Human Rights Dallas

What is the Human Rights Map Project?  The Map Project is a branch of Human Rights Dallas, a diverse effort to make our city a safer and fairer place for all residents to call home. This independent grassroots community movement, which was spearheaded by the Embrey Human Rights Program at Southern Methodist University (SMU), focuses on two related efforts: advocacy and research. The advocacy effort involves leaders from the government, business, nonprofit, education, religion, and civil sectors. It is currently seeking to have Dallas officially designated as a Human Rights City. Based at SMU, the research effort documents landmarks with human rights significance on this digital map.  The map project examines the history of Dallas County since 1850 through a focus on sites where human rights have been upheld or violated

We are grateful for sponsorship from the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute and the Graduate Liberal Studies Program in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Cluster’s guiding principles are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Following the horrors of WWII, a conflict in which some 70 million people were killed, members of the newly-formed United Nations decided to build a framework for a world order recognizing the individual dignity and worthiness of all people.

Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

Of the then 58 members of the United Nations, 48 voted in favor, none against, 8 abstained, and 2 did not vote.

The Declaration consists of 30 articles affirming an individual's rights, which, although not legally binding in themselves, have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, economic transfers, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and other laws. The Declaration was the first step in the process of formulating the International Bill of Human Rights, which was completed in 1966, and came into force in 1976, after a sufficient number of countries had ratified them.

The UDHR recognized 5 different types of rights: civil, political, cultural, social and economic.

The Declaration consists of a preamble and thirty articles:

The preamble sets out the historical and social causes that led to the necessity of drafting the Declaration.

Articles 1–2 established the basic concepts of dignity, liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

Articles 3–11 established other individual rights, such as the right to life and the prohibition of slavery.

Articles 6–11 refer to the fundamental legality of human rights with specific remedies cited for their defense when violated.

Articles 12–17 established the rights of the individual towards the community (including such things as freedom of movement).

Articles 18–21 sanctioned the so-called "constitutional liberties", and with spiritual, public, and political freedoms, such as freedom of thought, opinion, religion and conscience, word, and peaceful association of the individual.

Articles 22–27 sanctioned an individual's economic, social and cultural rights, including healthcare. Article 25 states: "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." It also makes additional accommodations for security in case of physical debilitation or disability, and makes special mention of care given to those in motherhood or childhood.

Articles 28–30 established the general ways of using these rights, the areas in which these rights of the individual cannot be applied, and that they cannot be overcome against the individual.

These articles are concerned with the duty of the individual to society and the prohibition of use of rights in contravention of the purposes of the United Nations Organization.

Our Human Rights Dallas cluster is concerned with all of the above rights as enumerated in the Universal Declaration, and our efforts are designed to mark the violations of these rights, as well as times and places in which rights were upheld, as they have occurred in Dallas, since 1850.