The Mission

The mission of www.humandutiesnetwork.com is to make people all around the world aware of their unique and essential role as the guardians of planet Earth and Life upon it, and to help develop a set of rules that enables them to fulfil this role.

Mankind’s record on planet earth

After homo sapiens had appeared on planet Earth, the planet’s history was ever more determined by the activities of this species. The actions of human beings over millennia had mixed effects on the planet and its Life. Some were beneficial, others downright destructive. In the twentieth century the destructive effects, in particular the horrendous loss of human lives in wars, aroused such levels of repulsion with the planet’s humans that Mankind, organised in the guise of the United Nations, decided to put an end to these practices. It did so by recognizing the worth of human beings -- being endowed with reason and conscience -- and granting all the planet’s human inhabitants a number of rights and freedoms.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

That decision materialized with the adoption by the United Nations of the UDHR in December 1948.The Declaration was to become the standard for all nations to be achieved in their legislation. The rights were duly specified in various articles of the Declaration, and duties, the natural companions of rights, were also mentioned (in article 29), but rather puzzlingly as “owed by everyone to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible”. This phrase threw the whole matter in a welter, because logically the community that is owed duties and the one that grants rights should be one and the same: Mankind. But in 1948 Mankind was represented by the United Nations, an organization consisting of sovereign nations, communities of their own. These nations were expected to grant the new universal rights to their citizens, but at the same time they could – as sovereign states -- demand certain duties from them, such as ‘defending the fatherland’. This tangle, as could be expected, halted further development of the concept of universal duties, and left the field of duties to existing values-systems such as religions and ancient cultural traditions, and also for instance to the basic laws of nation states. Each of these had its own concept of duties.

Attempts to repair the absence of universal duties

The absence of codified universal duties for humans began to be felt seriously by the middle of the twentieth century, when people began to realize that Mankind’s habitat, planet Earth, was endangered by their abuse and neglect. Since then, and ever more often when the internet came into being, initiatives appeared to remedy the absence of universal duties. On the internet such initiatives can be found under e.g. Google’s search terms human duties, human duties and responsibilities , human duties responsibilities and obligations, and so on. These initiatives come in different forms: declarations, manifestos, charters, and the like. This website (www.humandutiesnetwork.com) is launching another attempt to develop a list of universal duties, but it is pioneering a different route, namely inviting people themselves to discuss and eventually agree on such a worldwide (planetwide) list of duties.