Home: The mission

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

BACKGROUND

Driven by the horrendous loss of human life in World War II, Mankind, represented by the newly-formed United Nations Organization, in December 1948 adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a source of legislation that would ensure the dignity and rights of every human being on planet Earth. Article 1 mentioned the ground for granting them rights: “……they are endowed with reason and conscience…..”. Despite extensive discussions on the question whether duties (the natural companions of rights) should also be taken up in the Declaration, on an equal footing with rights, the drafting committee decided not to do so, because the rights granted by states might clash with the duties owed to states, thereby undermining the idea of universal human rights law. (See John Knox, Opinio Juris , November 6th 2007) .In the end, human duties did appear in the Declaration (article 29), but the wording of that article carefully confirmed a state’s ability to restrict an individual’s freedom of choice. Nowhere was the endowment with reason and conscience – the primary ground for granting human rights – referred to.

UNSATISFACTORY UNBALANCE

The absence of a list of universal duties comparable to the list of universal rights apparently was found increasingly unsatisfactory, and from the last quarter of the twentieth century several initiatives were launched to redress this situation. The advent of the internet of course greatly increased the possibility of launching such initiatives . And now the internet shows a sizeable number of proposals under search terms such as “human duties”, “human duties and responsibilities”, “human obligations”, and so on. Apparently, the idea of human duties is beginning to gather attention.

FORM OF PROPOSALS

Most, if not all, of the other proposals for a list of human duties consist of a well-reasoned document (declaration, charter, manifesto, and the like) that aims to convince the reader. This website (HumanDutiesNetwork.com) is trying a different approach, by inviting people to participate in a forum debate. This network of ‘wise women and men’ will hopefully form itself, with participants from all cultures and all corners of planet Earth bringing their experience and their insights, to exchange these in a serious debate on the Forum page. The aim is to end on that List of Agreed Universal Human Duties (LAUHD) that is to become the code of conduct for planet Earth’s citizenry.