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On December 10, the world will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

At that time, we can expect that federal and provincial politicians will trumpet Canadas record on human rights. A Canadian, John Humphreys, drafted the Universal Declaration, so we can count on lots of self-serving hoopla.

But in this era of pepper spray and delays to pay equity, hate crimes and increasing corporate rights, it may be useful to remind governments that the Universal Declaration is more than just a piece of paper.

Access to essential public services is not just a privilege. Its a right!

Some sample articles from the Universal Declaration follow. For a copy of the full text, contact your local public library.

Article 7

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Article 23

Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for themselves and their families an existence worthy of human dignityEveryone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of their interests.

Article 25

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being of themselves and their families, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age

Article 26

Everyone has the right to education. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.