Conventional Wisdom Series Part 1: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In this new series, we feature some of the most influential conventions and declarations that help put human rights at the center of the international spotlight and significantly advance the welfare of humanity at large.

The recognition of human rights is paramount to the mission of DEPDC/GMS and its work on human trafficking and labor exploitation prevention. However, the seemingly simple idea that all individuals are entitled to the basic needs, safety and education was not formally and internationally acknowledged until the recent past. To this day, great strides are still being made in order to realize universal human rights around the world.

Part 1: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“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…”

Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) marks the first international recognition of human rights belonging to every person, everywhere. As the world was still reeling from the aftermath of World War II, 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.” Indeed, the declaration laid the foundation of international human rights law, and is a landmark achievement in world history that still affects people’s lives today.

In summary, the UDHR proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal, and that all should be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, birth, religion, national origin, language, or political opinion. For the first time in modern history, such basic privileges central to human existence, were expressively articulated, and ever since, all members of the United Nations are bound by the UDHR to observe its 30 articles that establish some of the most critical human rights, including:


Right to life and prohibition of slavery;

Political rights and freedoms, including rights of the accused, right to nationality and right to seek asylum;

Property rights;

Social, and cultural rights, including the right to education and freedom of religion; and

Right to a nationality and right to freedom of movement.

Click here to learn about all 30 articles as defined by the Declaration.


Today, December 10 is celebrated as the Human Rights Day worldwide. While the UDHR now serves as the cornerstone for a growing number of international, regional and national laws as well as the constitutions of many organizations, it is but the beginning of many more efforts to bring human rights into full focus from the international community. Stay tuned for our next installment from our Conventional Wisdom series to learn about the convention that tackles the importance of gender equality full throttle!

Do you like the images in this blog post? Click here to see all 30 articles at the UN CyberSchoolBus project. To read other parts of the Conventional Wisdom Series please click here.

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Each article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is introduced with a plain language version
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2 thoughts on “Conventional Wisdom Series Part 1: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Add yours

    1. Dear Spencer, I apologize for the late response. Volunteers typically change between every 6-12 months here at DEPDC. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out who the artists is for the images on the Conventional Wisdom Series Part 1 post.

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