Doumentary: 1 x 1 Hour;
Co-producer: Spiegel TV
Broadcasters: Arte/ZDF; CBC
Distributor: Primitive Entertainment
Canadian Screen Award Nomination:
Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program
Canadian Cinema Editors Award Nomination:
Best Documentary Editing - Short Form

Project Info:

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Universal Declaration on Human Rights

We live in tumultuous times, with a growing number of strongmen in leadership positions around the globe and nationalist populism on the rise. So how does that affect our human rights?

The documentary marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was originally drafted by Canadian legal scholar John Humphrey and championed by Eleanor Roosevelt. Signed by most of the countries of the United Nations in 1948, the Declaration grants all people 30 rights to ensure their health, freedom, equality and dignity. Since then, the Declaration has been seen as the standard toward which all nations were – or should be – reaching. Today however, many of the rights in the Declaration are being openly questioned, even by leaders in Western countries.

For his first independently produced documentary since leaving CBC, Peter Mansbridge took to the road to understand the state of human rights and who is defending them. The project was a joint venture with Claus Kleber, chief correspondent of German public broadcaster ZDF. The veteran newsmen embarked on separate journeys to multiple countries to take the measure of human rights as they are lived by average people.

Eye opening and at times heartbreaking, the film portrays a world in which many national and civil institutions, from totalitarian China to liberal Canada, are failing to protect the basic rights that were agreed upon seven decades ago. Yet hope springs from the many people the reporters meet who are willing to risk their own comfort and freedoms to stand up for the rights of strangers.