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Topics: Human rights, United Nations, World War II Pages: 3 (869 words) Published: October 16, 2013

Lemkin and Roosevelt
Kevin Santos
Kean University

After the horrendous violations of human rights during the Second World War, the reformed United Nations instituted a human rights commission, with Eleanor Roosevelt as one of its members. What she contributed to our nation and the world in general may be overlooked as many of her accomplishments go unnoticed, hidden in the shadow of her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Eleanor was appointed chairwoman of the committee that came to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The U.N (post WWII) sponsored the deceleration after pressure from Latin America and other smaller countries that wanted a solid definition of human rights to be made in the United Nations Charter. Mary Ann Glendon states that her most valuable contribution to the committee was urging the installation of a nonbinding code defining human rights (as cited in Fromkin, 2001). She also deduced from the history of her own country that progress and improvement would come slowly, and was under no illusion that the Senate would be unlikely to ratify a treaty that was binding (Fromkin, 2001).

Eleanor and her committee sought to define a worldly standard of human rights. This was the foreseen impact of her committee when drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Eleanor knew she would incur opposition on a uniform standard for human rights, but realized defining the standard was an essential start. She needed other nations and communist countries agree to the same ideologies and not misinterpret her actions as imposing Western Imperialism amongst them (Fromkin, 2001). Eleanor brought to the committee a history of politics and lobbying, but perhaps more importantly her compassion and humble stature, as well as deep trepidation for the futures of WWII refugees. Her compassion for humans and experience was pivotal in the implementation of the declaration (Lewis, n.d., para .3)....

References: Fromkin, D. (2001, April 22). Drawing a Line, However Thin. The New York Times Book Review , p. 13.
Lewis, J. J. (n.d.). Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Women 's History - Comprehensive Research and Information Guide. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from
Winter, J. (2013, June 3). Raphael Lemkin: a Prophet Without Honors - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education. Home - The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved October 14, 2013, from
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