Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) upsc

This topic of “Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

I. Introduction

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):
    • Historic milestone in human rights history.
    • Drafted by global representatives with diverse legal and cultural backgrounds.
    • Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (Resolution 217 A).
    • First time setting out universally protected fundamental human rights.
    • Translated into over 500 languages.
    • Inspired and laid groundwork for over 70 human rights treaties at global and regional levels.

II. Preamble

  • Recognition of inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all humans as foundation of global freedom, justice, and peace.
  • Acts violating human rights seen as barbarous and against the conscience of mankind.
  • Advocacy for a world where individuals enjoy freedom of speech, belief, and freedom from fear and want.
  • Protection of human rights should be secured by the rule of law to avoid rebellion against tyranny and oppression.
  • Promotion of friendly relations between nations seen as essential.
  • Faith in fundamental human rights, human dignity, and equal rights of men and women reaffirmed in the United Nations Charter.
  • Member States pledge to promote universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • Emphasizes the importance of common understanding of these rights and freedoms for full realization of this pledge.

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III. Articles of the UDHR

A. Fundamental Rights

  • Article 1: All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They should act towards each other in a spirit of brotherhood.
  • Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms in the Declaration, without any form of discrimination. No distinction should be made based on political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory.
  • Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
  • Article 4: Slavery or servitude in any form is prohibited.
  • Article 5: No one should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

B. Legal Rights

  • 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 to equal protection of the law without any discrimination.
  • Article 8: Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by competent national tribunals for violations of fundamental rights.
  • Article 9: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.
  • Article 10: Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing by an independent tribunal in determining rights, obligations, and any criminal charges.
  • Article 11: Presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a public trial with all necessary guarantees for defence. No retroactive penal offenses or penalties.

C. Personal Rights and Freedoms

  • Article 12: Protection against arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, and against attacks on honour and reputation.
  • Article 13: Freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state, and the right to leave and return to one’s country.
  • Article 14: Right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution in other countries, except for non-political crimes or acts contrary to the United Nations’ principles.
  • Article 15: Right to a nationality and protection against arbitrary deprivation of nationality or denial of the right to change nationality.
  • Article 16: Right to marry and to found a family, with equal rights during marriage and at dissolution. Marriage requires free and full consent. The family is entitled to societal and state protection.
  • Article 17: Right to own property alone or in association with others. Protection against arbitrary deprivation of property.
  • Article 18: Right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. This includes the freedom to change religion or belief, and to practice religion or belief publicly or privately.
  • Article 19: Right to freedom of opinion and expression, including freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.
  • Article 20: Right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

D. Political Rights

  • Article 21: Right to participate in government, directly or through freely chosen representatives. Right to equal access to public service. Authority of government is based on the will of the people, expressed in periodic and genuine elections by universal and equal suffrage, and by secret vote or equivalent free voting procedures.

E. Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

  • Article 22: Right to social security and to the realization of economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for dignity and the free development of personality.
  • Article 23: Right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work, to protection against unemployment, to equal pay for equal work, and to form and join trade unions.
  • Article 24: Right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
  • Article 25: Right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing, medical care, and social services. Right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, or other lack of livelihood. Special care and assistance for motherhood and childhood.
  • Article 26: Right to education, with free compulsory elementary education and access to technical, professional, and higher education. Education should promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and further the activities of the United Nations for peace. Parents have the right to choose their children’s education.

F. Cultural and Scientific Rights

  • Article 27: Right to participate in cultural life, enjoy the arts, and share in scientific advancement and its benefits. Right to protection of moral and material interests from scientific, literary, or artistic production.

G. Social and International Order

  • Article 28: Right to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms in the Declaration can be fully realized.
  • Article 29: Duties to the community for the free and full development of personality. Exercise of rights and freedoms should respect the rights and freedoms of others, meet the requirements of morality, public order, and general welfare in a democratic society, and should not be contrary to the United Nations’ principles.

H. Limitations and Obligations

  • Article 30: Prohibits any State, group, or person from engaging in any activity or performing any act aimed at the destruction of the rights and freedoms set forth in the UDHR.

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