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Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 
10 December 1948

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations 
adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the 
full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this 
historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to 
publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be 
disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools 
and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the 
political status of countries or territories."


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 co-
operation 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,

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 the peoples of Member States themselves 
and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction. 

Article 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.

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, 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.

Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery 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 without 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, detention or exile.

Article 10.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by 
an independent and impartial tribunal, 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 

(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 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 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 property.

Article 18.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience 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 

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his 
country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his 

(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.

Article 22.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security 
and is entitled to realization, through national effort and 
international co-operation 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 

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 

(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 special care and 
assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall 
enjoy the same social protection.

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 education shall be 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 

(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 scientific, 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 

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, 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 

(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.
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