the House of the Federal Press Conference. Unfortunately, many people are neither aware of the significance nor the origin of human rights.

Only few people know "that the idea of ONE humanity was expressed thousands of years ago, that no politician, but the science fiction author H.G. Wells, initiated the debate on human rights in the 20th century, or that in December 1948 the human rights declaration would perhaps not even have been adopted if activists of the world citizen movement around Garry Davis and Albert Camus had not occupied the UN General Assembly in Paris a few weeks earlier."

The current threat to human rights by nationalists and fundamentalists

One must know these backgrounds in order to correctly estimate the current threat to human rights by nationalists and fundamentalists, Schmidt-Salomon said. In this context he also referred to the "Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam", which recognizes rights only if they are in accordance with Sharia law, and to the "Russian Declaration of Human Rights", which accepts only those rights that are compatible with the Christian Orthodox faith. "Such limited declarations of human rights are inherently contradictory and not worth the paper on which they are written," Schmidt-Salomon explained.

With the campaign "Weltbürger statt Reichsbürger" ("World Citizens instead of Reich Citizens") and the publication of the new brochure preceding the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Giordano Bruno Stiftung is responding, according to the spokesman, "to the growing attempts by politicians such as Trump, Putin, Erdogan, & Co. to put religious and national identities first. This is poisoning the soil on which human rights flourish." 

The brochure "Die Menschenrechte", which includes the complete text of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, can now be ordered free of charge via the Giordano Bruno Stiftung secretariat for educational purposes and political education. The online version of the brochure is also available as a free download on the website of the Giordano Bruno Stiftung (pdf file, 5.4 MB).

The press conference in the House of the Federal Press Conference took place today, Monday, as part of the "Secular Week of Human Rights", which is currently being held in Berlin by the Giordano Bruno Stiftung in cooperation with other secular organizations (including the Atheist Refugee Relief). Further dates of the event series (e.g. with Hamed Abdel-Samad) can be found on the website