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Mark Dowe's Journal (Scotland) 2008

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AC Grayling blogs the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 60.

I shall follow with eagerness this series by AC Grayling, in trying to understand why, although UDHR is meant to be applied universally, it rarely is applied consistently.

Professor Grayling writes saying that human rights were adopted in 1948 by member nations as the basis by which freedoms are constituted and, specifically, that there were no dissenting voices. Perhaps the exercise should be done again on this, the 60th anniversary, at the next UN summit in testing whether this unanimity still holds. If no condescension was forthcoming, how would one establish the degree of hypocrisy from free-loving nations, such as the United States, who have violated virtually every provision contained within the UDHR during the detention of prisoners, for instance, at Guantanamo Bay?

Just like Stephen Hockman QC, who is proposing an International Court of Justice for the prosecution of environmental crimes, why shouldn't their be a similar judicial world governing body, exercising more rigorously the consistent application of the standards inherently written into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?


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ON 2 May 2008 Cyclone Nargis ripped across the coast of Myanmar (Burma), bringing misery & devastation to tens of thousands.

Latest estimates indicate up to 100,000 deaths, as at 8 May, 2008 and up to 1-million people who have been displaced.

Andrew Buncombe (Independent Newspaper, UK) reporting from the Irrawaddy Delta wrote:

... “The great expanse of paddies that once made this part of Burma the most productive rice-growing region in the world is now a bowl of slowly draining salt water, a catastrophe that will continue to be felt after the immediate aftermath clears.” [sic]

Source Map: Economist

... The Dalai Lama is a constant irritant in China's efforts to achieve full international respectability. His stature and access to world leaders keep the issue of Tibet alive, though no country recognises his government-in-exile. And, as Chinese leaders must grudgingly acknowledge, he retains the loyalty of many Tibetans

... GEORGE ORWELL would have understood Chinese attitudes to Tibet. In “1984” he coined the term “doublethink”, or the ability to believe contradictory things. Thus Chinese leaders profess to believe both that traditional Tibetan culture is repugnant, full of superstition and cruelty, and that Tibet is an “inalienable part of China”. They also claim that the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, is becoming irrelevant, yet insist he managed to foment the latest outpouring of anti-Chinese resentment seen in Tibet (sic).

(Economist: 'A colonial uprising' -- March 19, 2008).


Sharia law is Islam's legal system;

It is derived from the Qur’an and the life of the prophet Muhammad;

Sharia rulings help Muslims understand how they should lead their lives;

A formal legal ruling is called a fatwa;

In the West, Sharia courts deal mainly with family and business issues, and

English law recognizes religious courts as a means of arbitration.

. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, answers questions from lawyers following his lecture on Islam and English Law at the Royal Courts of Justice. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips chaired the event.

Video source: Times Newspaper

Source Map: BBC