Reverend Kosho Niwano: On the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

11 Dec 2018

70 Years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

By: Reverend Kosho Niwano

Seventy Years have passed since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The importance of pursuing the ideals and spirit of this Universal Declaration is increasing greatly in our times, which stress that the most important conditions for realizing peace exist in reciprocal recognition and respect for the equal possession of the right to live by every person, as well as in reciprocal protection for this right.    

Human rights violations directly relate to the issue of peace because many lives are lost in the bloodshed resulting from life risking measures taken to protect people people who are suffering from oppression and discrimination to recover their human dignity. Therefore, it is not allowed to ignore or dismiss the issue of human rights in our pursuit of peace. If we, people of religion, who speak about the “equity of human beings”, keep an ambiguous attitude toward this issue, then the authenticity of religion will surely hit the bottom.    

At the same time, we religious people have a role to put a brake on the excessive insistence or requirement of human rights. There might be a possibility for a rise of violence caused by the collision of each other’s insistence of human rights, as a result of the increasing number of people who simply require one’s own right without considering the infliction imposed on others by one’s insistence. In addition, if those rights are being guaranteed and protected by the constitutions or laws, they are not controlled by others. It is only we, ourselves, who can control it.  

Human rights issues cannot be solved unless each of us cares for and considers others, even sometimes controlling our own rights. There exists the role, which only religion could play. The true peace could be realized through cultivating the spirit of not hesitating to abandon one’s own rights for the sake of the happiness of many others, by following religious teachings like love and tolerance for others.