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Stand Up for Dignity: Human Rights and Spiritual Rights

By David Kirshbaum

A few of us attended a special event near the United Nations this afternoon called, "Stand Up for Dignity: Human Rights and Spiritual Rights", sponsored by Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, International Day of Yoga Committee, International Federation of Women in Legal Careers and the Values Caucus at the United Nations, all in honor of International Day for Human Rights, which ended the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Gun Violence. Thus this time period covered a huge array of connected and overlapping issues.

But this event touched on two over-lapping issues that are especially relevant to both the Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence, and the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 - human rights and spirituality (the role of spirituality at the United Nations).

Since the inception of the United Nations in 1945 both issues have been paramount in it's work, with the former being worked on very prominently and the latter only overtly, in that many groups working at the UN were spiritually based. Work on human rights resulted in one of the most important of international laws, the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, on which so many other laws are based.

For me, spirituality is the spirit behind such work that declares and celebrates the supreme value of life - the sense of the rights of life as the central value of human society - of life on this earth. I believe that feeling, that inner feeling is a spiritual feeling, and even a spiritual experience, because it is probably tied to your own inner feeling of spirit and it's intrinsic and primary value above everything else on earth.

And such a sentiment is tied to the central ideas of both the Culture of Peace Movement and the Sustainable Development Goals - that all the issues are related, and that we all must work together to resolve them, for the sake of us all, and for future generations. I personally believe this sentiment of connectedness and unity is a spiritual sentiment based on an inner experience of spirit, as well as a very practical one, because very often working together and the interrelatedness of issues, is the key to getting things done.

David Kirshbaum


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