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drug war-universal declaration on hu

drug war-universal declaration on hu

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Published by Lee Gaylord

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Published by: Lee Gaylord on Jan 10, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The United Nations Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
A new book from Human Rights and the Drug War:
Human Rights and the US Drug War
A treatise to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the
UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
By Chris Conrad, Mikki Norris, and Virginia Resner
72 pages. Only $5.95 + shipping. To order, click here

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN in 1948
as a response to the Nazi holocaust and to set a standard by which the human rights
activities of all nations, rich and poor alike, are to be measured.

(Selected excerpts and analysis)
Click here for UN link to full text
Preamble: Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights
of all members of the human family is the foundation of the freedom, justice and peace in the
Whereas it is essentialthat human rights should be protected by the rule of law.
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in
fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal
rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards
of life in larger freedom.
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United
Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and
fundamental freedoms.
Now, therefore The General Assembly proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every
individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive
by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive
measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and

American civil rights as put forth by the
United States Constitution & the Bill of Rights
The Promise of the American Republic

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments
are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the
consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of
Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of

the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new

Government, laying its foundation on such principles and
organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall deem most
likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

- American Declaration of Independence, 1776
Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 5
"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment."
The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution also protects prisoners
against cruel and unusual punishment
, specifically banning excessive bail and fines.

The Drug War has created Draconian prison sentences and asset forfeitures that are
disproportionate to the offense. Federal mandatory minimum sentences put first-time,
nonviolent, low-level drug offenders in prison for five, 10, 20 years or even life, without
parole - often for longer terms than violent criminals convicted of murder, rape or robbery,

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felons who are eligible for parole. Urine testing without probable cause is an insidious
example of degrading treatment that has become a familiar routine in American schools and
the corporate work place.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 10
"Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public

hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the
determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal
charge against him."

The Constitution guarantees a jury trial, both in criminal cases (Sixth Amendment) and in common law civil suits involving a value over $20 (Seventh Amendment).

Sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimum penalty laws tie judges hands when it comes
to dispensing justice. Physical evidence is replaced with exaggerated estimates. In a group
offense, each person is liable for the whole amount instead of their actual level of
involvement. Back room plea bargaining has replaced public hearings. Furthermore, under
federal civil asset forfeiture law, a person's entire life savings can be seized, without a prior
hearing, and without even being charged with a crime. If the property has a value of less than
$500,000 it can be forfeited administratively, without any judicial proceedings unless the

owner posts a cost bond. Even if he pays the cost bond, the owner can still be deprived of the right to a jury trial through summary judgment, if the judge is not satisfied with the amount of proof he submits on paper. Since most judges have come up the ranks as hard-nosed

prosecutors, they are often biased against the accused.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 11.1
"Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be
presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the law in a
public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his
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