(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)
The Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Plain language version: When children are born, they are free and each should be treated in the same way. They have reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a friendly manner.
The God (My atheist brothers would prefer the word ‘nature’ instead) has created every person free. It means every person has personal rights or liberty, as one who is not in slavery or confinement.
There are many basic human rights. Every human being is entitled to all the rights, without distinction of race, colour, sex, language, religion, social origin, or other status. When we say every human being is equal in rights, it simply means that every person has every right what anyone else enjoys. A person or a group of persons could not be allowed to enjoy certain privileges. Privileges enjoyed by a certain caste or group enabling them to do whatever they like result in social unrest in the long run.
Equal In Dignity
Dignity is state of being worthy of esteem or respect. Dignity means that a human being has an inborn right to be valued and get fair treatment. Dignity also has expressive meanings relating to human worth. Every person has been created by the God equal in dignity.
Endowed With Reason
Human beings are endowed with reason. They have the capacity for logical, rational, and investigative thinking.
Conscience is the sense of right and wrong that governs a person’s thoughts and actions. Humans are bestowed with conscience as well. They know what is wrong and what is right.
It means that as a human being, everyone is capable to understand that stealing is wrong. It means that everyone understands that providing someone with food is right.
These points (of reason and conscience) in the Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights are very important. If someone steals something, he cannot say that imprisonment as an act of punishment to him is contrary to his basic right of freedom (because he is born free). A criminal must understand that he can be punished for his crimes. Also, he cannot argue that he did not know that stealing is bad. As a human being, because he is gifted with reason and conscience, he naturally knows what is right and wrong.
Spirit of brotherhood
Humans are born free. They are equal. They are equal in rights. They are equal in dignity. Because they are blessed with reason and conscience, they must know that other people have same rights as well. Rights of other people should also be protected. All are equal means all belong to one race, that is to say humanity. We all belong to one family. Thus, the Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights expects that everyone ‘should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood’.