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Town of Hampton, New Brunswick

John P. Humphrey-Hampton, New Brunswick
A new stamp honours the Hampton man who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Times Globe staff writer

   The Hampton-born author of the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been honoured on a new stamp issued by Canada Post.
   The stamp marks the 50th anniversary of the United Nations adoption of the declaration, a document written in essence by John P. Humphrey, who died on March 14, 1995 at the age of 89.
   The 45 cent stamp has a portrait of Prof. Humphrey, a pen representing his penmanship of the declaration, the international human rights logo and a photograph of children from around the time the declaration was written in the 1940s. Jim Hudson of Hudson Design Group in Moncton, was commissioned to design the stamp.
    In an unveiling ceremony yesterday at RCS Netherwood, which was Rothesay Collegiate when Prof. Humphrey was a student there, speaker after speaker spoke of Prof. Humphrey's contribution to human rights around the world.
    "What an honour it is to know that we are all heirs of such a great steward of humanity," said John Crook, Canada Post's manager of retail operations for the Atlantic provinces.
   Former chairman of the Human Rights Commission, Gordon Fairweather said he knew personally that Prof. Humphrey was a man of incredible intelligence, determination and modesty.
   In addition to writing the first draft of the declaration, Mr. Fairweather said, it was Prof. Humphrey's determination that got it moving through the UN's extensive bureaucracy towards becoming international law.
   The world was enriched by this declaration when it was adopted by the UN on December,10, 1948, Mr. Fairweather said.
   "John Humphrey was an integral part of this singular achievement. We do well to honour him and to remember today," he said.
   Mr. Humphrey attended both Mount Allison University and McGill University after graduating from Rothesay Collegiate.
   Considered by his colleagues as a master teacher of international law, Mr. Humphrey founded the Human Rights Division of the UN Secretariat in 1946.
   A year later he wrote the first draft of the universal declaration. The document was the product of input by hundreds, a humble Mr. Humphrey would later say. The declaration was for years wrongly attributed to Rene Cassin, France's representative on the UN Commission on Human Rights who took part in completing the document Mr. Humphrey wrote. Mr. Cassin won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the document, work that would later be found to be essentially from the hand of Prof. Humphrey.
   His accomplishments in international law and the pursuit of civil rights are virtually unmatched in Canada and around the world.
   Mr. Humphrey's work has the same importance today that it did 50 years ago as his declaration is widely regarded as the "conscience of humanity."

Click here to read the Declaration of Human Rights drafted by John Humphrey

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