He spoke of the document's universality, which he characterized as an attempt to formulate rights that would be valid regardless of time, place, and culture, which presumes that there exist universal human rights rooted in human nature. This ties into the document's objectivity, Azua said; if human nature is objectively the same everywhere, then this prevents the universality of the rights "to be denied for cultural, political, social, philosophical or religious reasons."
"Human rights are premised on the existence of a nature objectively shared by all members of the human race by the very fact of their humanity," the archbishop wrote.
"From that nature flows human dignity, which refers to the intrinsic worth of the person, no matter one's circumstances, no matter how young or old, rich or poor, strong or vulnerable, healthy or sick, wanted or undesired, economically productive or incapacitated, politically influential or insignificant."
In other words, this recognition presupposes that all human beings are equal in value.
Finally, Auza highlighted the unity of the declaration- the importance of applying all the rights listed, rather than picking and choosing which rights to honor "piecemeal, according to trends or selective choices"- as an important element that was highlighted by Benedict XVI in 2008.
"The Declaration, [Pope Benedict] was saying, is not, and cannot be allowed to become, a menu of rights from which one can choose according to personal, national, or international taste," Auza wrote.
To this point, Auza highlighted some of the notable instances of human rights violations in the world today.
For example, an estimated one in ten children will be subjected to child labor, and "tens of millions are ensnared by various forms of so-called modern slavery."
Article 18 of the declaration upholds the freedom of "thought, conscience, and religion," but "in so many places changing one's religion or even practising one's faith is still a death sentence or a reason to be discriminated against."
Many countries, such as Sudan, have laws that criminalize apostasy, or converting from the state religion, usually Islam.
Auza noted that Pope Francis has spoken out against the reinterpretation of some rights over the years that conflict with each other, leading to, among others things, a breakdown of the family.
(Story continues below)
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"Human rights in general, and the Universal Declaration in particular, were not meant to be used as weapons to advance political, economic, military or cultural agendas contrary to the fundamental human rights," he wrote.