Human Rights Documents
This part contains:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Simplified Version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Simplified Version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Summary of Rights from the Convention on the Rights of the Child
" We wrote the summarised documents on papers on the walls of the classroom - they were, literally, the background to every activity! "
Croatian school visitor
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 below. 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 of 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 all 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 law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the people 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
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 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 brotherhood.
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, now, self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
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 forms.
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.
(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 committed.
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.
(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 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.
(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 others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
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 whether alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion of 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.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) Everyone has the rights of equal access to public service in his country.
(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 cooperation 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 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, of 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.
Article 24. 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 protection.
(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 benefits.
(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.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community 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.
Summary of Preamble
The General Assembly recognizes that the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, human rights should be protected by the rule of law, friendly relations between nations must be fostered, the peoples of the UN have affirmed their faith in human rights, the dignity and the worth of the human person, the equal rights of men and women and are determined to promote social progress, better standards of life and larger freedom and have promised to promote human rights and a common understanding of these rights.
A summary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1. Everyone is free and we should all be treated in the same way.
2. Everyone is equal despite differences in skin colour, sex, religion, language for example.
3. Everyone has the right to life and to live in freedom and safety.
4. No one has the right to treat you as a slave nor should you make anyone your slave.
5. No one has the right to hurt you or to torture you.
6. Everyone has the right to be treated equally by the law.
7. The law is the same for everyone, it should be applied in the same way to all.
8. Everyone has the right to ask for legal help when their rights are not respected.
9. No one has the right to imprison you unjustly or expel you from your own country.
10. Everyone has the right to a fair and public trial.
11. Everyone should be considered innocent until guilt is proved.
12. Every one has the right to ask for help if someone tries to harm you, but no-one can enter your home, open your letters or bother you or your family without a good reason.
13. Everyone has the right to travel as they wish.
14. Everyone has the right to go to another country and ask for protection if they are being persecuted or are in danger of being persecuted.
15. Everyone has the right to belong to a country. No one has the right to prevent you from belonging to another country if you wish to.
16. Everyone has the right to marry and have a family.
17. Everyone has the right to own property and possessions.
18. Everyone has the right to practise and observe all aspects of their own religion and change their religion if they want to.
19. Everyone has the right to say what they think and to give and receive information.
20. Everyone has the right to take part in meetings and to join associations in a peaceful way.
21. Everyone has the right to help choose and take part in the government of their country.
22. Everyone has the right to social security and to opportunities to develop their skills.
23. Everyone has the right to work for a fair wage in a safe environment and to join a trade union.
24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure.
25. Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living and medical help if they are ill.
26. Everyone has the right to go to school.
27. Everyone has the right to share in their community's cultural life.
28. Everyone must respect the 'social order' that is necessary for all these rights to be available.
29. Everyone must respect the rights of others, the community and public property.
30. No one has the right to take away any of the rights in this declaration.
The aim of the Convention is to set standards for the defence of children against the neglect and abuse they face to varying degrees in all countries every day. It is careful to allow for the different cultural, political and material realities among states. The most important consideration is the best interest of the child. The rights set out in the Convention can be broadly grouped in three sections:
Provision: the right to possess, receive or have access to certain things or services (e.g. a name and a nationality, health care, education, rest and play and care for disabled and orphans).
Protection: the right to be shielded from harmful acts and practices (e.g. separation from parents, engagement in warfare, commercial or sexual exploitation and physical and mental abuse).
Participation: The child's right to be heard on decisions affecting his or her life. As abilities progress, the child should have increasing opportunities to take part in the activities of society, as a preparation for adult life (e.g. freedom of speech and opinion, culture, religion and language.
The Preamble sets the tone in which the 54 articles of the Convention will be interpreted. The major UN texts which precede it and which have a direct bearing on children are mentioned, as is the importance of the family for the family for the harmonious development of the child, the importance of special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth, and the importance of the traditions and cultural values of each people for the child's development.
Article 1: Definition of the child
Every human being below 18 years unless majority is attained earlier according to the law applicable to the child.
Article 2: Non discrimination
All rights must be granted to each child without exception. The State must protect the child without exception. The State must protect the child against all forms of discriminations.
Article 3: Best interests of the child
In all actions concerning children, the best interest of the child shall be the major consideration.
Article 4: Implementation of rights
The obligation on the State to ensure that the rights in the Convention are implemented.
Article 5: Parents, family, community rights and responsibilities
States are to respect the parents and family in their child rearing function.
Article 6: Life, survival and development
The right of the child to life and the state's obligation to ensure the child's survival and development.
Article 7: Name and nationality
The right from birth to a name, to acquire a nationality and to know and be cared for by his or her parents.
Article 8: Preservation of identity
The obligation of the State to assist the child in reestablishing identity if this has been illegally withdrawn.
Article 9: Non-separation from parents
The right of the child to retain contact with his parents in cases of separation. If separation is the result of detention, imprisonment or death the State shall provide the information to the child or parents about the whereabouts of the missing family member.
Article 10: Family reunification
requests to leave or enter country for family reunification shall be dealt with in a human manner. A child has the right to maintain regular contacts with both parents when these live in different States.
Article 11: Illicit transfer and non-return of children
The State shall combat child kidnapping by a partner or third party.
Article 12: Expression of opinion
The right of the child to express his or her opinion and to have this taken into consideration.
Article 13: Freedom of expression and information
The right to seek, receive and impart information in various forms, including art, print, writing.
Article 14: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
States are to be respect the rights and duties of parents to provide direction to the child in the exercise of this right in accordance with the child's evolving capacities.
Article 15: Freedom of association
The child's right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly.
Article 16: Privacy, honour, reputation
No child shall be subjected to interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence.
Article 17: Access to information and media
The child shall have access to information from a diversity of sources; due attention shall be paid to minorities and guidelines to protect children from harmful material shall be encouraged.
Article 18: Parental responsibility
Both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing of the child and assistance shall be given to them in the performance of the parental responsibilities.
Article 19: Abuse and neglect (while in family or care)
States have the obligation to protect children from all forms of abuse. Social programmes and support services shall be made available.
Article 20: Alternative care for children in the absence of parents
The entitlement of the child to alternative care with national laws and the obligation on the State to pay due regard to continuity in the child's religious, cultural, linguistic or ethnic background in the provision of alternative care.
Article 21: Adoption
States are to ensure that only authorised bodies carry out adoption. Inter-country adoption may be considered if national solutions have been exhausted.
Article 22: Refugee children
Special protection is to be given to refugee children.
States shall cooperate with international agencies to this end and also to reunite children separated from the families.
Article 23: Disabled children
The right to benefit from special care and education for a fuller life in society.
Article 24: Health care
Access to preventive and curative health care services as well as the gradual abolition of traditional practices harmful to the child.
Article 25: Periodic review
The child who is placed for care, protection or treatment has the right to have the placement reviewed on a regular basis.
Article 27: Social security
The child's right to social security
Article 27: Standard of living
Parental responsibility to provide adequate living conditions for the child's development even when one of the parents is living in a country other than the child's place of residence.
Article 28: Education
The right to free primary education, the availability of vocational educating, and the need for measures to reduce the drop-out rates.
Article 29: Aims of education
Education should foster the development of the child's personality and talents, preparation for a responsible adult life, respect for human rights as well as the cultural and national values of the child's country and that of others.
Article 30: Children of minorities and indigenous children
The right of the child belonging to a minority or indigenous group to enjoy his or her culture, to practise his or her own language.
Article 31: Play and recreation
The right of the child to play, recreational activities and to participate in cultural and artistic life.
Article 32: Economic exploitation
The right of the child to protection against harmful forms of work and against exploitation.
Article 33: Narcotic and psychotic substances
Protection of the child from their illicit use and the utilisation of the child in their production and distribution.
Article 34: Sexual exploitation
Protection of the child from sexual exploitation including prostitution and the use of children in pornographic materials.
Article 35: Abduction, sale and traffic
State obligation to prevent the abduction, sale of or traffic in children.
Article 36: Other forms of exploitation
Article 37: Torture, capital punishment, deprivation of liberty
Obligation of the State vis-a-vis children in detention.
Article 38: Armed conflicts
Children under 15 years are not to take a direct part in hostilities. No recruitment of children under 15.
Article 39: Recovery and reintegration
State obligations for the reeducation and social reintegration of child victims of exploitation, torture or armed conflicts.
Article 40: Juvenile justice
Treatment of child accused of infringing the penal law shall promote the child's sense of dignity.
Article 41: Rights of the child in other instruments
Article 42: Dissemination of the Convention
The state's duty to make the convention known to adults and children.
Article 43-54: Implementation
These paragraphs provide for a Committee on the Rights of the Child to oversee implementation of the Convention.
The titles of articles are for ease of reference only. They do not form part of the adopted text. (UNICEF - UK)
Children have the right to be with their family or with those who will care for them best.
Children have the right to enough food and clean water.
Children have the right to an adequate standard of living.
Children have the right to health care.
Disabled children have the right to special care and training.
Children have the right to play.
Children have the right to free education.
Children have the right to be kept safe and not hurt or neglected.
Children must not be used as cheap workers or as soldiers.
Children must be allowed to speak their own language and practise their own religion and culture.
Children have the right to express their own opinions and to meet together to express their views.
(UNICEF - UK)