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Peace Education

UPF Honors 70 Years of Human Rights

Monza, Italy—The local chapter of UPF held its annual commemoration of the day when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights came into existence. This year’s celebration marked 70 years since the declaration was signed in 1948.

The conference, which took place on December 10, 2018, focused on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Syria and Togo. Journalist Carlotta Morgana was the conference host, together with Carlo Chierico, president of the Monza chapter of UPF.

Mr. Chierico introduced the evening with this thought: "When politics ceases to deal with the people, it must be civil society that takes the field for the defense of rights"—a reference to the words of Gianni Rufini, the director general of the Italian branch of Amnesty International.

Ettore Fiorina of UPF-Monza gave the biblical example of Rizpah, the mother who watched over the bodies of her children and all those who died together with them, because "Every child is the son of everyone."

The speeches were opened by Fabrizio Annaro, director of the online newspaper Dialogue of Monza, who decided to put “good news” on his front page. In his speech he emphasized that good news makes the same imperceptible noise as a forest growing. "The growing forest is the actions of men of good will who exist and act. And that we all can be in our everyday life. We will perhaps never be a majority, but as that 'minority of the righteous' mentioned in the Talmud, we will have the strength to lead the whole world."

Carlo Chierico recalled that all UPF activities have been inspired by the founders, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, citing in particular the activities for peace and human rights developed with great commitment at the world level.

He then introduced the Togolese journalist Kokouvi Aligbo, who was forced to seek political asylum after writing articles not welcomed by the president of his country.

The second speech was by former Senator Albertina Soliani, who testified about the deep friendship she established with the leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi. Senator Soliani described how Aung San Suu Kyi is taking actions to implement a “spiritual revolution” in Myanmar.

The last presentation was given by Lorenzo Locati, who chose to roll up his sleeves and do something, even without government backing. A former professor of physical education, he founded in Monza the non-profit organization known as Insieme (“Together”) to bring humanitarian aid to Syria. Mr. Locati spoke enthusiastically about “the Bandage School” for disabled or abandoned children. “We do not pretend to solve the problem, but at least try to apply a bandage," he said.

After 70 years, the principles written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are entrusted to us. And it is up to us to ensure that those around us can continue to read them by continuing to write them in our lives and in our actions … faithful to the first principle of the charter: "to act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood" … as human beings "endowed with reason and conscience.”

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