The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
December 10, 1948 (website)
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 page.
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
Archive: audio file
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Full One-Sheet Page English Poster 27" x 40"
(for schools and educational institutions)
[Syriac, Surayt] translation
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
co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal
respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is
of the greatest importance for the full realization of this
Now, Therefore 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
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 punishment.
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
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
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
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 state.
- Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his
own, and to return to his country.
- 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 Nations.
- Everyone has the right to a nationality.
- No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor
denied the right to change his nationality.
- 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 spouses.
- 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
- 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 of equal access to public service in
- 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
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 interests.
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
- 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 children.
- 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.
Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III)
at its 3rd session in Paris on December 10, 1948.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights