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ZDF Online - December 10, 2018

70 years of human rights declaration - world citizen number one

by Maya Dähne, New York

"The world is my home": the Broadway actor and US bomber pilot Garry Davis declared himself world number one in 1948 and became a champion of human rights.


Garry Davis
Source: dpa


November, 1948. For weeks negotiating and arguing, delegates from all over the world argue in Paris for an international human rights declaration. Suddenly a young man stands in the stands. "I interrupt the meeting in the name of the world people, which is not represented here," he roars. Security forces divert the man and arrest him.


From Broadway to the UN


"The historic key role that Garry played back then is a bit forgotten."

                                               --David Gallup, friend of Garry Davis


The disturber is Garry Davis, a 26-year-old Broadway actor and former US bomber pilot. He is already known to the authorities. A few months earlier, he had left his US passport at the US Embassy in Paris and declared himself a citizen of the world. Without valid papers, he can not leave France. The Davis case makes international headlines. Garry Davis is mocked especially in his homeland as a "frustrated war veteran", "utopian" or simply as a "nutcase".

"But his ideas of world government and people have been discussed publicly, Garry has become famous overnight," says David Gallup, a friend and longtime companion. More and more people demonstrated in front of the conference hall in Paris. Many intellectuals, including Albert Einstein and Albert Camus support Garry Davis. "The pressure was at some point so great that the delegates had no choice but to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," says Gallup. "The historic key role that Garry played back then is a bit forgotten."

"The world is my homeland"


After all, just in time for the 70th anniversary of UN human rights and Garry Davis's historic performance in Paris, a documentary has emerged. " The World is My Country " is the title.

Our DNA is 99 percent identical. What separates us is our thinking.

David Gallup quotes Garry Davis


30 articles includes the human rights charter. Equal rights for men and women, freedom of expression and religion and the prohibition of discrimination. Garry Davis did not go far enough. "He wanted a real world government of all people for all people," says David Gallup, the international lawyer. His idea is simple and at the same time revolutionary, says Gallupo. As Davis said, "We need to understand ourselves as a world family and not divide ourselves into different tribes, countries and nationalities, we live on the same planet, our DNA is 99 percent identical, what divides us is our thinking."

World Government for World Citizens


Davis founded a World Service Authority in 1954. His World Government agency began issuing passports for world citizens. "Anyone can apply for their own passport and get a document for $ 55," explains David Gallup, who is also director of the nonprofit organization.

Among the most prominent world citizens are the Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the actor George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey. In 2013, Garry Davis offered whistleblower Edward Snowden a world travel pass. The whole thing is not a cheap PR project, Gallup clarifies. "We help refugees and stateless people all over the world, the Rohingya in Bangladesh as well as the Ogoni in Nigeria."

News | ZDF Lunchtime Magazine - "Topic Human Rights burning topical"

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There are nearly 70 million refugees worldwide. 10 million people are stateless. Human rights are under attack not only in Syria and Yemen, but also in the US and Europe. That's why Davis' ideas are just as relevant today as they were 70 years ago, says Gallup. The return to nationalism all over the world, in Russia and the US, in Hungary and Turkey is worrying. The UN needs urgent renewal, but that is not enough. "In order to survive, we need to get together and master global challenges like climate change and wars together - we only have this one world - or none."

Garry Davis died in 2013, concerned about human rights crises around the world. But also full of hope. "A few days before his death, Garry handed the paramedic who drove him to the hospice a copy of the Declaration of Human Rights and said," Read this, memorize it and live by it."

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