The 10th of December marked the 70th anniversary of enacting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On this occasion, the Ordo Iuris Institute and the Christian European Political Movement organised an international scientific conference. This event was a response to the change in the understanding of human rights in certain environments, which have turned them into a tool for political and ideological pressure. This discussion helped to recall the true source of human rights, which is human dignity.
The conference was entitled ‘Legal Implications of Human Dignity’. The guests included scientists and journalists from different countries. They presented the topic by referring to several of its aspects. They raised a number of issues, including law, medicine, psychology and anthropology.
The event was opened by Jerzy Kwaśniewski, the President of the Ordo Iuris Institute. His speech pertained to the changes which have taken place since the enactment of the Universal Declaration.
“The current system has moved far away from the source of human rights, which is the inalienable and inviolable dignity of the human person,” he underlined.
Tymoteusz Zych, PhD, a member of the Board of Directors of Ordo Iuris, gave a lecture entitled: ‘Human dignity as the foundation for the human rights protection system’. It referred to the presentation of the concept of human dignity in human rights acts.
“In the Universal Declaration, human dignity is described as the source of human rights. It is also guaranteed by other documents. It has its place in most constitutions of modern countries. In the Polish Constitution, the concept of human dignity appears three times,” he noted.
Benjamin Harnwell (founder of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute) indicated the consequences of denying the inalienable and intrinsic nature of human dignity. He emphasised that questioning human dignity as the source of rights leads to a dangerous situation, where the state gives and guarantees rights and freedom to people and can thus take them away at any time. Next, Marcin Kulczyk (PhD, a researcher associated with the European Centre for Law and Justice in Strasburg) drew attention to the negative effects of disregarding human dignity as the foundation and source of human rights. Consequently, as Kulczyk concluded, “human rights are once again becoming an instrument of power over men.”
The negative consequences of deprecating human dignity from the perspective of bioethics were highlighted by Błażej Kmieciak, PhD, Director of the Bioethics Centre of the Ordo Iuris Institute. He noted that violation of human dignity causes a series of abuse in medicine, which could be observed, for example, during the Second World War. This abuse can also be seen today when it comes to promoting the killing of unborn children through abortion, or euthanasia of the old and suffering.
Leo van Doesburg from the Christian European Political Movement indicated the opportunities and challenges for the realisation of dignity and rights that can be observed in modern Europe.
“I would like to thank Ordo Iuris for the co-organisation of this important event. We are going through a moral crisis and we must return to our roots to redefine the concept of dignity. There are many challenges ahead of us. We should constantly remind everyone of the meaning of dignity,” he added.
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INTERNATIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF LIFE PROTECTION - DOWNLOAD