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Excerpts on the New Global RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES

I got a letter a few weeks ago from the International Council on Human Duties. It asked how we could have human rights but not human duties and responsibilities. We need a Universal Declaration of Ethics and a Universal Declarations of Duties and Responsibilities. --Robert Muller

The quality of global governance will be determined by several factors. High among them is the broad acceptance of a global civic ethic to guide action within the global neighborhood, and courageous leadership infused with that ethic at all levels of society. Without a global ethic, the fractions and tensions of living in the global neighborhood will multiply...

Establishing an ethical dimension to global governance requires a threefold approach:

By providing a sense of direction, shared values can help people see beyond immediate clashes of interest and act on behalf of a larger, long-term, mutual interest... We believe that all humanity could uphold the core values of respect for life, liberty, justice and equity, mutual respect... These provide a foundation for transforming a global neighborhood... into a universal moral community...

UN-Determined Rights and Responsibilities

1. Rights are almost entirely defined in terms of the relationship between people and governments. We believe it is now important to begin to think of rights in broader terms... All citizens... should accept the obligation to recognize and help protect the rights of others.

2. Rights need to be joined with responsibilities... Rights can only be preserved if they are exercised responsibly and with due respect for the reciprocal rights of others.

We therefore urge the international community to unite in support of a global ethic of common rights and shared responsibilities... Such and ethic... would provide the moral foundation for constructing a more effective system of global governance. It should encompass the RIGHTS of all people:

All people share a RESPONSIBILITY to:

[Excerpted from Our Global Neighborhood, (Oxford University Press, 1995).]

Reprinted from the June 1996 issue.

Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease?

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