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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) contains 30 separate articles each addressing a specific right. This blog post focuses on Article 5 which reads: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Again, for most human beings, it is crazy that this even has to be said. However, you can glance at news headlines nearly every day and find a story where this human right is violated somewhere in the world.

“A man arrested on suspicion of killing three people and wounding several others during a shooting at a shopping mall in Copenhagen, [Denmark] is being held in a psychiatric facility for 24 days, Danish police said on Monday. The 22-year-old Danish man was known to psychiatric professionals, police said earlier.”

“Highland Park, Ill – Police launched a massive manhunt Monday for a rooftop shooter after at least six people were killed and 24 more were injured at a July Fourth parade in an affluent Chicago suburb, authorities said.”

“Despite the many commitments and the various actions carried out over several years, the reality and the figures show that gender-based violence and harmful practices to girls, such as early or forced marriage, genital mutilation, economic explosion, servitude, force-feeding, alarmingly persist,” said Dr. Najat Maalla Majid.

“Beirut, 17 December 2021 – According to a new report from UNICEF, one in two children in Lebanon is at serious risk of physical, emotional, or sexual violence, as families struggle to cope with the country’s deepening crisis.”

Unfortunately, there are many forms of torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment such as domestic violence, human trafficking, harmful drugging that deadens the spirit and can lead to addiction, dementia or violence; school and workplace bullying, mass shootings, electroshocking, elder abuse, and gender-based violence to name a few.

The question is, what can we do about it?

Every human being needs to know their 30 human rights so they can promote and protect these rights for themselves and others. If you see someone being treated poorly, report it to your local officials. In the USA, there is a National Hotline for reporting potential human trafficking at 1-888-373-7888. There is also a National Hotline for reporting Domestic Violence at 800-799-7233. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, dial 911. There are websites to provide help for elder abuse. Schools and businesses have protocols for reporting bullying. Become familiar with these numbers, websites, and protocols so you can do your part to speak out and help yourself or another.

For a free online course to learn all 30 of your human rights, visit:


“The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.”—Albert Schweitzer


Definitions from:
1  : the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing or wounding) to punish, coerce, or
      afford sadistic pleasure
2  : something that causes agony or pain
    : anguish of body or mind : AGONY
3  : distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument : STRAINING
1  : disposed to inflict pain or suffering : devoid of humane feelings
2  : causing or conducive to injury, grief or pain
    : unrelieved by leniency
  • : lacking pity, kindness or mercy : SAVAGE
: not worthy of or conforming to the needs of human beings
  • : of or suggesting a nonhuman class of beings
     : causing or associated with a low, destitute or demoralized state: causing someone to be
       or feel degraded
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