30 Articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

(ref: United Nations website (un.org), We Are All Born Free – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures)

We Are All Born Free

Click to view images from "We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures". Book sales benefit Amnesty International

From the very beginning, human rights has been a major concern of the United Nations. On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 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 territories. United Nations Day is celebrated on October 24th and commemorates the founding of this organization in 1945.

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, non-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.

Article 11.

    (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.

Article 13.

    (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.

Article 14.

    (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.

Article 15.

    (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.

Article 16.

    (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.

Article 17.

    (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, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or 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.

Article 20.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

    (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 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.

Article 23.

    (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, 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.

Article 24.

    Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

    (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.

Article 26.

    (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.

Article 27.

    (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.

Article 29.

    (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.

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.

We Are All Born FreeReach and Teach – The Peace and Social Justice Learning Company offers a beautifully illustrated children’s book We Are All Born Free – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures. Proceeds from book sales are donated to Amnesty International.

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37 Rights in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

20 Questions on a 2008 Social Justice Quiz

(ref: Edited from Twenty Questions: Social Justice Quiz 2008 by Bill Quigley, Truthout.org)

We in the US who say we believe in social justice must challenge ourselves to look at the world through the eyes of those who have much less than us. Take the following quiz to see how many of these questions you can answer.

  1. How many deaths are there worldwide each year due to acts of terrorism? The US State Department reported there were more than 22,000 deaths from terrorism last year. Over half of those killed or injured were Muslims. [Source: Voice of America, May 2, 2008. "Terrorism Deaths Rose in 2007."]
  2. How many deaths are there worldwide each day due to poverty and malnutrition? About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations. [Poverty.com - Hunger and World Poverty.] Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes – one child every five seconds. [Bread for the World. Hunger Facts: International.]
  3. In 1965, CEOs in major companies made 24 times more than the average worker. In 1980, CEOs made 40 times more than the average worker. In 2007, CEOs earned how many times more than the average worker? Today’s average CEO from a Fortune 500 company makes 364 times an average worker’s pay and over 70 times the pay of a four-star Army general. [Executive Excess 2007, page 7, jointly published by Institute for Policy Studies and United for Fair Economy, August 29, 2007. The 1965 numbers from State of Working America 2004-2005, Economic Policy Institute.]
  4. In how many of the more than 3,000 cities and counties in the US can a full-time worker who earns the minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment? In no city or county in the entire USA can a full-time worker who earns minimum wage afford even a one-bedroom rental. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) urges renters not to pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent. HUD also reports the fair market rent for each of the counties and cities in the US. Nationally, in order to rent a two-bedroom apartment, one full-time worker in 2008 must earn $17.32 per hour. In fact, 81 percent of renters live in cities where the Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom rental is not even affordable with two minimum-wage jobs. [Source: Out of Reach 2007-2008, April 7, 2008, National Low-Income Housing Coalition.]
  5. In 1968, the minimum wage was $1.65 per hour. How much would the minimum wage be today if it had kept pace with inflation since 1968? Calculated in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars, the 1968 minimum wage would have been $9.83 in 2007 dollars. [Andrew Tobias, January 16, 2008.] The federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008, and will be $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.
  6. True or false? People in the United States spend nearly twice as much on pet food as the US government spends on aid to help foreign countries. True. The USA spends $43.4 billion on pet food annually. [Source: American Pet Products Manufacturers Association Inc.] The USA spent $23.5 billion in official foreign aid in 2006. The US government gave the most of any country in the world in actual dollars. As a percentage of gross national income, the US came in second to last among OECD donor countries and ranked number 20 at 0.18 percent behind Sweden at 1.02 percent and other countries such as Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom, Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and others. This does not count private donations, which, if included, may move the US up as high as sixth. [The Index of Global Philanthropy 2008, pages 15-19.]
  7. How many people in the world live on $2 a day or less? The World Bank reported in August 2008 that 2.6 billion people consume less than $2 a day.
  8. How many people in the world do not have electricity? Worldwide, 1.6 billion people do not have electricity and 2.5 billion people use wood, charcoal or animal dung for cooking. [United Nations Human Development Report 2007/2008, pages 44-45.]
  9. People in the US consume 42 kilograms of meat per person per year. How much meat and grain do people in India and China eat? People in the US lead the world in meat consumption at 42 kg per person per year, compared to 1.6 kg in India and 5.9 kg in China. People in the US consume five times the grain (wheat, rice, rye, barley, etc.) as people in India, three times as much as people in China, and twice as much as people in Europe. ["THE BLAME GAME: Who is behind the world food price crisis," Oakland Institute, July 2008.]
  10. How many cars does China have for every 1,000 drivers? India? The US? China has nine cars for every 1,000 drivers. India has 11 cars for every 1,000 drivers. The US has 1,114 cars for every 1,000 drivers. [Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, "Zoom: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future" (2007).]
  11. How much grain is needed to fill an SUV tank with ethanol? The grain needed to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a hungry person for a year. [Lester Brown, CNN.Money.com, August 16, 2006.]
  12. According to The Wall Street Journal, the richest one percent of Americans earns what percent of the nation’s adjusted gross income? Five percent? Ten percent? Fifteen percent? Twenty percent? “According to the figures, the richest one percent reported 22 percent of the nation’s total adjusted gross income in 2006. That is up from 21.2 percent a year earlier, and it is the highest in the 19 years that the IRS has kept strictly comparable figures. The 1988 level was 15.2 percent. Earlier IRS data show the last year the share of income belonging to the top one percent was at such a high level as it was in 2006 was in 1929, but changes in measuring income make a precise comparison difficult.” — Jesse Drucker ["Richest Americans See Their Income Share Grow," Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2008, page A3.]
  13. How many people does our government say are homeless in the US on any given day? A total of 754,000 are homeless. About 338,000 homeless people are not in shelters (live on the streets, in cars or in abandoned buildings) and 415,000 are in shelters on any given night. [The 2007 US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Annual Homeless Report to Congress, page iii and 23.] The population of San Francisco is about 739,000.
  14. What percentage of people in homeless shelters are children? HUD reports nearly one in four people in homeless shelters are children 17 or younger. [Page iv, the 2007 HUD Annual Homeless Report to Congress.]
  15. How many veterans are homeless on any given night? Over 100,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. About 18 percent of the adult homeless population are veterans. [Page 32, the 2007 HUD Homeless Report.] This is about the same population as Green Bay, Wisconsin.
  16. The military budget of the United States in 2008 is the largest in the world at $623 billion per year. How much larger is the US military budget than that of China, the second-largest in the world? Ten times. China’s military budget is $65 billion. The US military budget is nearly 10 times larger than the second leading military spender. [GlobalSecurity.org]
  17. The US military budget is larger than how many of the countries of the rest of the world combined? The US military budget of $623 billion is larger than the budgets of all the countries in the rest of the world put together. The total global military budget of the rest of the world is $500 billion. Russia’s military budget is $50 billion, South Koreas is $21 billion, and Irons is $4.3 billion. [GlobalSecurity.org.]
  18. Over the 28-year history of the Berlin Wall, 287 people perished trying to cross it. How many people have died in the last four years trying to cross the border between Arizona and Mexico? At least 1,268 people have died along the border of Arizona and Mexico since 2004. The Arizona Daily Star keeps track of the reported deaths along the state border, and it reports 214 died in 2004; 241 in 2005, 216 in 2006, 237 in 2007, and 116 as of July 31, 2008. These numbers do not include deaths along the California or Texas borders. The Border Patrol reported that 400 people died in fiscal 2206-2007, while 453 died in 2004-2005 and 494 died in 2004-2005. [Source: The Associated Press, November 8, 2007.]
  19. India is ranked second in the world in gun ownership with four guns per 100 people. China is third with third firearms per 100 people. Which country is first and how widespread is gun ownership? The US is first in gun ownership worldwide with 90 guns for every 100 citizens. Laura MacInnis, “US most armed country with 90 guns per 100 people.” [Reuters, August 28, 2007.]
  20. What country leads the world in the incarceration of its citizens? The US jails 751 inmates per 100,000 people, the highest rate in the world. Russia is second with 627 per 100,000. England’s rate is 151, Germany’s is 88 and Japan’s is 63. The US has 2.3 million people behind bars, more than any country in the world. [Adam Liptak, "Inmate Count in US Dwarfs Other Nations'" New York Times, April 23, 2008.]

This quiz is used with permission from Bill Quigley. Check out his entire article and his other perspectives at Truthout.org .


Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com .

Also check out Defining “Social Justice” at Reach and Teach.

35 Colleges with a Strong Concern for Social Justice and Service-Learning

(Ref: Making a Difference Colleges by Miriam Weinstein)

  1. Antioch College (Yellow Springs, Ohio)
  2. Beloit College (Beloit, Wisconsin)
  3. Berea College (Berea, Kentucky)
  4. Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island)
  5. Bryn Mawr College (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania)
  6. California University of Pennsylvania (California, Pennsylvania)
  7. Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota)
  8. Center for Global Education (a program of Augsburg College, MI)
  9. Clark University (Worcester, MA)
  10. College of Environmental Science & Forestry State University of NY (Syracuse, NY)
  11. Connecticut College (New London, Connecticut)
  12. Cornell University School of Labor & Industrial Relations (Ithaca, NY)
  13. Earlham College (Richmond, Indiana)
  14. Eastern Mennonite U (Harrisonburg, Virginia)
  15. Eugene Lang College – New School University (NY, NY)
  16. Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA)
  17. Friends World Program (Southampton, NY)
  18. Goshen College (Goshen, Indiana)
  19. Grinnell College (Grinnell, Iowa)
  20. Hampshire College (Amherst, MA)
  21. Hendrix College (Conway, Arkansas)
  22. Lewis and Clark College (Portland, Oregon)
  23. Manchester College (Manchester, Indiana)
  24. Menno Simons College (Winnepeg, Canada)
  25. Naropa University (Boulder, Colorado)
  26. Oberlin College (Oberlin, Ohio)
  27. Olivet College (Olivet, Michigan)
  28. Pitzer College (Claremont, California)
  29. St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota)
  30. Seattle University (Seattle, Washington)
  31. Stanford University (Stanford, California)
  32. Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA)
  33. Tufts University (Medford, MA)
  34. Woodbury College (Montpelier, VT)
  35. Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)

(You ask, “What is Social Justice?” Check out Reach and Teach’s Defining “Social Justice”)

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