Universal Declaration of Human
Rights of the United Nations


While this document is widely criticized for its "toothlessness"--it's completely unenforceable
and many countries (including the U.S.) haven't recognized it--we include it here as a matter
of perspective, for a world in which all peoples treated each other with the respect and
dignity inherent in the document would truly be a beautiful world.


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 realisation of this pledge, 

Now, therefore, the General Assembly proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual 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 observance, both among peoples of Member States themselves and among peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
1.  All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.  They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
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, religion, 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.
3.  Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
4.  No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
5.  No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
6.  Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
7.  All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.  All are entitled to equal protection against and discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
8.  Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him or her by the constitution or by law.
9.  No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest. detention, or exile.
10.  Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his or her rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him or her.
11.  1.  Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he or she has had all the guarantees necessary for his or her defense.  2.  No one shall be held guilty of any penal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offense, 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 offense was committed.
12.  No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his or her honour and reputation.  Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
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 or her own, and to return to his or her country.
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 principals of the United Nations.
15.  1.  Everyone has the right to a nationality.  2.  No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her nationality nor denied the right to change his or her nationality.
16.  1.  Men and women of full age, without any limitation 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 marriage, and at its dissolution.  2.  Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intended spouses.  3.  The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
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 or her property.
18.  Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his or her religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his or her religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.
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.
20.  1.  Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.  2.  No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
21.  1.  Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his or her country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.  2.  Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his or her 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 procedures.
22.  Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realisation, through national effort and multinational co-operation and in accordance with the organisation and resources of each State, of the economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for his or her dignity and the free development of his or her personality.
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 him or her and his or her 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 join trade unions for the protection of his or her interests.
24.  Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
25.  1.  Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of him or herself and his or her 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 or her control.  2.  Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.  All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
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 education shall be made equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.  2.  Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.  It shall promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further 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.
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 interest resulting from any scientific, literary, or artistic production of which he or she is the author.
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.
29.  1.  Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his or her personality is possible.  2.  In the exercise of his or her rights and freedoms, everyone 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 purpose and principles of the United Nations.
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.

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