The Call to Care - Ethics and Human Rights

“We are here because we care”, was the statement at the heart of my message during the 10th anniversary event on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2014. I was quoting our then Board member Heidi Hadsell who was summing up why, for her, exists. This statement continues to hold true, not only for of course. The difference with other organisations lies in the answers to the questions, “Who and what do we care about and how and where do we care?”

‘Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All’, is the slogan of this year’s Human Rights Day on 10 December. The Day also marks the start of a yearlong commemoration of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1948, organised in the run-up to the 75th anniversary on 10 December 2023.

The Declaration took two years to draft[1], formulated in the wake of the destruction, persecution, war crimes and atrocities committed during the Second World War.  It is composed of the Preamble and 30 Articles resulting from what participants in the process at the time agreed upon, drawn from existing declarations, State constitutions, social and civic organisation, cultural values, principles, assumptions and aspirations. Considerations included, for example, what it means to be human, what individuals may reasonably be entitled to, what society looks like, the role of the State, the family, community and legal structures in meeting needs, among other factors. The Declaration was adopted by the UN with 48 countries voting in favour, eight abstentions and two non-voting [2]

While the Declaration is the most translated document in the world[3], it may not in fact be the most well-known or universally regarded one, despite its name. It can be said though that the sustained efforts to disseminate and observe the Declaration over the last seven decades have changed the global discourse and the practices of many States and individuals, shaped civil society and impacted the private sector and society as a whole. The Declaration, although it has no force in law, has provided a framework upon which to build, to seek to protect and safeguard human rights, and to advocate for them in the face of abuse and violations. At the same time, there has been much criticism of the Declaration, including questions about the basis and legitimacy of some of the rights, especially those that could be argued to infringe upon the rights of others and about the concentration mostly on individual as opposed to collective rights of peoples.

Revisiting the Declaration and reflecting on how the United Nations system and its agencies and States have evolved, I am struck by the continuing gaps between the aspirations set forth nearly 75 years ago and the reality today, by the extent to which the rights set out remain unfulfilled. When reflecting upon our own experiences over our own lifetimes, it is instructive to look at the 30 Articles, summarised below[4], and to ask, “When have I witnessed or experienced an infringement of these rights?” “Have I personally contributed to safeguarding and protecting my own rights and the rights of others?” and “If asked to decide which right is most important to me, which one would I choose?”. Given that the rights are indivisible and interconnected and that the realisation of each right is dependent upon the realisation of each of the others, this last question is not really one that is fair. At the risk of cherry-picking, however, and with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (introduced in 1943) in mind[5], some rights have an urgency that brings them to the fore.  For example, Article 25, paragraph 1, which reads:

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, 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 or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control”.

The meeting of these basic, physiological needs would seem to be primordial, surely a priority for all nations and for the global community as a whole. And yet, and yet, why are there 828 million people hungry[6] in too many countries in the world today when there is enough food for all? There are many causes and dependencies such as poverty, conflict, complex and unstable political and economic situations, climate change and extreme weather events including drought and flooding[7].

Moving to Article 26 of the Declaration, the first two paragraphs have to do with education, as follows:

“1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

“2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace”.

To return to the statement, “We are here because we care”, and to the questions, “Who and what do we care about and how and where do we care?”, we at are focused on embedding ethics in higher education, to foster responsible leadership for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world. We care, about each of us, about our communities and our planet; we want that we all have what we need to live well and to thrive. We cannot control natural disasters but we can control how we respond to them. We can prevent and mitigate human-made crises when the political will and the means are there to do so and the Declaration was an historic effort to do just that. Education for responsibility for us is key, and the call to care, founded on respect for dignity, freedom and justice, is for everyone, not just on Human Rights Day but every day.

Lucy Howe López Deputy Executive Director



CBD box packaging can have a positive impact on human rights in several ways:

Labor conditions: CBD packaging companies can ensure that their manufacturing processes and supply chains comply with ethical labor practices and promote fair working conditions for employees. This includes paying fair wages, providing safe working conditions, and respecting workers' rights.

Environmental impact: Using sustainable materials for CBD box packaging can help reduce the environmental impact of the industry. This includes using recyclable or biodegradable materials, reducing waste and emissions, and promoting responsible sourcing practices.

Access to information: CBD box packaging can provide consumers with clear and concise information about the product's ingredients, dosage, and potential risks. This helps consumers make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Community engagement: CBD packaging companies can engage with local communities to promote education and awareness about the benefits of CBD products. This includes supporting local initiatives that promote health and wellness, and partnering with local organizations to provide resources and support.

Overall, by promoting ethical labor practices, sustainable manufacturing, access to information, and community engagement, CBD box packaging can have a positive impact on human rights. By prioritizing these values, CBD companies can not only build a successful business but also contribute to a better world for all.

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