The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Essay

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), presented on December 10, 1948, has the sole purpose of protecting and respecting a humans rights and dignities.  The UDHR seeks to promote progressive measures, on both national and international levels.  The UDHR requires every State to provide human rights protections for each individual residing within its jurisdiction.  The UDHR helps to guide in the writing and implementing of new and current laws that protect human rights.  The Preamble states that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.  It also states that it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations.

Articles 1, 2, and 3 state that all humans are born free and have the right to equal level of dignity and rights, free from discriminations of any type.  These discriminations include religion, race, color, nationality, social status or origin, political opinion, sex, language, property status, and birth.  Every right and freedom within the UHDR applies to all humans.  All humans have the right to life, liberty, and personal security.

Article 4 prohibits slavery and slave trade.  Article 5 states that no human can be tortured, or subjected to any form of inhumane treatment and/or punishment.  Articles 7 and 8 give all humans the right to protection of the law, which includes any discrimination made against the UDHR.  Every human has the right to representation by the proper authorities.  Article 9 states that no person can be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.

Article 10 gives every person the right to a trial or public hearing by the appropriate judicial group.  Article 11 states that every person is innocent until proven guilty by trial.  It also states that the punishment must be appropriate for the crime.

Article 12 states that every human has the right to personal, family, and home privacy, and the right to protection against violations of such rights.  Article 13 gives every person the right to move and reside in their choice of states.  Each person also has the right to leave and return to his own country.  Article 14 states that a person has the right to seek asylum from persecution in another country, and this right cannot be used when the offender has committed a political crime or a crime that acts against the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15 states that every human has the right to a nationality and cannot be arbitrarily deprived of such nationality.  In addition, every person has the right to change their nationality.  Article 16 gives every person the right to marriage and family.  Families are entitled to protection by the State.  Article 17 gives every person the right to own property, which cannot arbitrarily be taken away from such person.

Article 18 gives every human the right to freedom of thought and religion.  This includes the right to change religions and to present such beliefs privately or publicly.  Article 19 states that every human has the right to the freedoms of expression and opinion.  Article 20 states that every human has the right to the freedom of peaceful assembly.  Article 21 gives every person the right to be involved in the government of his country, and the peoples desires for governmental authority will be demonstrated through elections.

Article 22 gives every human the right to the social, economic, and cultural aspects that are necessary to foster the growth of dignity and personality development.  Article 23 states that every person has the right to employment endeavors of their choice, and the right to equal pay, free from discrimination.  This also includes the right to form unions.  Article 24 gives the right to reasonable work hours and paid holidays.

Article 25 states that every human has the right to a standard of living that fosters the general health and wellness of self and family.  It also states that all children, regardless of parental marital status, have the right to equal social protection.  Article 26 gives all humans the right to education, and that parents have the right to choose the type of education for their children.

Article 27 states that every human has the right to participate in community cultural aspects.  Article 28 gives the right to the realization of the rights and freedoms in the UDHR on a social and international level.  Article 29 states that every human has the right to exercise his rights and freedoms as permitted by law.  Article 30 states that there may not be any destruction of any of the right s and freedoms set forth in the UDHR by any State group or person.

Arbitrary: determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity

Human rights: the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled

Human rights defenders: anyone working to promote and protect human rights; can be lawyers, unionists, teachers, members of organizations, journalists, or victims

One of the major results of the UDHR was the fall of Soviet Communism in the years between 1989 and 1991.  The hope that stemmed from this was that the UDHR would be made more clear and be a stronger force.  Unfortunately, although many other changes occurred after the introduction of the UDHR, there were many more violations of the principles set.  Human dignity and human rights are still being violated, even today, by horrific acts of torture and forms of slavery throughout the world.  Humans are being classified by economic or political statuses, discrimination is running rampant, and as such, those that fall short of higher statuses face direct violations of their rights.  Even human rights defenders are facing attacks of physical violence, torture, unnecessary arrests, and intimidation.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute. (1998). Eleanor Roosevelt. Accessed online at

Human Rights First. (2007). Protecting Human Rights Defenders: Analysis of the newly adopted Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Accessed online at

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. (1996). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [electronic] Accessed at

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