Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Overview
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 (10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot
Trocadéro
The Trocadéro, , site of the Palais de Chaillot, , is an area of Paris, France, in the 16th arrondissement, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The hill of the Trocadéro is the hill of Chaillot, a former village.- Origin of the name :...

, Paris). The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. It consists of 30 articles which have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions and laws.
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Encyclopedia
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 (10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot
Trocadéro
The Trocadéro, , site of the Palais de Chaillot, , is an area of Paris, France, in the 16th arrondissement, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The hill of the Trocadéro is the hill of Chaillot, a former village.- Origin of the name :...

, Paris). The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. It consists of 30 articles which have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions and laws. The International Bill of Human Rights consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from January 3, 1976...

, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from March 23, 1976...

 and its two Optional Protocols. In 1966 the General Assembly adopted the two detailed Covenants, which complete the International Bill of Human Rights; and in 1976, after the Covenants had been ratified by a sufficient number of individual nations, the Bill took on the force of international law.

Precursors


During the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the allies adopted the Four Freedoms
Four Freedoms
The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech , he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy:# Freedom of speech and expression# Freedom of worship#...

: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom from fear and freedom from want, as their basic war aims. The United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 "reaffirmed faith in fundamental human rights, and dignity and worth of the human person" and committed all member states to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion".

When the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 became apparent after the Second World War, the consensus within the world community was that the United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 did not sufficiently define the rights it referenced. A universal declaration that specified the rights of individuals was necessary to give effect to the Charter's provisions on human rights.

Drafting


Canadian John Peters Humphrey
John Peters Humphrey
John Peters Humphrey, OC was a Canadian legal scholar, jurist, and human rights advocate. He is most famous as the author of the first draft of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights....

 was called upon by the United Nations Secretary-General
United Nations Secretary-General
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the Secretariat of the United Nations, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations....

 to work on the project and became the Declaration's principal drafter. At the time Humphrey was newly appointed as Director of the Division of Human Rights within the United Nations Secretariat. The Commission on Human Rights, a standing body of the United Nations, was constituted to undertake the work of preparing what was initially conceived as an International Bill of Rights. The membership of the Commission was designed to be broadly representative of the global community with representatives of the following countries serving: Australia, Belgium, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, China, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, France, India, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, United Kingdom, United States, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 and Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

. Well known members of the Commission included Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...

 of the United States, who was Chairman, Jacques Maritain
Jacques Maritain
Jacques Maritain was a French Catholic philosopher. Raised as a Protestant, he converted to Catholicism in 1906. An author of more than 60 books, he helped to revive St. Thomas Aquinas for modern times and is a prominent drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...

, René Cassin
René Cassin
René Samuel Cassin was a French jurist, law professor and judge. A soldier in World War I, he later went on to form the Union Fédérale, a leftist, pacifist Veterans organisation...

 and Stéphane Hessel
Stéphane Hessel
Stéphane Frédéric Hessel is a diplomat, ambassador, writer, concentration camp survivor, former French Resistance fighter and BCRA agent. Born German, he became a naturalised French citizen in 1939...

 of France, Charles Malik of Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, and P. C. Chang
P. C. Chang
Peng Chun Chang also P. C. Chang was a Chinese professor, philosopher and playwright.-Biography:Born in China, he received his higher education in the United States, at Columbia University. He returned to China and became a professor at Nankai University in Tianjin...

 of China, among others. Humphrey provided the initial draft which became the working text of the Commission.

According to Globalizing Family Values, the Declaration's pro-family phrases were the result of the Christian Democratic movement's influence on Cassin and Malik.

Adoption


The Universal Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly on 10 December 1948 by a vote of 48 in favour, 0 against, with which ultimately adopted the Declaration on 10 December 1948. The vote for the declaration was 48 to 0 with eight abstentions: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

, People's Republic of Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

, Union of South Africa
Union of South Africa
The Union of South Africa is the historic predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the previously separate colonies of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State...

 and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The following countries voted in favour of the Declaration:
  • Europe
    • Kingdom of Belgium
    • Kingdom of Denmark
      Kingdom of Denmark
      The Kingdom of Denmark or the Danish Realm , is a constitutional monarchy and sovereign state consisting of Denmark proper in northern Europe and two autonomous constituent countries, the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic and Greenland in North America. Denmark is the hegemonial part, where the...

    • French Republic
    • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    • Kingdom of Greece
      Kingdom of Greece
      The Kingdom of Greece was a state established in 1832 in the Convention of London by the Great Powers...

    • Republic of Iceland
    • Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
    • Kingdom of the Netherlands
      Kingdom of the Netherlands
      The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

    • Kingdom of Norway
    • Kingdom of Sweden
  • Asia
    • Kingdom of Afghanistan
      Kingdom of Afghanistan
      The Kingdom of Afghanistan was an Islamic monarchy in south Central Asia established in 1926 as a successor state to the Emirate of Afghanistan, following the ascension to the throne by Amanullah Khan and his proclaming Afghanistan a kingdom in 1926, after 7 years on the throne...

    • Union of Burma
      Post-independence Burma, 1948–1962
      The first years of Burmese independence were marked by successive insurgencies by the Red Flag Communists led by Thakin Soe, the White Flag Communists led by Thakin Than Tun, the Yèbaw Hpyu led by Bo La Yaung, a member of the Thirty Comrades, army rebels calling themselves the Revolutionary Burma...

    • Republic of China
      Republic of China
      The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

    • Republic of Lebanon
    • Dominion of India
      Dominion of India
      The Dominion of India, also known as the Union of India or the Indian Union , was a predecessor to modern-day India and an independent state that existed between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950...

    • Empire of Iran
    • Kingdom of Iraq
      Kingdom of Iraq
      The Kingdom of Iraq was the sovereign state of Iraq during and after the British Mandate of Mesopotamia. The League of Nations mandate started in 1920. The kingdom began in August 1921 with the coronation of Faisal bin al-Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi as King Faisal I...

    • Dominion of Pakistan
      Dominion of Pakistan
      The Dominion of Pakistan was an independent federal Commonwealth realm in South Asia that was established in 1947 on the partition of British India into two sovereign dominions . The Dominion of Pakistan, which included modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, was intended to be a homeland for the...

    • Republic of Philippines
    • Syrian Republic
    • Kingdom of Thailand
    • Republic of Turkey
  • Africa
    • Kingdom of Egypt
      Kingdom of Egypt
      The Kingdom of Egypt was the first modern Egyptian state, lasting from 1922 to 1953. The Kingdom was created in 1922 when the British government unilaterally ended its protectorate over Egypt, in place since 1914. Sultan Fuad I became the first king of the new state...

    • Empire of Ethiopia
    • Republic of Liberia
  • Americas
    • Argentine Republic
    • Republic of Bolivia
    • Republic of the United States of Brazil
    • Dominion of Canada
    • Republic of Chile
    • Republic of Colombia
    • Republic of Costa Rica
    • Republic of Cuba
    • Dominican Republic
    • Republic of Ecuador
    • Republic of El Salvador
    • Republic of Guatemala
    • Republic of Haiti
    • United Mexican States
    • Republic of Nicaragua
    • Republic of Panama
    • Republic of Paraguay
    • Republic of Peru
    • Republic of Venezuela
    • United States of America
    • Oriental Republic of Uruguay
  • Oceania
    • Australia
      Australia
      Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

    • New Zealand
      New Zealand
      New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...



Despite the central role played by Canadian John Humphrey, the Canadian Government at first abstained from voting on the Declaration's draft, but later voted in favour of the final draft in the General Assembly.

Structure


The underlying structure of the Universal Declaration was introduced in its second draft which was prepared by Rene Cassin
René Cassin
René Samuel Cassin was a French jurist, law professor and judge. A soldier in World War I, he later went on to form the Union Fédérale, a leftist, pacifist Veterans organisation...

. Cassin worked from a first draft prepared by John Peters Humphrey
John Peters Humphrey
John Peters Humphrey, OC was a Canadian legal scholar, jurist, and human rights advocate. He is most famous as the author of the first draft of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights....

. The structure was influenced by the Code Napoleon, including a preamble and introductory general principles. Cassin compared the Declaration to the portico
Portico
A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls...

 of a Greek temple, with a foundation, steps, four columns and a pediment
Pediment
A pediment is a classical architectural element consisting of the triangular section found above the horizontal structure , typically supported by columns. The gable end of the pediment is surrounded by the cornice moulding...

. Articles 1 and 2 are the foundation blocks, with their principles of dignity, liberty, equality and brotherhood. The seven paragraphs of the preamble, setting out the reasons for the Declaration, are represented by the steps. The main body of the Declaration forms the four columns. The first column (articles 3-11) constitutes rights of the individual, such as the right to life and the prohibition of slavery. The second column (articles 12-17) constitutes the rights of the individual in civil and political society. The third column (articles 18-21) is concerned with spiritual, public and political freedoms such as freedom of religion and freedom of association. The fourth column (articles 22-27) sets out social, economic and cultural rights. In Cassin's model, the last three articles of the Declaration provide the pediment which binds the structure together. These articles are concerned with the duty of the individual to society and the prohibition of use of rights in contravention of the purposes of the United Nations.

And this is what it looks like, without the preamble:
Article 1.
  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.
  • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.
  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.
  • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.
  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.
  • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.
  • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.
  • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.
  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.
  • Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.
  • (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
  • (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.
  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
  • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.
  • (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  • (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  • (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  • (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
  • (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.
  • Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  • (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  • (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.
  • Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  • (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.
  • (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  • (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  • (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.
  • (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.
  • Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.
  • (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  • (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  • (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.
  • Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Preamble


The Universal Declaration begins with a preamble consisting of seven paragraphs followed by a statement "proclaiming" the Declaration.

Each paragraph of the preamble sets out a reason for the adoption of the Declaration. The first paragraph asserts that the recognition of human dignity of all people is the foundation of justice and peace in the world. The second paragraph observes that disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind and that the four freedoms
Four Freedoms
The Four Freedoms were goals articulated by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941. In an address known as the Four Freedoms speech , he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy:# Freedom of speech and expression# Freedom of worship#...

: freedom of speech, belief, freedom from want, and freedom from fear – which is "proclaimed as the highest aspiration" of the people. The third paragraph states that so that people are not compelled to rebellion against tyranny, human rights should be protected by rule of law. The fourth paragraph relates human rights to the development of friendly relations between nations. The fifth paragraph links the Declaration back to the United Nations Charter which reaffirms faith in fundamental human rights and dignity and worth of the human person. The sixth paragraph notes that all members of the United Nations have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The seventh paragraph observes that "a common understanding" of rights and freedoms is of "the greatest importance" for the full realization of that pledge.

These paragraphs are followed by the "proclamation" of the Declaration as a "common standard of achievement" for "all peoples and all nations", so that "all individuals" and "all organs of society" should by teaching and education, promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.

And this is what it looks like:

PREAMBLE

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Commemoration: International Human Rights Day


The adoption of the Universal Declaration is a significant international commemoration marked each year on 10 December and is known as Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10 December.The date was chosen to honor the United NationsGeneral Assembly's adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , the first global enunciation of human rights...

 or International Human Rights Day. The commemoration is observed by individuals, community and religious groups, human rights organisations, parliaments, governments and the United Nations. Decadal commemorations are often accompanied by campaigns to promote awareness of the Declaration and human rights. 2008 marked the 60th anniversary of the Declaration and was accompanied by year-long activities around the theme "Dignity and justice for all of us".

Significance


The Guinness Book of Records describes the UDHR as the "Most Translated Document" in the world. In the preamble, governments commit themselves and their people to progressive measures which secure the universal and effective recognition and observance of the human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 set out in the Declaration. Eleanor Roosevelt supported the adoption of the UDHR as a declaration rather than as a treaty, because she believed that it would have the same kind of influence on global society as the United States Declaration of Independence had within the United States. In this, she proved to be correct. Even though it is not legally binding, the Declaration has been adopted in or has influenced most national constitutions since 1948. It has also served as the foundation for a growing number of national laws, international laws, and treaties, as well as regional, national, and sub-national institutions protecting and promoting human rights.

Legal effect


While not a treaty itself, the Declaration was explicitly adopted for the purpose of defining the meaning of the words "fundamental freedoms" and "human rights" appearing in the United Nations Charter, which is binding on all member states. For this reason the Universal Declaration is a fundamental constitutive document of the United Nations. Many international lawyers, in addition, believe that the Declaration forms part of customary international law
Customary international law
Customary international law are those aspects of international law that derive from custom. Along with general principles of law and treaties, custom is considered by the International Court of Justice, jurists, the United Nations, and its member states to be among the primary sources of...

 and is a powerful tool in applying diplomatic and moral pressure to governments that violate any of its articles. The 1968 United Nations International Conference on Human Rights advised that it "constitutes an obligation for the members of the international community" to all persons. The declaration has served as the foundation for two binding UN human rights covenants, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from March 23, 1976...

, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from January 3, 1976...

 and the principles of the Declaration are elaborated in international treaties such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and many more. The Declaration continues to be widely cited by governments, academics, advocates and constitutional courts and individual human beings who appeal to its principles for the protection of their recognised human rights.

Praise


The Universal Declaration has received praise from a number of notable people. Charles Malik, Lebanese
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 philosopher and diplomat, called it "an international document of the first order of importance," while Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...

, first chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that drafted the Declaration, stated that it "may well become the international Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

 of all men everywhere." 10 December 1948. In a speech on 5 October 1995, Pope John Paul II called the UDHR "one of the highest expressions of the human conscience
Conscience
Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong. Moral judgement may derive from values or norms...

 of our time". And in a statement on 10 December 2003 on behalf of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, Marcello Spatafora
Marcello Spatafora
Marcello Spatafora is an Italian diplomat, former Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations.-Career:Marcello Spatafora was born in Innsbruck, Austria...

 said that "it placed human rights at the centre of the framework of principles and obligations shaping relations within the international community
International community
The international community is a term used in international relations to refer to all peoples, cultures and governments of the world or to a group of them. The term is used to imply the existence of common duties and obligations between them...

."

Islamic criticism


The governments of Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 have criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for its perceived failure to take into the account the cultural and religious context of Islamic countries
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

 because they claimed their governments were based on the Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

. In 1982, the Iranian representative to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, Said Rajaie-Khorassani, said that the UDHR was "a secular
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 understanding of the Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian is a term used in the United States since the 1940s to refer to standards of ethics said to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, for example the Ten Commandments...

 tradition", which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

. On 30 June 2000, Muslim nations that are members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) officially resolved to support the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam
Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam
The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam is a declaration of the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference adopted in Cairo in 1990, which provides an overview on the Islamic perspective on human rights, and affirms Islamic Shari'ah as its sole source...

, an alternative document that says people have "freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah", without any discrimination on grounds of "race, colour, language, sex, religious belief, political affiliation, social status or other considerations." However, the Cairo Declaration has been criticized for failing to fully recognize freedom of religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

 as a "fundamental and non-derogable right".

Education


Many proponents of alternative education
Alternative education
Alternative education, also known as non-traditional education or educational alternative, includes a number of approaches to teaching and learning other than mainstream or traditional education. Educational alternatives are often rooted in various philosophies that are fundamentally different...

, particularly unschooling
Unschooling
Unschooling is a range of educational philosophies and practices centered on allowing children to learn through their natural life experiences, including play, game play, household responsibilities, work experience, and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum....

, take issue with Article 26 where it stipulates that "...education shall be compulsory." In the philosophies of John Holt and others, compulsory education itself violates the right of a person to peacefully follow his or her own interests:
This instance of the word "compulsory" is the only one in the entire document. The word "compel" is used twice, however, both times with negative connotations.

The Right to Refuse to Kill


Groups such as Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 and War Resisters International have advocated for "The Right to Refuse to Kill" to be added to the UDHR. War Resisters International has stated that the right to conscientious objection
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 to military service is primarily derived from, but not yet explicit in, Article 18 of the UDHR: the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Steps have been taken within the United Nations to make this right more explicit; but those steps have been limited to secondary, more "marginal" United Nations documents. That is why Amnesty International would like to have this right brought "out of the margins" and explicitly into the primary document, namely the UDHR itself.

Bangkok Declaration


In the Bangkok Declaration adopted by Ministers of Asian states meeting in 1993 in the lead up to the World Conference on Human Rights, Asian governments reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They stated their view of the interdependence and indivisibility of human rights and stressed the need for universality, objectivity and non-selectivity of human rights. At the same time, however, they emphasized the principles of sovereignty and noninterference, calling for greater emphasis on economic, social, and cultural rights, particularly the right to economic development, over civil and political rights. The Bangkok Declaration is considered to be a landmark expression of the Asian Values
Asian values
Asian values was a concept that came into vogue briefly in the 1990s to justify authoritarian regimes in Asia, predicated on the belief in the existence within Asian countries of a unique set of institutions and political ideologies which reflected the region's culture and history...

 perspective, which offers an extended critique of human rights universalism
Moral universalism
Moral universalism is the meta-ethical position that some system of ethics, or a universal ethic, applies universally, that is, for "all similarly situated individuals", regardless of culture, race, sex, religion, nationality, sexuality, or any other distinguishing feature...

.

Human Rights

  • History of human rights
    History of human rights
    The idea of human rights, that is the notion that anyone has a set of inviolable rights simply on grounds of being human regardless of legal status, origin or conviction for crimes, emerges as an idea of Humanism in the Early Modern period and becomes a position in the 18th century Age of...

  • Human Rights
    Human rights
    Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

  • Portal: Human rights
  • Timeline of young people's rights in the United Kingdom
  • Timeline of young people's rights in the United States

Non-binding agreements

  • Cyrus Cylinder
    Cyrus cylinder
    The Cyrus Cylinder is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several fragments, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of the Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great. It dates from the 6th century BC and was discovered in the ruins of Babylon in Mesopotamia in 1879...

    , Ancient Persia, 559-530 BC
  • United States Declaration of Independence
    United States Declaration of Independence
    The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

    , July 1776
  • Declaration of Sentiments
    Declaration of Sentiments
    The Declaration of Sentiments, also known as the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments, is a document signed in 1848 by 68 women and 32 men, 100 out of some 300 attendees at the first women's rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York, now known as the Seneca Falls Convention...

    , 1848
  • Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam
    Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam
    The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam is a declaration of the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference adopted in Cairo in 1990, which provides an overview on the Islamic perspective on human rights, and affirms Islamic Shari'ah as its sole source...

    , 1990
  • Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
    Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
    The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, also known as VDPA, is a human rights declaration adopted by consensus at the World Conference on Human Rights on 25 June 1993 in Vienna, Austria...

    , 1993
  • United Nations Millennium Declaration
    United Nations Millennium Declaration
    On 8 September 2000, following a three day Millennium Summit of world leaders at the headquarters of the United Nations, the General Assemblyadopted the Millennium Declaration....

    , 2000

National human rights law

  • Cáin Adomnáin
    Cáin Adomnáin
    The Cáin Adomnáin , also known as the Lex Innocentium was promulgated amongst a gathering of Irish, Dál Riatan and Pictish notables at the Synod of Birr in 697. It is named after its initiator Adomnán of Iona, ninth Abbot of Iona after St...

    , 697
  • Magna Carta
    Magna Carta
    Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

    , England, 1215
  • Golden Bull
    Golden Bull of 1222
    The Golden Bull of 1222 was a golden bull, or edict, issued by King Andrew II of Hungary. The law established the rights of the Hungarian nobility, including the right to disobey the King when he acted contrary to law . The nobles and the church were freed from all taxes and could not be forced to...

    , Hungary, 1222
  • English Bill of Rights and Scottish Claim of Right
    Claim of Right Act 1689
    The Claim of Right is an Act passed by the Parliament of Scotland in April 1689. It is one of the key documents of Scottish constitutional law.-Background:...

    , 1689
  • Virginia Declaration of Rights
    Virginia Declaration of Rights
    The Virginia Declaration of Rights is a document drafted in 1776 to proclaim the inherent rights of men, including the right to rebel against "inadequate" government...

    , June 1776
  • United States Bill of Rights
    United States Bill of Rights
    The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and...

    , completed in 1789, approved in 1791
  • Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
    Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
    The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is a fundamental document of the French Revolution, defining the individual and collective rights of all the estates of the realm as universal. Influenced by the doctrine of "natural right", the rights of man are held to be universal: valid...

    , France 1789
  • Constitution of the Soviet Union
    Constitution of the Soviet Union
    There were three versions of the constitution of the Soviet Union, modeled after the 1918 Constitution established by the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic , the immediate predecessor of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics....

    , first 1918, but did not guarantee rights to the middle class
  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982...

    , 1982

International human rights law

  • European Convention on Human Rights
    European Convention on Human Rights
    The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

    , 1950
  • Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
    Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
    The United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is an international convention that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. The Convention also sets out which people do not...

    , 1954
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
    Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
    The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is a United Nations convention. A second-generation human rights instrument, the Convention commits its members to the elimination of racial discrimination and the promotion of understanding among all races...

    , 1969
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from March 23, 1976...

    , 1976
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from January 3, 1976...

    , 1976
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
    Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
    The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women is an international convention adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly....

    , 1981
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
    Convention on the Rights of the Child
    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children...

    , 1990
  • Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
    Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
    The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines certain political, social, and economic rights for European Union citizens and residents, into EU law. It was drafted by the European Convention and solemnly proclaimed on 7 December 2000 by the European Parliament, the Council of...

    , 2000

Other

  • Command responsibility
    Command responsibility
    Command responsibility, sometimes referred to as the Yamashita standard or the Medina standard, and also known as superior responsibility, is the doctrine of hierarchical accountability in cases of war crimes....

  • Declaration on Great Apes, an as-yet unsuccessful effort to extend some human rights to great apes
    Hominidae
    The Hominidae or include them .), as the term is used here, form a taxonomic family, including four extant genera: chimpanzees , gorillas , humans , and orangutans ....

  • John Peters Humphrey
    John Peters Humphrey
    John Peters Humphrey, OC was a Canadian legal scholar, jurist, and human rights advocate. He is most famous as the author of the first draft of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights....

     & film PSA Histori.ca short
  • Racial equality proposal,1919
  • Khutbatul Wada', 632

Further reading


External links



Audiovisual Materials