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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

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,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS
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

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

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

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 defence.

(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

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

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

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 association.

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

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 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.

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 personality.

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 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 himself and his
family an existence worthy of human dignity, and
supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social

(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

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 peace.

(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

(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 realized.

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 society.

(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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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.