Universal Declaration of Human Rights- Significance, UDHR UPSC PDF

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR] is a global document that establishes the freedom and rights of humans all around the world. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the document during the session in 1948 as per Resolution 217. The UDHR consists of 30 articles that are applicable to all humans belonging to different nationalities, religions, and races. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on 10th December 1948.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR] has been presented to be a significant step in human rights. The history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR], its structure and its significance is explained in the article below. The UDHR holds immense importance in providing equal accessibility and opportunity to all candidates.

What is Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR]?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [UDHR] is an international document that consists of 30 articles explaining the fundamental and basic rights of an individual. The UDHR is considered the first step required for the establishment of the International Bill of Human Rights. The bill was formed in 1966 and was accepted in 1976. It is not a legally binding declaration. However, it has been incorporated into the legal codes of different countries, instruments, regional human rights, and international treaties.

History of UDHR

Two months after WWII ended, 51 countries joined hands and founded the United Nations in October 1945 to protect the world from any disaster, like the ongoing global refugee crisis and nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  • The wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, suggested the importance of formulating the Universal Human Rights Declaration.
  • Later in April 1946, Eleanor Roosevelt became the UN Commission on Human Rights Chairperson and drafted the human rights declaration.
  • Her desires for global peace and ideals about human rights were formed by her experiences during WWI & WWII.
  • However, it wasn’t an easy task. The UN General Assembly adopted the declaration on December 10, 1946.
  • Thus, December 10 is celebrated as International Human Rights Day or World Human Rights Day.

Salient Features of UDHR

The UDHR’s structure was influenced by Code Napoleon (laws formulated by Napoléon Bonaparte). However, the final structure of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was prepared in the second draft by René Cassin, the French jurist. The Declaration of the UDHR consists of a total of 30 articles. These are-

  • Articles 1 & 2– It established the basic concepts of equality, liberty, and dignity.
  • Articles 3 to 5– Explain the details of individual rights. E.g., prohibition of slavery, right to life, etc.
  • Articles 6 to 11– It has provisions for fundamental human rights and the remedies related to their violation.
  • Articles 12 to 17– It deals with the right of an individual towards the community, including the right to nationality, the right of property, etc.
  • Articles 18 to 21– These Articles refer to the rights of an individual towards the community, including the freedom of expression, ideas, peaceful association, religion, opinion, thought, movement, etc., through any media.
  • Articles 22 to 27– It sanctions the cultural, social, and economic rights of an individual, including healthcare.
  • Article 28 to 30– Article 28 to 30 of the UDHR establishes the general principles of exercising these rights.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Provisions of India

The Indian Constitution has adopted a lot of rights listed in the Universal Declaration as the Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Rights. These are explained below-

  • Directive Principles of State Policy: Article 36 to 51 of the Indian Consitution has provisions for the Directive Principles of State Policy. It includes equal justice & free legal aid, the right to free & compulsory education, the right to existence worthy of human dignity, the right to equal pay for equal work, protection against unemployment, the right to free choice of employment, the right to work, right to social security, and the principles of state’s policy.
  • Fundamental Rights: The Fundamental Rights are provisioned from Articles 12 to 35 of the Indian Constitution. This includes the Right to Constitutional Remedies, Saving of Certain Laws, Cultural & Educational Rights, Right to Freedom of Religion, Right Against Exploitation, Right to Freedom, and Right to Equality.

The National Human Rights Commission was provided for the Indian Constitution at the union level after introducing the Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993. The commission steers Human Rights Courts for better protection of Human Rights, the State Human Rights Commission at the State Level, and the concerning matters. India has come up with various Government Schemes as initiatives for the poor, women, trans-genders, children, divyang jan, and migrants-

Significance of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is considered the inventive document that provides a universal and comprehensive set of principles in an apolitical and secular document without any restrictions on political, religious, and cultural ideologies.

  • With the adoption of UDHR, human rights were recognized as the foundation of freedom, peace, justice, and freedom.
  • It marked the equality of humans without any discrimination based on religion, creed, color, sex, or any other characteristics. It served as the foundation for international and national laws and standards worldwide.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Summary

The UDHR is an elaboration of the fundamental rights and basic rights granted to an individual. It was chaired by Elanor Roosevelt, widow of President Franklin Roosevelt. It was adopted on 10th December 1948. In accordance with this, human rights are considered to be the foundation and basis of equality. The Soviet Union opposed the declaration of human rights. They considered it to be excessively judicial, they felt it will violate national sovereignty.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights UPSC

The formation of the Universal declaration of human rights is considered the most important step toward fundamental rights. Thus, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights UPSC is an important topic for the IAS Exam. Several questions have been raised in the UPSC Prelims and Mains exam on the topic. You can download the PDF from the link provided above. You can also go through the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers to judge your preparations.

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