Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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
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
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
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest
importance for the full realization of this pledge,
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 the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples
of territories under their jurisdiction.
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.
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.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be
prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
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.
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.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
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.
- 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 defence.
- 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.
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.
- Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each
- Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his
- Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
- 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
- Everyone has the right to a nationality.
- No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change
- 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.
- Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending
- The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to
protection by society and the State.
- Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
- No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
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.
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.
- Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
- No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
- Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or
through freely chosen representatives.
- Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
- 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.
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 personality.
- Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable
conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
- Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
- 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.
- Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working
hours and periodic holidays with pay.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their
- 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.
- 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.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and
freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
- Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his
personality is possible.
- 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 society.
- These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and
principles of the United Nations.
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.
Usage by Country
Official Language: Gibraltar, Ireland, Malta, United Kingdom
Official Language: India, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore
Official Language: Botswana, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
Central and South America:
Official Language: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Br. Virgin Isl.s, Dominica, Falklands, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, US Virging Islands
Official Language: Canada, USA
Official Language: American Samoa, Australia, Belau, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Islands, Northern Mariannas, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Western Samoa.
It belongs to the Indo-European family, Germanic group, West Germanic subgroup and is the official language of over 1.7 billion people. Home speakers are over 330 million. As regards the evolution of the English language, three main phases can be distinguished. From the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., the Celtics are believed to have lived in the place where we now call Britain. Britain first appeared in the historical records as Julius Caesar campaigned there in 55-54 B.C. Britain was conquered in 43 A.D. and remained under the Roman occupation until 410 A.D. Then came from the European Continent the Germanic tribes, who spoke the languages belonging to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. First the Jutes from Jutland (present-day Denmark) in the 3rd century A.D., then in the 5th century, the Saxons from Friesland, Frisian Islands and north-west Germany, finally the Angles, from present-day Schleswig-Holstein (a German Land) who settled north of the Thames. The words "England" and "English", come from the word, "Angles". During the Old English period of 450-1,100 A.D. (first phase), Britain experienced the spread of Christianity, and, from the 8th century, the invasion and occupation by the Vikings, called the "Danes." The most important event of the second phase, the Middle English period (1100-1500 A.D.) was the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Normans were the North Men, meaning the Vikings from Scandinavia, settled in the Normandy region of France from the 9th century, who had assimilated themselves to the French language and culture. English was much influenced by French during this time. During the third phase, the Modern English period (1500 onwards), English spread to the world as the British Empire colonised many lands. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) lived in this period, and in 1755 Samuel Johnson completed "A Dictionary of the English Language" with about 40,000 entries, which contributed to the standardisation of the English language. The English language which spread to the world created many of its variants, the most prominent of which is American English. The American English writing system is said to owe much to Noah Webster's "An American Dictionary of the English Language" which was completed in 1828. Other important varieties include Indian English, Australian English, and many English-based Creoles and Pidgins.