A TRUE HUMANITARIAN
A new stamp
honours the Hampton man who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human
By MIKE HAWKINS
author of the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been
honoured on a new stamp issued by Canada Post.
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
"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
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.
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
The world was enriched by this declaration when it
was adopted by the UN on December,10, 1948, Mr. Fairweather
"John Humphrey was an integral part of this singular
achievement. We do well to honour him and to remember today," he
Mr. Humphrey attended both Mount Allison University
and McGill University after graduating from Rothesay
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
His accomplishments in international law
and the pursuit of civil rights are virtually unmatched in Canada and around
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