An awful pickle

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The UN Declaration of Human Rights was formulated in 1948, directly after a lifetime of war and tyranny.

It may be agreed that it is like something else from the 18th century, in absolutist terms and based on the individual. The European Convention is no doubt derived from it, but retreats into reality with a mass of qualifying provisions, some so broad it is quite perplexing. Not only that, but a few obligations creep in quietly, whereas any decent democracy should be based on responsibilities as much as rights.

These rights get into an awful pickle with freedom of expression. Tendentious people take the right and forget the obligation. The idea that any country has absolute personal or press freedom is absurd. We have legislation that constrains, and any social consensus that exists is also a constraint. Freedom of the Press is also something to beware of, if it results in editing out fair debate.

And that is the real ‘freedom’, if any exists. All should have the freedom or obligation to debate issues. Even, condemning all and any religion that is bigoted. Which is not the same as being insulting. As a matter of fact, the UN Declaration does not provide freedom of religious observance, so far as human rights are concerned.

R. W. Standing

Sea Road

East Preston

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