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Universal Declaration of Human Rights


December 10, 2023 marked the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): Overview
  2. Achievements of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
  3. Current Situation

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): Overview

  • Approved by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948, in Paris, the UDHR was a response to the atrocities of World War II.
  • It laid the groundwork for the post-war international order, aiming to establish a common understanding of basic rights and freedoms.
Document Structure:
  • The relatively concise declaration comprises a preamble and 30 articles, covering a spectrum of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
  • Despite being non-binding, it has been a crucial source of inspiration for the development of international human rights law.
Universal Applicability:
  • The rights and freedoms outlined are considered universal, applying to all individuals, irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other status.
Key Features:
  • Preamble: Emphasizes the inherent dignity and equal, inalienable rights of all members of the human family.
  • Articles: The 30 articles cover diverse rights, including life, liberty, security of person, freedom of religion, expression, assembly, work, education, and an adequate standard of living.
  • Promotes equality before the law and the right to seek asylum from persecution in other countries.

Achievements of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):

  • Global Inspiration: Recognized for inspiring over 70 human rights treaties globally and regionally.
  • Impact on Movements: Served as a catalyst for the decolonization and anti-apartheid movements.
  • Freedom Movements: Inspired freedom fighters worldwide, addressing gender, LGBTIQ+ issues, and fighting against racism.

Current Situation:

  • Challenges: Faces challenges amid conflicts like Israel-Hamas, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and internal conflicts in places like Myanmar and Sudan.
  • Misuse and Abuse: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledges the UDHR’s misuse and abuse for political gain.
  • Relevance and Recognition: Despite challenges, Amnesty International asserts that the UDHR remains relevant, showcasing a global vision for human rights. The world should acknowledge its successes and learn from its failures.

-Source: Indian Express

February 2024