Athens Human Rights Festival, p. 4 (April 23 & 24, 2005).


America’s most important human rights documents are this country’s 51 bills of rights–the Federal Bill Rights (the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution), and the bills of rights in the constitutions of the 50 states. These documents protect the rights of individuals from abusive or excessive government power; they, in the words of William O. Douglas, “guarantee to us all the rights to personal and spiritual self-fulfillment.” They secure to us due process rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, free press, trial by jury, the right to counsel, protection against compelled self-incrimination and against unreasonable search and seizure, and other fundamental human rights.