Inhumane Society

St. Louis scores failing grades on a report card of compliance with the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The U.S. also attached caveats to covenants on racial discrimination and torture and has yet to ratify covenants on the rights of women and children. "This document, if applied and enforced, has the potential to disrupt our central role on the world stage," explains Ramsey. "For me, that's a positive development; I would like to see my country sitting alongside other countries rather than pulling the strings."

His main regret -- in addition to the absence of explicit reference to disabilities, sexual orientation and indigenous rights -- is that the document is toothless. And it is "not worded in a way that helps individuals and groups deal with corporate power as it is expressed in the world today," Ramsey says. "Nation-states are the UDHR's primary focus, as protectors or obstructors of human rights. Yet corporations are playing a much larger role today."

Most of them are flunking, too.

The UDHR celebration will be held at 7 p.m. in St. Louis University's Carlo Auditorium; for information, call 367-5959. The "report card" will be published by Webster University's Human Rights Education Project and will be available in libraries and online; call 725-5303 for information.

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