Participate in discussion about rights | Editorial

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 10, 1948.

The declaration is the first comprehensive agreement among nations as to the specific freedoms and rights of all human beings. Eleanor Roosevelt called it “the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere.”

The Friday Harbor Group 607 of Amnesty International will celebrate the 60th anniversary of this historic document on Dec. 10. The guest speaker: U.S. Army Capt. James Yee. You may recall that Yee, a Muslim chaplain, was arrested and charged with espionage and treason in September 2003 and held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Yee subsequently was exonerated, all charges were dropped and, without apology, he was honorably discharged from the Army in January 2005.

In rededication and in preparation for this event, the local Amnesty International group, in conjunction with Friends of the San Juan Island Library, invites the public to participate in three monthly panel discussions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to be presented at the San Juan Island Library. All of the events are free. Copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are available without cost at the San Juan Island Library.

The first panel discussion is Sunday, 5:30-7 p.m., and is entitled, “Life, Liberty, and Personal Security. Panelists will discuss Articles 1 to 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The panel members will be Bill Cumming, San Juan County sheriff; Louisa Keys, member of the Amnesty International Group Steering Committee; James McNairy, Friday Harbor High School teacher of American Political System, World Government, and Current Events; Charles Silverman, assistant county prosecutor; and Richard Walker, editor of The Journal of the San Juan Islands.