Universal Human Rights Declaration -- History and Overview

By Scott Hall
     In December of 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a standard that is accepted vastly across the globe.  Within its context, the declaration contains various listings of the basic things every human should have the right to enjoy.  Human Rights laws require states that take part in its affiliated treaties, to adhere to their guidelines and uphold those laws universally.  States are also bound to refrain from prevention of the enjoyment of those rights, and are duty bound by the ratifications of those laws within each of their own states laws.   This helps those states where human rights violations are occurring, to prosecute when those whom are caught and set before a court, by having not only individual laws apply, but international laws as well.

     Within the pages of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, one will find that indeed, according to the document, all nations have basic rights.  In Article 2, page 72 of this declaration, it states:

     Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

     By reading this statement, we can conclude that no matter whom you are, where you are born, what your political views are, your gender or skin color (actually spelled colour in the document), you are protected by these rights under international law. A lot of these same rights apply to Fair Housing Standards and certain Discrimination laws, within the United States. When reading a bit further into the text, in Article 3, it states:

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

     This Article, though short in sentence, makes a very big statement as to the position the States within the United Nations should actually be taking.  The right to life, liberty and the security of person applies to those states that are now uprising in protest, if they took part in signing and adapting to the Declaration, such as Yemen and Libya or Syria or any of the Nations whose citizens are making a stand and instead of those Nations negotiating or listening to their people, they are ignoring the “security of person” and randomly killing citizens who protest, a very strong violation of human rights within our world. Article 5 of the Declaration supports this by stating:

     “No one shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

     There are many more Articles within the Declaration to read and understand.  Along with the ones that have been mentioned previously, Article 12 may be the one most often overlooked when it comes to assisting those who have been subjected to harsh or hostile environments, it states:

     “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.”

     Citizens, Governments and rogue governments should take note of this.  You cannot punish or interfere with someone’s family or environment, should they become subject to those laws and you cannot say person X does not deserve the same rights as Person Y “just because” they have money or stature or prestige.  The citizens of the world have seen this type of scenario many times when it comes to punishing the corrupt figureheads and the average citizen for similar crimes.  Often it seems that those whom have wealth or prestige suffer less at the hands of the law than those whom aren’t in such positions. 

     In conclusion, upon reading through the UHRD or Universal Human Rights Declaration, it can be easily deduced that all citizens are born with freedoms, when the state participates as a part of its policies.  This includes Muslim, Buddhist or Christian Nations, Caucasian citizens or citizens of a different race or specific heritage.  Though their individual states may have laws that pertain to the specific punishments of criminal behavior or political unrest, all governing bodies must remember, we are humans who have rights and are protected equally under the law, and every year the United Nations reviews, re-mandates and ratifies these laws to continue to provide guidelines we all should follow.

The full listing of the UHRD can be found here:

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