For ALL Sentient Beings, not just human beings.
“Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.” – Albert Schweitzer
I was introduced to a Global Bill of Rights. (follow link to see original)
When I heard of this Global Bill of Rights, I got excited. When I read the Global Bill of Rights, I was a bit disappointed that it did not extend to ALL Sentient Beings, for I know that what we do to others, we do to ourselves. Every religion, tradition, and culture at the core of their tenants has this “Golden Rule” and shares that it extends to all life forms.
There have been several countries which have extended “Rights” to Mother Earth and all Her creatures…Bolivia, Ecuador, New Zealand, to name just a few…
The CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) has introduced a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth
I found myself writing, “I agree and believe in human rights; however, I believe and agree with the countries which have extended these same rights to all sentient beings and Mother Earth itself. These laws they have put into place are fostering and nurturing a degree of compassion and makes them mindful of the decisions they make to be beneficial not only to humans but the environment and non-human animals.”
So, I took the liberty to rewrite this Global Bill of Rights. Here is what came through… at this time…
I welcome your thoughts…
WORLD SENTIENT BEINGS GLOBAL BILL OF RIGHTS:
Article 1 Sentient Dignity
Sentient dignity is the source of all Universal rights, and every sentient being has the right to have enforced in court the rights stated herein, whether they are in their homeland, or any foreign land.
Article 2 Freedom of Speech and the Media
Every sentient being, through the media by the human, has the right to freedom of speech and their expression to be shared; this right includes freedom to see, receive and share information and ideas on public property, or private property that has been opened to the public such as shopping centers, wildlife sanctuaries, and zoos or private property which is in use for public inheritance such as animal agriculture, prisons, or laboratories, whether the ideas are popular or not, and to freely criticize government, religious or business leaders through any media and regardless of borders.
Article 3 Education
Everyone has the right to education, from preschool through college, for free or low cost, as defined by law. Parents have the responsibility to enroll their children in school, unless comparable schooling is offered at home.
All sentient beings have the right to nurture and care for their young they have born free of interference unless deemed harmful or neglective for the young, and has the right to compassionate help when deemed necessary.
Article 4 Freedom of Assembly and Association
All sentient beings have the right to gather and travel peacefully, in small groups or large ones, without weapons or the threat of weapons, be it for migration, watering holes, feeding, to hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets on public lands and other public places. The Earth itself is a public land for all sentient beings.
Article 5 Health Care
All sentient beings have a right to free or low cost health care, including prenatal, vision, dental and mental care, as well as sufficient food necessary for good health as deemed by their species through scientific knowledge.
Article 6 Life
Nations may not practice capital punishment with any sentient being, and given that weapons of mass destruction entails a grave threat to the right of all sentient beings, the use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical, biological or other similar
types of weapons, is prohibited.
Article 7 Physical Integrity
Torture, cruel and degrading treatment of any sentient being is prohibited.
Article 8 Freedom of Worship
Every sentient being has the right to choose his or her own worship beliefs, way of life, or culture. For the human, government
and religion shall remain separate.
Article 9 Equality
Every sentient being is equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law, no sentient being shall be prejudiced or favored because of his or her species, race, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, age, color, disability, wealth, language, national origin, faith, religion or political opinion. In order to promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance a particular sentient being or categories thereof, shall be dismissed for the betterment of all life on Earth.
Article 10 Representative and Voting
All power to govern emanates from the voice of the human through their choice of representatives and not from military position, religion, caste, heredity or any non-elective title or position, therefore, anyone 18 years old, or older, has the right to run for office and to have the chance for election through a secret ballot. To ensure opportunities for widespread participation within the democratic process, and to protect against corruption, no political representative shall serve more than 18 years in one position. Only individuals, not corporations or other entities, shall be allowed to contribute money or other assets to candidates or ballot measures, but individuals may combine to contribute as a group. The total annual contribution by any individual, whether it is to one candidate or divided among several candidates and ballot measures, shall not exceed the median income for the country in which the person resides. Candidates must be willing to ensure the rights of all sentient beings with which we share this Earth with and cannot live here without.
Article 11 Environment
Every sentient being has the right to a clean and healthy environment deemed appropriate for their species, including water that is safe to drink, food that is safe to eat, and air that is safe to breathe. In addition, both for the benefit of future generations and all sentient beings, there is also a right to the preservation of all species’ habitats. All large scale development projects shall consider environmental impacts, including the opportunity for public review and comment.
Article 12 Shelter
Every sentient being has the right, along with his or her family, to shelter without disturbance or threat of harm and includes safe water, and sanitary conditions, as defined by law, electricity for the human. Every human or family given assistance with shelter has a responsibility to temporarily work at that shelter, or elsewhere to pay forward the assistance given.
Article 13 Physical and Intellectual Property
Every sentient being has the right to inhabit land, or own, buy and sell property. The government may not take lands inhabited or deemed sanctuaries for sentient beings without public vote and then it must pay market price for the property and provide an appropropriate alternative.The government must publish a public record showing precisely who owns the piece of property, the species affected, monetary value to be given and the appropriate alternatives. All sentient beings have the right to the protection of their property or lands. All humans have the right to their cultural, artistic, inventions, and ideas which is of their intellectual property.
Article 14 Labor
Every sentient being has the right to choose his or her occupation or profession and to be given a living wage for their work. All sentient beings also have a right to form, join, or have a voice (through a human) in a union and to participate in the activities and programs of a union, including the right to strike and collective bargaining. Every sentient being has the right to offer their services without force, punishment or be discard without due benefits, if they choose to not engage in the work willingly.
Article 15 Privacy and Information
Every sentient being shall have the right to privacy in his or her home, hotel room, vehicle, or vessel and to have interpersonal relations as they choose; therefore, eavesdropping or surveillance of private communications or relationships is forbidden without a court order as part of a criminal investigation, or in the case of the non-human, it shall be non-disruptive or harmful in any way and for scientific research purposes only. In addition, everyone has a right to access, obtain, and correct information collected about them by the government or private companies, unless such information is part of a criminal investigation or prosecution.
Article 16 Family Life
All sentient beings of full age have the right court, partner and engage with whom they choose. Humans have the right to marry and choose who they will marry. Men and women are entitled to equal rights at marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
Article 17 Children
Every sentient being’s child has the right to its Mother and/or parents and shall not be taken by force unless proven harmful to the child or has been given up due to death or disability. Every human child has a right to a name and a nationality from birth. No sentient child while under the explicit care of its parents or under the age of said given adulthood (human is 18) may be recruited as a soldier or otherwise used in armed conflict, even voluntarily. Human children 16 or younger shall not work full time during school hours unless provisions for homeschooling have been established, as defined by law.
Article 18 Citizenship and Movement
All sentient beings have the right to live, move, and migrate freely through any country or land. Sentient beings cannot be withheld from their movements given by their nature, or to protect themselves and have the right to travel freely without fences, borders, traps, or gunfire unless deemed unnecessarily harmful to themselves or others. Sentient beings have the right to bridges, tunnels, trails, roads, and pathways which can and shall be built and respected for all to travel safely.
Currently, as per countries and their boundaries, every human has the right to a document of citizenship. No citizen may have his or her citizenship revoked, nor may any citizen be denied the right to enter freely and leave his or her country. Citizens also have the responsibility to share the costs of public expenditures, including the payment of taxes. To prevent the misuse of taxes, every citizen has the right to present misuse of taxes and any person who presents evidence to their government of the improper use of government funds, and the government retrieves some or all of those funds, may receive 5%-20% of that amount, plus attorney’s fees and costs, as determined by the Court.
Article 19 Culture
Every sentient being has a right to his or her cultural identity, including the right to use his or her own language and engage in his or her own cultural traditions, provided that such exercise does not prevent the traditions of others, or violate the rights embodied in this Bill of Rights.
Article 20 Arrest and Fair Trial
No sentient being shall be killed, arrested or imprisoned without a judicial warrant, unless the arrest occurs during, or shortly after, the commission of a crime. Every arrestee has the right to counsel. Any charges shall be made in a courtroom open to the public, including the news media. The arrestee has the right to personally appear in court and have the validity of the arrest or detention determined within 72 hours by an independent judge, and to have their counsel and public present when this determination is made. Every human being who is charged with any criminal offense has the right to be released prior to trial absent a showing that they will flee or are a danger to others. Every trial includes a fair public hearing within three months from arrest by an independent and impartial court, or a jury of at least six of his or her fellow citizens, at the choice of the person arrested. All sentient beings charged have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Article 21 Search and Seizure
Every sentient being is protected from unreasonable searches, invasions, and being seized, or violated in any way in their home or travels. Every human is protected from the same with their car and belongings such as a phone or computer, work, lockers, ect.
Therefore, a warrant must be obtained from the court prior to the search or seizure unless the search or seizure occurs during or shortly after the commission of a crime, there is a threat of danger to the officer or another person, and there is evidence linking the items seized to the crime.
Article 22 Due Process of Law
Every sentient being is entitled to fair procedures to safeguard his or her rights, therefore, no one may be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. To insure the full realization of rights, every sentient being is entitled to counsel in a court of law when the rights listed in this Bill of Rights are at issue against the government, a government official, or a private individual acting closely with government officials or on behalf of the government. a court of law.
Article 23 Responsibility for Violation of Rights
Any private individual, private or public company, or public official, agent or employee of the government, as well as the government itself, that violates the rights set forth in this Bill of Rights, is not immune from liability, qualified or otherwise, and is responsible to pay damages, including attorney’s fees and costs, to the person or in the name of such sentient being whose rights have been violated.
Article 24 Trial for Violation of Rights
Any person, organization, or company who claims a violation of this Bill of Rights by government officials, agents, or employees, or any private individual or private or public company, shall have a right to a trial by a judge, or a jury of at least six of his or her fellow citizens, at their selection, to decide if these rights have been violated, and they may also obtain injunctive relief from the Court either stopping or requiring an act in accordance with the application of the rights herein. Whether the case is decided by the Court, or a jury, a written public decision will be issued, determining if these rights have been violated.
Article 25 Independent Judiciary
All judges are beholden to the fair and impartial interpretation of this Bill of Rights, and not the nation from which they were appointed, or any other nation, or private entity. Judges must be independent and impartial at all times, therefore, no person shall give a judge any money, gift or service other than the judge’s official salary, and no party to a case, nor any person acting on his or her behalf, may speak to a judge about a case without the presence of, or at least knowledge of, the other party. Judicial independence requires financial independence, and no judge shall earn less than three times the national median income in the country where they preside.
Article 26 Funding Rights and Courts
The rule of law and rights herein benefit the citizens and businesses of all countries, therefore, each ratifying country shall annually contribute one percent of its gross domestic product into an international fund for the creation, use and support of educational, healthcare and judicial facilities, and salaries internationally, including the Courts described in Articles 27-34. The funding shall be distributed by an independent international non-governmental organization comprised of leaders appointed in a similar manner to the judges on the International Court of Human Rights described below.
Article 27 Composition of the Court
An International Court of Sentient Rights shall be created. The Court shall be comprised of one judge from each country that has ratified this Bill of Rights in its entirety, without reservation. Regional courts, subject to review by the International Court, and composed of one judge from each country in the region, shall also be organized through the continued operation of existing regional courts, and the creation of new ones.
Article 28 Terms of Service for Justices
The judges’ terms for the International Court of Sentient Rights and the Regional Courts shall be six years and no judge may serve more than three terms. Each judge shall have four law clerks, selected by the judge, with at least two of the four coming from countries different than the country that nominated the judge.
Article 29 Application of the Bill of Rights in all Countries
The rights included in this Bill of Rights may be raised before the courts of all countries, as well as all regional courts, and the International Court of Sentient Rights.
Article 30 Supremacy of Rights
This Bill of Rights establishes a minimum standard to which all sentient beings are entitled, and is superior to any conflicting law. Any country may enact a law or interpret its own Constitution to provide for rights greater than those guaranteed by this Bill of Rights.
Article 31 Submissions of Claims in the Country of Origin
No claim for a violation of rights may be brought before the International Court of Sentient Rights until the claim has first been brought in the domestic courts of the country in which the claim arose, including an appeal to the highest domestic appellate court, as well as any Regional Court, however, a case may originate at the Regional Court if there is a showing of strong and convincing evidence that redress from the domestic court is untimely or impracticable.
Article 32 Hearings
Once a case has been admitted at either the Regional or International Court level, oral argument shall be the norm, and the public, including the media, shall be allowed to be present. Regional Courts shall establish their own hearing procedures, but Chambers must be subject to review by three quarters of the Regional Court, randomly selected, if a majority votes to review the decision of a Chamber. Cases before the International Court are heard by Chambers of 25 judges, 24 randomly selected, along with the judge from the country in which the case arose. A Chamber’s decision may be reviewed by three quarters of the Court, randomly selected, along with the judge from the country in which the case arose, if a majority of the judges on the Court agree to review it.
Article 33 Court Decisions
A written decision by the majority of the Chamber in either the Regional or International Court shall be published in an official reporter. Dissenting opinions shall also be published, and each judge may write separately or join in an opinion by a group. The same process shall be used for review of Chamber decisions at the Regional or International level.
Article 34 Enforcement of Decisions
Decisions of the International Court of Sentient Rights are enforceable through the domestic courts in the country from which the case arose. Failure of any government to comply with the decisions of the Court may result in expulsion from the International Bill of Rights treaty following a vote of two-thirds of the judges of the International Court.
Revised version by Ahowan ICrow
Gary Francione, “All sentient beings, humans or nonhuman, have one right: the basic right not to be treated as the property of others.”
Ghandi, ” “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”