|The Universal Declaration of Human Rights|
Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
|Ratified||10 December 1948|
|Location||Palais de Chaillot, Paris|
|Author(s)||John Peters Humphrey (Canada), René Cassin (France), P. C. Chang (China), Charles Malik (Lebanon), Eleanor Roosevelt (United States), among others|
|Rights by claimant|
|Other groups of rights|
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris. The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. The full text is published by the United Nations on its website.
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, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 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.
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During the Second World War the allies adopted the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want, as their basic war aims. The United Nations Charter "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"  A universal declaration that specified the rights of individuals was necessary to give effect to the Charter's provisions on human rights. 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, China, Egypt, France, India,-family phrases were the result of the Christian Democratic movement's influence on Cassin and Malik.
The Universal Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly on 10 December 1948 by a vote of 48 in favor, 0 against, with eight abstentions: the Soviet Union, Ukrainian SSR, Byelorussian SSR, People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, People's Republic of Poland, Union of South Africa, Czechoslovakia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. South Africa's opposition had been clear throughout the process. Eleanor Roosevelt attributed the abstention of the Soviet bloc nations to Article 13, which provided the right of citizens to leave their countries.
The following countries voted in favor of the Declaration:
- Republic of China
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
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 favor of the final draft in the General Assembly.
The underlying structure of the Universal Declaration was introduced in its second draft which was prepared by René Cassin. Cassin worked from a first draft prepared by John Peters Humphrey. The structure was influenced by the Code Napoleon, including a preamble and introductory general principles. Cassin compared the Declaration to the portico of a Greek temple, with a foundation, steps, four columns and a pediment. 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, represent 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. Articles 6 through 11 refer to the fundamental legality of human rights with specific remedies cited for their defense when violated. 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 thought, conscience and religion, as well as 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 Organisation.
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 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 and legal effect 
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 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,[who?] in addition, believe that the Declaration forms part of customary international law 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, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 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.
The Universal Declaration has received praise from a number of notable people. Charles Malik, Lebanese philosopher and diplomat, called it "an international document of the first order of importance," while Eleanor Roosevelt, first chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that drafted the Declaration, stated that it "may well become the international Magna Carta 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 of our time". And in a statement on 10 December 2003 on behalf of the European Union, Marcello Spatafora said that "it placed human rights at the centre of the framework of principles and obligations shaping relations within the international community."
Islamic countries 
Most Islamic countries have signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights agreements. In 1948, Saudi Arabia did not sign the declaration, claiming that it violated Islamic Sharia law. However, Pakistan (which had signed the declaration) disagreed with and critiqued the Saudi position. In 1982, the Iranian representative to the United Nations, Said Rajaie-Khorassani, said that the UDHR was "a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition", which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law. 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, 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". As a secular state, Turkey has signed the declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and other European Human Rights agreements.
A number of scholars in different fields have expressed concerns with the Declaration's alleged western bias. These include Irene Oh (Religion and Ethics), Abdulaziz Sachedina (Religion), Riffat Hassan (Theology) and Faisal Kutty (Law). Riffat Hassan argues as follows:
"What needs to be pointed out to those who uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be the highest, or sole, model, of a charter of equality and liberty for all human beings, is that given the Western origin and orientation of this Declaration, the "universality" of the assumptions on which it is based is - at the very least - problematic and subject to questioning. Furthermore, the alleged incompatibility between the concept of human rights and religion in general, or particular religions such as Islam, needs to be examined in an unbiased way."
Irene Oh argues that one of the ways to reconcile the two is to approach it from the perspective of comparative ethics.
Kutty writes: "A strong argument can be made that the current formulation of international human rights constitutes a cultural structure in which western society finds itself easily at home ... It is important to acknowledge and appreciate that other societies may have equally valid alternative conceptions of human rights."
The Right to Refuse to Kill 
Groups such as Amnesty International 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 to military service is primarily derived from, but not yet explicit in, Article 18 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.
To the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights one more might, with relevance, be added. It is "The Right to Refuse to Kill."
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American feminist Catharine MacKinnon has asked the question "are women considered human?", focusing in part on the use of male-centric terms such as brotherhood in Article 1 and himself and his family in article 23.
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 held in the same year, 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 perspective, which offers an extended critique of human rights universalism.
See also 
Human Rights 
- History of 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, Ancient Persia, 559–530 BC
- United States Declaration of Independence, 1776
- Declaration of Sentiments, 1848
- Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, 1990
- Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, 1993
- United Nations Millennium Declaration, 2000
National human rights law 
- Cáin Adomnáin, 697
- Magna Carta, England, 1215
- Golden Bull, Hungary, 1222
- Habeas Corpus Act 1679, England, 1679
- English Bill of Rights and Scottish Claim of Right, 1689
- Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776
- United States Bill of Rights, completed in 1789, approved in 1791
- Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, France 1789
- Constitution of the Soviet Union, first 1918, but did not guarantee rights to the middle class
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982
International human rights law 
- European Convention on Human Rights, 1952
- Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1954
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1969
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1976
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1976
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1981
- Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1990
- Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 2000
- Slavery in Russia
- Human Rights in Mainland China
- Slavery in the United States
- Command responsibility
- Declaration on Great Apes, an as-yet unsuccessful effort to extend some human rights to great apes
- Racial equality proposal,1919
- The Farewell Sermon, 632
- Williams 1981; This is the first book edition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with a foreword by Jimmy Carter.
- "United Nations Charter, preamble and article 55". United Nations. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- "UDHR – History of human rights". Universalrights.net. Retrieved 2012-07-07.}}
- Morsink 1999, p. 133
- Morsink 1999, p. 4
- Carlson, Allan (12 January 2004. Globalizing Family Values.
- UDHR Drafting History, Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, Columbia University
- See "Who are the signatories of the Declaration?" in Questions and answers about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Association in Canada.
- Glendon 2001, pp. 169–70[citation not found]
- Yearbook of the United Nations 1948–1949 p 535
- Schabas, William (1998). "Canada and the Adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (fee required). McGill Law Journal 43: 403.
- Glendon 2002, pp. 62–64.
- Glendon 2002, Chapter 10.
- "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 1948–2008". United Nations. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
- "Universal Declaration of Human Rights". United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights.
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. "Digital record of the UDHR". United Nations.
- Statement by Charles Malik as Representative of Lebanon to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on the Universal Declaration, 6 November 1948[dead link]
- Michael E. Eidenmuller (1948-12-09). "Eleanor Roosevelt: Address to the United Nations General Assembly". Americanrhetoric.com. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- "John Paul II, Address to the U.N., October 2, 1979 and October 5, 1995". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- Nisrine Abiad (2008). Sharia, Muslim states and international human rights treaty obligations: a comparative study. BIICL. pp. 60–65. ISBN 978-1-905221-41-7.
- Price 1999, p. 163
- Littman, D (February/March 1999). "Universal Human Rights and Human Rights in Islam". Midstream. Archived from the original on 2006-05-12.
- "Resolution No 60/27-P". Organisation of the Islamic Conference. 2000-06-27. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
- "Are Human Rights Compatible with Islam?". religiousconsultation.org. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- "The Rights of God". Georgetown University Press, 2007.
- "Non-Western Societies Have Influenced Human Rights". in Jacqueline Langwith, ed., Opposing Viewpoints: Human Rights (Gale/Greenhaven Press: Chicago, 2007) 41.
- Out of the margins: the right to conscientious objection to military service in Europe: An announcement of Amnesty International's forthcoming campaign and briefing for the UN Commission on Human Rights, 31 March 1997. Amnesty International.
- A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the UN Human Rights System, Parts 1, 2 & 3, Background Information on International Law for COs, Standards which recognise the right to conscientious objection, War Resisters' International.
- Sean MacBride, The Imperatives of Survival, Nobel Lecture, 12 December 1974, The Nobel Foundation – Official website of the Nobel Foundation. (English index page; hyperlink to Swedish site.) From Nobel Lectures in Peace 1971–1980.
- "Are Women Human?". Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- "Final Declaration Of The Regional Meeting For Asia Of The World Conference On Human Rights". Law.hku.hk. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
The Earth Charter
- Glendon, Mary Ann (2002). A world made new: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Random House. ISBN 978-0-375-76046-4.
- Hashmi, Sohail H. (2002). Islamic political ethics: civil society, pluralism, and conflict. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-11310-4.
- Morsink, Johannes (1999). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: origins, drafting, and intent. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1747-6.
- Price, Daniel E. (1999). Islamic political culture, democracy, and human rights: a comparative study. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-96187-9.
- Williams, Paul; United Nations. General Assembly (1981). The International bill of human rights. Entwhistle Books. ISBN 978-0-934558-07-5.
Further reading 
- Feldman, Jean-Philippe. "Hayek's Critique Of The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights". Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, Volume 9, Issue 4 (December 1999): 1145-6396.
- Nurser, John. "For All Peoples and All Nations. Christian Churches and Human Rights.". (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2005).
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights pages at Columbia University (Centre for the Study of Human Rights), including article by article commentary, video interviews, discussion of meaning, drafting and history.
- Introductory note by Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade and procedural history on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Historic Archives of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law
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|Look up universal declaration of human rights in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Universal Declaration of Human Rights|
- Text of the UDHR (English)
- Official translations of the UDHR
- Resource Guide on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN Library, Geneva)
- Questions and answers about the Universal Declaration
- Text, Audio, and Video excerpt of Eleanor Roosevelt's Address to the United Nations on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- UDHR – Education
- Revista Envío – A Declaration of Human Rights For the 21st Century
- Introductory note by Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade and procedural history note on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Historic Archives of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law
- The Laws of Burgos: 500 Years of Human Rights from the Law Library of Congress blog
Audiovisual Materials 
- Librivox: Human-read audio recordings in several Languages
- Text, Audio, and Video excerpt of Eleanor Roosevelt's Address to the United Nations on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Animated presentation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Amnesty International, from Youtube (English, 20 minutes and 23 seconds)
- Audio: Statement by Charles Malik as Representative of Lebanon to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on the Universal Declaration, 6 November 1948.
- UN Department of Public Information introduction to the drafters of the Declaration.
- Audiovisual material on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Historic Archives of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law
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