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Realizing the Human Right to Belong

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Articles
March 9, 2019

One hundred years ago, some of the world’s brightest minds were assembled together in the French countryside to try to achieve something unprecedented: a global legal framework for the defense of human rights. Europe had just emerged from the ravages of WWI, and the diplomats, planners, and scholars assembled in Versailles in 1919 saw their work as nothing short of essential for human survival.

They were right. While the League of Nations — which they formally proposed in June of that year — didn’t ultimately succeed, it did lay the groundwork for vital future human rights compacts. It’s a legacy that’s been crucial to preventing and defusing conflicts, defending the environment, and promoting dignity around the world.

A full century after the conception of the League of Nations in 1919, it’s increasingly clear the world is at another inflection point — one like the end of WWI or the end of WWII, which brought the creation of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

While we have thankfully avoided conflict on the scale of the world wars in recent times, we, as a human family, nonetheless face a global challenge on par with those of the last century: we’re facing a crisis of social isolation that’s pervasive, systemic, and threatening to our survival.

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