Analysis: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

The inspiration behind creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter  referred as “UDHR”) was the  horror, cruel prosecution, inhuman behaviour and the various barbaric acts perpetrated by Nazi Governement. Morsink refers to the statement in the Declaration’s Preamble, which provides that the “disregard and contempt for human rights has resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind,” and affirms that this shared outrage explains why the Declaration has found such widespread support.[1]

With the participation of dozens of countries, the UDHR was adopted on 10 December, 1948 and without any dissent. The discussion was based on  the dignity of human beings, their basic fundamental rights and human rights. This is the first time when the global community officially acknowledges the significance of basic Human Rights. It was the first time when the basic human rights of individuals were universally accepted at a global level. The aim of UDHR is to protect the inherent dignity of each human being in all aspects. In other words, we can say that it is a milestone document which contains human rights.


The preamble of UDHR recognises the intrinsic dignity and inalienable rights of all human beings. It disregards the contempt and violation of human rights which led to barbarous acts and outraged the conscience of mankind. Human rights should be protected by Rule of Law. [2] It also ensures the development of friendly relations between various nations, same rights of men and women and promotes social development. The General Assembly affirms the UDHR as a standard to promote respect for basic human rights and fundamental rights and ensure universal application.

The  UDHR contains 30 articles.

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. It affirms human dignity, equality and brotherhood.[3]

Article 2

It provides that everyone is equally entitled to all rights and freedoms provided for in the declaration. There should not be any kind of discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or any other status. No person shall be discriminated against on the above mentioned grounds.

Article 3

Every individual in the world has the right to life, liberty and security. Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides the same right.

Article 4

In 1815, Declaration Relative to the Universal Abolition of the Slave Trade [4] was the first international covenant which condemns the slavery for the first time. Article 4 of UDHR provides that slavery should be forbidden in all forms.

Article 5

It provides that no individual should be subjected to inhuman, cruel, torture or punishment. The objective of Article 5 aims to protect integrity and dignity of persons. It protects from tortute or degrading treatment.

Article 6

It provides that everyone in society should be recognised as a human before law. This article ensures equality among the community.

Article 7

It provides that every individual is equal before the law and is entitled to equality without any kind or form of discrimination. It also provides equal protection of laws. Our Constitution of Indian recognises the same article under Article 14.

Article 8

It states that everyone has the right to efficacious remedy or solution by competent authorities for the violation of human rights as granted by law.

Article 9

It provides that no person should be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful  arrest or detention.

Article 9

 It prescribes one of the most important principles of natural justice. It provides fair and free hearing before competent authority or impartial judges.

Article 11

It prescribes that every individual charged with offence should be treated innocent until proven guilty and no individual should be charged for any act or omission which does not amount to any penal offence. Also, more punishment should not be imposed than what was provided  for the offence committed at that time.

Article 12

It provides that protection to the privacy of individuals. Article 21 of Constitution of India protects the privacy of individuals.

Article 13

Everyone has the freedom to move freely anywhere within the borders of the state or to leave  or return to any country.

Article 14

It provides that every person in the society has the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution in various countries except in the case of  non-Political crimes or acts opposed to the basic principles of the UN.

Article 15

Everyone has the right to have a nationality and no one person shall be deprived of it.

Article 16

Everyone has the right to marry or form a family. Everyone is  entitled to equal rights during marriage or at the time of dissolution or ending of marriage. The family is entitled to be protected  and marriage shall be entered between spouses with free consent.

Article 17

It provides that everyone has the right to acquire property solely or in associations. No person shall be deprived of holding a property.

Article 18

It provides that every individual has the right of freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It also includes freedom related  to conversion of religion or belief either alone or in community.

Article 19

It provides that every human

 has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It also includes freedom to hold, impart, seek, receive information and ideas without any interference.

Article 20

It provides that every individual has the right to freedom to assemble peacefully. No one should be compelled to become part of any association or assembly.

Article 21

It provides that everyone has the right to participate in government affairs directly or through their chosen representatives of his country. It also imparts equal access to public services.

Article 22

The right to social security shall be provided to every human in the society. Also, every person is entitled to economic, social and cultural rights and the free development of his  or her personality.

Article 23

It provides the freedom to work of his own choice or to choose employment of his own choice. It also provides just and favourable conditions of employment. Men or Women are entitled to equal pay for equal work without any kind of discrimination. Also everyone has the right to join or take part in any Trade union for protection of their rights and interest.

Article 24

Every person is entitled to take rest and leisure and also entitled to reasonable working hours and periodic holidays.

Article 25

It provides that everyone is entitled to live standard life with all adequate means like health, food, clothing, housing and medical care and also has the right to be secure in circumstances of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or lack of livelihood. Special care and protection should be provided to all children in the society. Children born in or out of wedlock are also entitled to enjoy the same protection.

Article 26

Education is the most basic need of every child .This article provides the right to education to every child. It also provides that free Elementary education shall be compulsory education directs development of personality, strengthening respect for human rights and freedoms parents have prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27

It provides that everyone has a right to participate freely in the cultural life of society and enjoy or share various advancement or benefits in various fields. Every person has a right to protection of material or interest resulting from his scientific, literary or artistic  work.

Article 28

It provides that everyone is entitled to social and international order so that rights and freedoms enshrined in this declaration can be fully achieved.

Article 29

Everyone has the right to develop his personality. Everyone shall enjoy rights and freedom subjected to certain limitations as determined by law for the purpose of securing respect and recognition towards the  requirement of  morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

Article 30

It provides that nothing in the declaration may be interpreted in such manner as to perform any action for the violation of the rights and freedom enshrined in this declaration .


To give the  status of the UDHR, it becomes pertinent to note the saying of Hon’ble Eleanor Roosevelt, Chairman of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights at the time of the making of the provisions of the UDHR-

“    In giving our approval to the declaration today, it is of primary importance that we keep clearly in mind the basic character of the document. It is not a treaty; it is not an international agreement. It is not and does not purport to be a statement of law or of legal obligation. It is a declaration of basic principles of human rights and freedoms, to be stamped with the approval of the General Assembly by formal vote of its members, and to serve as a common standard of achievement for all peoples of all nations.”[5]

The UDHR is a big attempt towards making the world observe and respect human rights. But, the Non-binding nature of declaration hampered its  main objective or intention.



[2]The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,available at : (last visited on Jan 20,2021).

[3]The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,available at :,in%20a%20spirit%20of%20brotherhood. (last visited on Jan 21,2021).




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