75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • What is Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)?
  • Achievements of UDHR
  • What is the situation now?

Why in news?

  • December 10, 2023 marked the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
  • UDHR is the landmark document enshrining human rights and fundamental freedoms for all individuals.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

  • Background
    • On 10 December 1948, the UN General Assembly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at a meeting in Paris.
    • It laid one of the foundation stones of the international order that emerged following the horrors of World War II.
    • It was a response to the atrocities of World War II and an effort to establish a common understanding of the basic rights and freedoms to which all people are entitled.
  • About
    • A relatively compact document, the declaration consists of a preamble and 30 articles setting out fundamental rights and freedoms.
    • These 30 articles articulate a broad range of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
      • These rights are considered universal, meaning they apply to all people regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other status.
    • It is not a legally binding treaty, but it has served as a source of inspiration for the development of international human rights law.
  • Features
    • Preamble
      • The preamble sets out the reasons for the adoption of the declaration, emphasizing the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.
    • Articles
      • The UDHR consists of 30 articles that articulate a broad range of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
      • Some examples of rights outlined in the UDHR include:
        • the right to life, liberty, and security of person;
        • the right to freedom of religion; of expression and assembly;
        • the right to work and education; and
        • the right to an adequate standard of living.
      • The declaration says that “all are equal before the law” and that everyone is entitled to “a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.”
      • And it says that “everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”

Achievements of UNDHR

  • It is recognized as having inspired and paved the way for more than 70 human rights treaties at global and regional levels, according to the U.N.
  • It inspired the decolonization movement, the anti-apartheid movement.
  • It also inspired freedom fighters all around the world, be it on gender issues, be it on LGBTIQ+ issues, be it against racism.

What is the situation now?

  • The 75th anniversary comes as human rights are challenged in the war between Israel and Hamas, Russia’s war in Ukraine, internal conflicts in Myanmar and Sudan and in a host of other places and situations.
  • UN. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the universal declaration has been too often misused and abused.
    • It is exploited for political gain and it is ignored, often, by the very same people.
  • However, Amnesty International says the declaration is living proof that a global vision for human rights is possible & can be realized.
  • Despite the many times the declaration has been ignored or exploited, it is still relevant, and the world should honour its successes and learn from its failures.

Q1) What are Human Rights?

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world. They are inalienable, meaning they cannot be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. 

Q2) What is anti-apartheid movement?

The Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) was a British organization that opposed the South African apartheid system. The AAM supported the non-White population of South Africa who were persecuted by the apartheid policies.


Source: What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is marking its 75th anniversary? | United Nations