The 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 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

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 realization of this pledge,

Now, therefore, the General Assembly Proclaims

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

  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. 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 any
    discrimination in violation of the 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 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 rights and
    obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
    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 has
      had all the guarantees necessary for his 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 it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be
      imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offense was
  11. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy,
    family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation.
    Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or
    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.
    1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from
    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.
    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.
    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.
    1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with
    2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
    1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
    2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
    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.
  14. 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.
    1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and
      favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
    2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal
    3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable 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.
  15. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation
    of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
    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
    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.
    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.
  16. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights
    and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
    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.
  17. 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.

Adopted by UN General
Assembly Resolution 217A (III) of 10 December 1948