Skip to main content
Select Source:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

On 10 December 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following this act, the Assembly called upon all member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories." The full text of the final authorized version follows. The UN celebrated the declaration's 50th anniversary in 1998 with a special program of events at its headquarters.

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 beep 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.

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 offense 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 defense.
  2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offense, 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 offense was committed.

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor 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 favorable 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 favorable 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.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/universal-declaration-human-rights

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/universal-declaration-human-rights

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights declaration adopted by the United Nations in 1948, the first article of which states, ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/universal-declaration-human-rights

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/universal-declaration-human-rights

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Excerpt from "Universal Declaration of Human Rights"

    Adopted by the United Nations

    Published on the United Nations Web site http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html

Forty-eight member states (nations) of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. In adopting the Declaration those forty-eight nations affirmed their belief that "recognition of the … dignity … of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world…."

The United Nations (UN) was established following World War II (1939–45) in June 1945 with fifty member states. Its purpose is to promote world peace through assuring security and human rights for all the world's people. By 1948, the UN had a total of fifty-eight member states. The Declaration was the first document adopted by an international organization and meant to apply universally to all nations and people of the world. Although the member states varied significantly in their political and economic systems, and culturally, the Declaration represented a common vision of and goals for the world community. For more than half a century, the Declaration has affected the lives of people worldwide and remains as powerful, perhaps even more powerful, a document in the early twenty-first century as it was in the mid-twentieth century.

"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."

The Declaration is not a statement merely written with beautiful, hopeful words but little substance. Instead, it states specific detailed fundamental human rights in thirty articles (sections). Many of these articles recall words of the U.S. Declaration of Independence written in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution written in 1787. The articles state: that humans are born free and equal with regard to dignity and rights; that everyone has the right to "life, liberty and security"; the right to equal protection under the law, innocent until proven guilty, the right to come before a competent court of law; freedom of religion, speech, and thought; and freedom of assembly and association. The articles state that humans have rights in very practical day-to-day matters: freedom of movement and residence; right to own property; marriage rights; right to vote; right to employment, to freely choose that employment, and to receive appropriate pay; right to an adequate standard of living; and the right at minimum to an elementary education.

Writing the Declaration

The UN created in 1946 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, made up of eighteen member states. That commission then chose a committee of eight persons to draft the Declaration, their first item of business. The eight individuals were from Australia, Chile, China, France, Lebanon, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the United Kingdom, and the United States. The member from the United States was Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1965), wife of the recently deceased U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt was appointed lead of the Human Rights Commission, and chief writer of the Declaration. Mrs. Roosevelt would later comment on many occasions that drafting the Declaration was her life's proudest achievement.

Mrs. Roosevelt clearly and precisely guided the two-year process of writing the Declaration. As related by Sondra Myers in her 2002 book The Democracy Reader, Mrs. Roosevelt's often quoted question she presented to the committee was, "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; they neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination."

The following document is the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" in its entirety. In creating this document Roosevelt and her committee address the rights of humans that are required in their everyday lives.

Things to remember while reading the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights":

  • Since its founding, the United Nations' central principle has been protection and furthering of human rights for men, women, and children alike.
  • Universal means "covering all."

[Text Not Available]

[Text Not Available]

[Text Not Available]

[Text Not Available]

[Text Not Available]

[Text Not Available]

[Text Not Available]

What happened next …

Although not legally binding itself, the Declaration became the basis for numerous human rights documents and treaties that are legally binding on nations. Its principles of political, legal, economic, and social rights have been included in the constitutions of newly established nations, in laws of nations, and adopted into international organizations.

Throughout the last half of the twentieth century, the UN established numerous avenues to monitor human rights in nations and investigate charges of abuse. UN special representatives, experts, and appointed committees traveled to nations for monitoring, promotion, and for education on human rights issues. When requested by governments, the UN has opened offices within a country to protect and further explain and promote human rights. However the UN recognizes that discrimination against ethnic groups, religious and gender discrimination, and even genocide still occur within the world community. Further, too many people continue to live in dire poverty with little dignity.

Did you know …

  • The Declaration has been translated into over two hundred languages.
  • The forty-eight member states that adopted the Declaration in 1948 were Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Siam (Thailand), Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
  • In 1948, eight member states abstained from voting (did not vote) on the Declaration and therefore did not adopt its principles. They were Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Union of South Africa, USSR, and Yugoslavia. Two member states were not present when the vote was taken.

Consider the following …

  • Choose one of the countries that failed to adopt the Declaration in 1948. What was its approach to and promotion or lack of promotion of human rights in the second half of the twentieth century?
  • The principles for which Eleanor Roosevelt stood made her the perfect leader of the committee that wrote the Declaration. Research her life. Discover and report on some of those principles.
  • At the start of the twenty-first century have most people of the world achieved freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want? Where has the goal been realized? Where has it not been realized?
  • How many member states (nations) belong to the United Nations at the start of the twenty-first century? Find out how many have adopted the Declaration.

For More Information

BOOKS

Freedman, Russell. Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery. New York: New Clarion Books, 1993.

Gareis, Sven Bernhard, and Johannes Varwick. The United Nations: An Introduction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Hareven, Tamara R. Eleanor Roosevelt: An American Conscience. New York: Da Capo Press, 1975.

Myers, Sondra. The Democracy Reader. New York: International Debate Education Association, 2002.

WEB SITES

United Nations. "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html (accessed on December 12, 2006).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Prejudice in the Modern World Reference Library. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Prejudice in the Modern World Reference Library. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/universal-declaration-human-rights

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Prejudice in the Modern World Reference Library. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/universal-declaration-human-rights

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948. It was the first international proclamation to define the basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which every human being is entitled. The document specifically lists many rights to which everyone throughout the world is entitled regardless of nationality, race, or gender. It includes civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.

After the atrocities of World War II (1939–45), the United Nations was formed as an international peace-keeping organization. Among other goals, the UN sought to promote human rights and freedoms. Such rights, however, were not clear within the original United Nations Charter . The UN Commission on Human Rights was given the task to define those rights and to direct UN policy on the subject.

Writing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was an international effort. The drafting committee included representatives from Canada, France, the United States, Lebanon, and China. The final document contains thirty articles listing specific rights, including the rights to life, liberty, and security, education, freedom of thought, and freedom from torture and inhumane treatment. The General Assembly ratified the Declaration with forty-eight votes in support, none opposing, and only eight abstentions (countries that did not vote). Considering the vast cultural, political, and social differences among the world's countries, the vote for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a resounding success.

The Declaration was meant to be a guiding force for the policies of each country and is not a legal document. It has come to represent, however, rights that each country should uphold for its citizens. As such, it is a powerful moral and diplomatic tool for pressuring states that violate the principles of the Declaration.

The International Bill of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was included with two other UN documents, the Optional Protocol and the International Covenants on Human Rights, to form the International Bill of Human Rights. The two Covenant documents were legally binding treaties: the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Covenants recognize the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Under the Covenants, nations agree to respect, ensure, and take steps to improve those rights. The Covenants and the Optional Protocol became effective in 1976.

The standards set forth have also inspired other human-rights-oriented national legislation, international documents, and watch-dog organizations. In 1966 the International Human Rights Covenants gave legal force to the rights in the Universal Declaration and established monitoring procedures. There still are no means, however, for enforcing adherence to the standards of the Declaration.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/universal-declaration-human-rights-1

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/universal-declaration-human-rights-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

General Assembly of the United Nations

1948

•••

Adopted in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is, as stated in its preamble, "a common standard of achievement for all peoples in all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society . . . 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.... "

Article five should be compared to article seven of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Section IV). Article 25 directly pertains to health and healthcare.

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 3

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

•••

article 5

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

•••

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 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.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Encyclopedia of Bioethics. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Encyclopedia of Bioethics. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/universal-declaration-human-rights

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Encyclopedia of Bioethics. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/universal-declaration-human-rights

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights


source The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. Available from http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm

introduction Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights his described in its preamble as constituting a "common standard of achievement," Those who prepared it relied upon a study of national constitutions in an attempt to distill a common denominator of human rights that would be of universal application. The U.S. representative to the UN Commission on Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt, presided over the process, but she was assisted by personalities from Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Arab world. The Declaration's significance has been reaffirmed subsequently in various treaties and declarations, and it retains its universal significance. Some experts describe the Declaration as a codification of customary international law, while others have argued that it is an authoritative interpretation of the more laconic human rights clauses found in the Charter of the United Nations.


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.

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-selfgoverning 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 a 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 the 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 and 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.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/universal-declaration-human-rights

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/universal-declaration-human-rights

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

On 9 December 1948, to the United Nations assembled at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, the French jurist René Cassin (1887–1976) introduced a new Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document was approved the next day. "I have the honor," Cassin told the delegates, to present a document that "constitutes a step on the global level in the long battle for the rights of man.… [T]he practical con secration of the essential liberties of all men is indispensable to the establishment of a real international peace." Herein lay the political logic of this declaration, one of the pillars on which the United Nations was built. It was not a convention—and therefore not legally enforceable—but rather a statement of values, the denial of which made international peace impossible.

This document has many sources, but its Frenchness is unmistakable. The year 1948 was but four years after the liberation of France, the leadership of which had collaborated fully with the Nazis. Humiliated, compromised, eroded in a myriad of ways by the German occupation, French political culture here arose out of the ashes. In the presence of the assembled United Nations, Cassin introduced not a bill of rights, not a formal commitment or protocol, but rather a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, echoing the name of the earlier document produced during the French Revolution. There in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, within sight of the Place de la Concorde, the French republican tradition was renewed.

The links with and differences from the first Universal Declaration were clear. The 1789 document affirms in Article 1 that "Men are born and remain free and equal in rights"; the 1948 document states that "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." Equality in dignity and rights opened the door to social and economic perspectives on the question of what was needed for liberty to be realized. Secondly, the claim that all people are endowed with reason and conscience provided a place for those who believed in a secular world alongside those who wanted a revival of religious beliefs. Thus the twentieth century went beyond the eighteenth, in a greater emphasis on economic and social rights and with a more pluralistic approach to questions of faith and enlightenment.

Other emphases in the Universal Declaration had clear contemporary echoes. All had the right to asylum from persecution; all had the right to a nationality; men and women had the right of choice in marriage and in its dissolution; all had the right to social security and the right to work. These reminders of the 1930s brought home to everyone the need for a new departure in social as well as in individual rights.

René Cassin, a French delegate to the League of Nations who had been a close aide of Charles de Gaulle in wartime London, wrote the drafts out of which this declaration emerged. But Cassin was not its sole author. Eleanor Roosevelt brought American liberalism into the equation. The Lebanese diplomat Charles Malik brought an austere commitment to Catholic humanism to these discussions. And the Canadian jurist John Humphries set the conversation in the framework of international law. But there were political considerations of another order evident in the drafting of this document.

These men and women had seen the collapse of the League of Nations after 1919. Together they found a formula that could bypass the dangerous corridors of the U.S. Senate. A nonbinding declaration was unlikely to draw American isolationists into a life-or-death struggle. Secondly, the cautious tactic of aiming at a declaration rather than a convention enabled these drafters to blunt Soviet bloc criticism of the declaration as suffering from all the faults of liberal individualism and "democratic formalism." Other delegates had little sympathy for the content or character of the declaration, but to protect their claim for U.S. aid after 1948, they were prepared to hold their peace. Islamic delegates may have gone along for this reason. This convergence of interests accounts for the consensus that formed around this document, which remains one of the United Nations' foundational texts.

See alsoCassin, René.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Agi, Marc. René Cassin, 1887–1976: Prix Nobel de la Paix. Paris, 1998.

Glendon, Mary Ann. A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. New York, 2001.

Jay Winter

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Encyclopedia of Modern Europe: Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Encyclopedia of Modern Europe: Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/universal-declaration-human-rights-0

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Encyclopedia of Modern Europe: Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/universal-declaration-human-rights-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948), together with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR, 1976) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR, 1976), forms what has come to be known as the International Bill of Rights. In large part a response to the atrocities committed during World War II (1939–1945), the UDHR is the first major international document to enumerate a list of rights applicable to all people regardless of race, gender, or religion, in a broad range of categories, including political, civil, economic, and social rights. The creation of such a document was especially significant in that it represented a shift in international law from an almost complete focus on the relationship between states to the relationship between states and their citizens.

Although several states had pushed for the inclusion of a bill of rights in the United Nations (UN) Charter, consensus could not be reached on which rights to include or whether such rights should be included at all. As a result, the UN Charter approved at San Francisco in 1945 contained general references to the protection of human rights in several of its articles, but did not contain a specific listing of rights. Article 68 of the Charter did, however, require the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to "set up commissions in economic and social fields and for the promotion of human rights." That the drafting of an international bill of rights would be one of the first tasks of the UN was implicit in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Charter. U.S. President Harry S Truman (1884–1972) made specific reference to the creation of an international bill of rights in his closing speech at the San Francisco Conference.

To fulfill its Charter obligation, ECOSOC established the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in 1946 and charged it with creating a recommendation regarding an international bill of rights. At its first session in January 1947, the CHR created a Drafting Committee that would be responsible for preparing a preliminary bill of human rights. Originally composed of three members, the committee was quickly expanded to eight in order to represent more geographic and political perspectives. Former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) was chosen to chair the Drafting Committee. The Drafting Committee worked closely with John P. Humphrey (1905–1995), the Director of the Secretariat's Division on Human Rights. He produced a working draft for the committee based on numerous texts that had been prepared by individuals, organizations, and states from around the world. The Drafting Committee began work with this draft during its first session in June 1947. The draft was subsequently revised during two additional sessions of the CHR and a second session of the Drafting Committee. All member states of the UN had the opportunity to comment on the document at some point during the drafting stages; members of the Drafting Committee itself included representatives from countries representing numerous different political, economic, and religious traditions.

The CHR sent the final draft of its declaration to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly. The Third Committee, composed of representatives from all UN member states, discussed and revised the document from September to December 1948. On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly adopted the document entitled the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a vote of 48 to 0 with 8 abstentions. All the states that abstained would come to endorse the document in subsequent years, and all states that have subsequently joined the UN have recognized the UDHR.

Among the political and civil rights enumerated in the UDHR are the right to life, liberty, and security of person (Article 3); freedom from slavery (Article 4); equality before the law (Article 7); freedom from arbitrary arrest (Article 9); freedom from ex post facto laws, or laws that punish a person for an act that was not a crime at the time it was committed (Article 11); right to a nationality (Article 15); equal marriage rights for women and men (Article 16); and freedom of thought and religion, including the right to change religions (Article 18). The UDHR broke new ground by including a number of social and cultural rights such as the rights to social security and to work (Articles 22 and 23); "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…" (Article 25); the right to education (Article 26); and the "right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community…." (Article 27).

Much of the early debate on the UDHR was on whether or not the document would be in the form of a legally binding convention or simply a declaration by the UN. The Drafting Committee had three options to choose from: submit a draft declaration and a draft convention; submit a draft convention; or submit a draft declaration and leave the drafting a convention to later date. The eventual decision to create a nonbinding declaration allowed for greater unanimity at the time and the inclusion of several rights that may not have been endorsed by all states if they had been legally binding. Once the UN began moving forward on drafting a convention to legally implement the UDHR, the unanimity surrounding its adoption quickly dissipated into Cold War struggles and conflicts over state sovereignty . The United States, in particular, was hesitant to endorse the formalization of many of the economic rights it outlined, arguing that while they represented laudable goals,


guaranteeing those rights to all would be impossible for many nations to accomplish. Many other nations objected to allowing international oversight of the treatment of their citizens. Nonetheless, the rights contained within the UDHR would eventually be given formal legal status in the CCPR and the CESCR, as well as several other treaties addressing specific issues or categories of protected persons.

Despite the debates over its implementation and, to a lesser extent, its content, the UDHR paved the way for recognizing human rights at the international level. In the early twenty-first century many of the norms contained within the UDHR, such as the freedom from arbitrary detention and death, are widely recognized as peremptory, meaning that no state may derogate from them whether or not it has signed a treaty or convention containing those norms.

See also: Human Rights; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; International Human Rights Law.

bibliography

Danieli, Yael, Elsa Stamatopoulou, and Clarence J. Dias, eds. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Fifty Years and Beyond. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing, 1999.

Humphrey, John P. Human Rights and the United Nations: A Great Adventure. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Transnational Publishers, 1984.

Morsink, Johannes. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Origins, Drafting and Intent. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

United Nations. Charter of the United Nations. 1945. <http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/index.html>.

Eric W. Cox

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/universal-declaration-human-rights-0

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/universal-declaration-human-rights-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Source: United Nations Publications, December 10, 1948. The United Nations is the author of the original material. Available from <http://www.ohchr.org>. Reproduced by permission.

Introduction: The Declaration, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, enumerates a list of rights applicable to all people regardless of race, gender, or religion, in a broad range of categories, including political, civil, economic, and social rights. The creation of such a document was especially significant in that it represented a shift in international law from an almost complete focus on the relationship between states to the relationship between states and their citizens.

Text Not Available

Text Not Available

Text Not Available

Text Not Available

Text Not Available

Text Not Available

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/universal-declaration-human-rights

"Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Governments of the World: A Global Guide to Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/legal-and-political-magazines/universal-declaration-human-rights

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.