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Rights Universal Declaration of Human Rights


On 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed and adopted by the General Assembly. The extraordinary vision and determination of the drafters produced a document that for the first time set out universal human rights for all people in an individual context.

Now available in more than 360 languages, the Declaration is the most translated document in the world — a testament to its universal nature and reach. It has inspired the constitutions of many newly independent States and many new democracies. It has become a yardstick by which we measure respect for what we know, or should know, as right and wrong.

It is our duty to ensure that these rights are a living reality — that they are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone,everywhere. It is often those who most need their human rights protected who also need to be informed that the Declaration exists — and that it exists for them.

The sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration is an occasion for all of us to recommit to the vision of the Declaration. It remains as relevant today as it was on the day it was adopted. I hope you will make it part of your life.

Ban Ki-moon


It is difficult to imagine today just what a fundamental shift the Universal Declaration of Human Rights represented when it was adopted 60 years ago. In a post-war world scarred by the Holocaust, divided by colonialism and wracked by inequality, a charter setting out the first global and solemn commitment to the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings, regardless of colour, creed or origin, was a bold and daring undertaking, one that was not certain to succeed. The fact that it has led to an extensive infrastructure of protection of all the fundamental freedoms we are all entitled to is a tribute to the vision of the drafters of the Declaration and to the many human rights defenders who have struggled over the last six decades to make that vision a reality. This struggle is far from over, and therein lies the power of the Declaration: it is a living document that will continue to inspire generations to come.
Louise Arbour

High Commissioner

for Human Rights


All human beings are born with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms.

The United Nations is committed to
upholding, promoting and protecting
the human rights of every individual.
This commitment stems from the United Nations
Charter, which reaffirms the faith of the peoples
of the world in fundamental human rights and
in the dignity and worth of the human person.
In the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights,
the United Nations has stated
in clear and simple terms the rights
which belong equally to every person.
These rights belong to you.
They are your rights.
Familiarize yourself with them.
Help to promote and defend them for yourself as
well as for your fellow human beings.
Universal Declaration
of Human Rights


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 cooperation 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
this Universal Declaration
of Human Rights
as a common standard of achievement for all
and all nations, to the end that every
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
both among the peoples of Member
States themselves and among the peoples
under their jurisdiction.

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in
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,
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;
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
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,
or exile.
Article 10
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and
public hearing by an independent and impartial
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
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
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
Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought,
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
Article 21
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the
of his country, directly or through
freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right to 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
Article 22
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to
social security and is entitled to realization, through
national effort and international cooperation 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
care and assistance. All children, whether
born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same
social protection.
10 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
shall be equally accessible to all on
the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full
of the human personality and to
the strengthening of respect for human rights
and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote
tolerance and friendship among
all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall
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
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,
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.

Published by the United Nations

Department of Public Information

DPI/876/Rev.4—07-55693—November 2007—50M

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