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The Duty to Remember & The Right to Truth: The POW/MIA UN Human Rights Petition

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Ethics Talk

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On this Human Rights Day, we focus on some of the epistemic Human Rights and Duties specifically to Duty to Remember, the Right to Know and the Right to Truth.  Before the International Human Rights Community began articulating the contours of these epistemic human rights, Evelyn Grubb (1931-2005), in her capacity as the national coordinator for the National League of POW/MIA families, petitioned the Secretary General of the United Nations about the fundamental human right to know.  In that 1971 petition, Evelyn argued that both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 3rd Geneva Convention imply that her family has a fundamental human right to know about whether their father, Wilmer Newlin “Newk” Grubb, who was shot down in North Vietnam in 1966, was dead or alive.  Evelyn also argued that North Vietnam violated this fundamental human right when it repeatedly used photographs of Major Grubb from 1966-1969 in ways that misled both the Grubb family and the American public as a whole.  In this show, we discuss Evelyn’s argument  and  the nature of the epistemic human rights that are referenced in Evelyn’s petition.

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