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Human Rights

A BRIEF HISTORY

The Universal Declaration
of Human Rights


Human rights are the road to a peaceful and secure world.


ELEANOR ROOSEVELT holding the document she tirelessly promoted.
0n October 24, 1945, in the wake of World War II, the United Nations came into being as an intergovernmental organization to promote human rights and save future generations from the devastation of war. The Charter of the United Nations created general obligations requiring member states to respect human rights and established six principal bodies, including the General Assembly, the Security Council, the International Court of Justice and, in relation to human rights, an Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The U.N. Charter empowered ECOSOC to establish “commissions in economic and social fields and for the promotion of human rights....” One of these is the United Nations Human Rights Commission, which, under the chairmanship of Eleanor Roosevelt, oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Every government that seeks peace and prosperity for its people, and indeed, every society that wishes to survive, must make the task of educating individuals in human rights a primary concern.

 

Articles Adopted: There are thirty basic rights identified and the Declaration explains each. What follows is an abridged version30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the full text of the Declaration is available in most libraries, from United Nations information centers in each capital city, and on the United Nations Internet website at http://www.un.org.)

1 All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

2 Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind.

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

4 No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

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

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

7 All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

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.

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

10 Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.

11 Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty.

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

13 Everyone has the right to freedom of movement.

14 Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

15 Everyone has the right to a nationality.

16 Men and women... have the right to marry and to found a family.

17 Everyone has the right to own property.

18 Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

19 Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

20 Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

21 Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country.

22 Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization... of... economic, social and cultural rights.

23 Everyone has the right to work.... Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions.

24 Everyone has the right to rest and leisure.

25 Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for... health and well-being.

26 Everyone has the right to education.

27 Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community.

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.

29 Everyone has duties to the community.

30 Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying... any right to engage in any activity... aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth.

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