Every individual on the planet is entitled to certain rights simply because they are a human being. In every society, people have the right to be treated ethically and fairly. Of course, that doesn’t always mean that people extend these rights to others. Fortunately, there is a document known as the Universal Declaration of Human rights, and it dictates the ways in which people are and are not allowed to treat other people: whether foreign-born or native citizens of the country in which they are currently residing. Here is an overview of what this document is, how it is formatted, and what its contents are. The hope is that by reading this information, you will get a better understanding of what practices are allowed across the world, which are banned, and how to stop any action that violates this declaration.
Formatting and Layout of the Document
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is formatted just like a constitution of most countries, with information broken up into sections and subsections in an easy-to-understand layout. However, this document is rather short, and it doesn’t have many amendments to it like standard constitutions do. This makes it much easier to follow so that people can understand exactly what is expected of them. The whole document has a preamble and thirty articles with information and guidelines underneath each section for all the members of the UN to adhere to.
When and Why was this Document Created?
The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created in 1948, shortly after the end of World War II. Its purpose is to outline the inalienable rights that are granted to all people regardless of age, sex, race, religion, or any other factors. Today, it is considered a binding document for each region of the world that is represented in the United Nations. If anyone’s rights as outlined in this document are thought to be violated, then a formal complaint must be filed, and the process of resolving that complaint must be followed.
List of Rights
Of course, the most important part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the information contained within it. Some of the most important rights as outlined within this document are as follows:
- Free speech
- The right to believe whatever one wants (in regard to religion, culture, politics, etc.)
- Life, liberty, and security
- Recognition as a person in all parts of the world
- Equality in the eyes of the law (local and international laws)
- The right to defend one’s freedom when any rights outlined in this declaration are violated
- A fair, public, impartial trial
- The right to be presumed innocent until guilt is proven
- Freedom to move and live wherever one likes within each state’s borders
- The right to leave and enter any country and return to one’s homeland
- The right to seek asylum in other countries as a result of persecution in their current country of residence
- The right to have a nationality (being considered a member of a certain country or ethnic group)
- The right to marry and start a family once each person is considered an adult
- Equal rights in marriage, divorce, etc.
- The right to protection of marriage and family unites by the state
- The right to own individual property or to share in property in a partnership with others
- Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion and the freedom to express and manifest that freedom through worship, religious celebrations, etc. in public or in private
- The right to assemble peacefully
- The right to vote
- The right to government based on the consensus of the governed
- The right to access any public services or government-issued support offered by one’s country
- The right to social security
- Freedom to work, freedom to work by choice and not under compulsion, freedom to work under good conditions without discrimination
- The right to equal pay without discrimination
- The right to provide for one’s family through the pay that is earned in the workplace and through the assistance of government aid programs if necessary
- The right to form and join unions to ensure equal rights and fair treatment in the workplace
- The right to rest and paid holiday time (specifically, the right to have days off, spend time with the family, take a vacation, etc.)
- The right to good health, food, etc.
- Freedom for mothers and children to get the help they need, regardless of whether the child was born out of wedlock
- The right to education for all (free elementary and grade-school education, equally-accessible technical and advanced training beyond this)
- The right of parents to choose what sort of an education their children will receive
- Freedom to participate in one’s society and culture
- The right to protection of any works created by any person whether literary, musical, artwork, etc.
- The right to a world in which the freedoms outlined in this declaration can be recognized and extended to all people
These are the rights outlined within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and they are created so that people may be happy, upstanding members of society and so that they can live the lives that they were created to live–in harmony with everyone around them. Of course, while there are many inalienable rights outlined in this document, there are also a few things that the declaration prohibits.
Prohibitions Outlined by the Declaration
Some of the prohibited actions that are outlined in this declaration include:
- Discrimination against any person in regard to age, sex, religion, political ideologies and affiliations, etc.
- Slavery of any kind, including servitude and the trading of slaves
- Torture or cruel and unusual punishments
- Arrest, detention, or arrest for arbitrary reasons
- Holding someone guilty of a crime at the national or international level when their actions were not considered penal offences
- Heavier penalties than that which was issued at the time of sentencing for the crime, if indeed someone is found to have committed a penal offence
- Arbitrary interference with one’s family, privacy, home, or mail
- Attacks against one’s honor or reputation
- Granting of asylum for someone trying to escape prosecution for a crime he or she committed in another country
- Deprivation of one’s nationality, and deprivation of the right to change one’s nationality
- Arranged marriages (all marriages must be entered into with the consent of both spouses, otherwise, they are not legal)
- Arbitrary deprivation of property
- Coercion or use of force to convince someone to join a particular association
- Abuse of the rights and freedoms outlined in this document
- Actions that are contrary to this declaration and the principles and purposes of the United Nations
- Destruction of the rights and freedoms as outlined in this Universal Declaration of Human Rights
What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? In short, it is a document that tells humankind what sort of rights they are entitled to simply for being people. More specifically, it outlines actions that are permitted and that are not permitted at the state, national, or international levels, and it states that certain rights cannot be infringed upon under any circumstances. Essentially, this document specifies which actions are necessary and which must be done away with in order to create a truly democratic society and preserve the wealth, happiness, health, and security of all people everywhere.