History of the Universe

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights

I include this document here, with the introduction re-written in simple language, because it seems to me to be a fundamental and historic statement of our rights. What is missing, to my mind, is an equivalent statement of our duties as members of society.


Because recognizing the natural value and the equal and permanent rights of all members of the human family is the basis of freedom, justice and peace in the world;

Because ignoring and despising human rights resulted in barbarous acts which outraged humanity;

Because the greatest hope of the common people is the creation of a world in which human beings will have freedom of speech and belief, and freedom from fear and want;

Because human rights must be protected by the rule of law so that man is not forced to rebel against tyranny and oppression;

Because it is essential to develop friendly relations between nations;

Because the peoples of the United Nations stated in the Charter their faith in basic human rights, and in the value of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women;

Because they have determined to encourage social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom;

Because Member States, in co-operation with the United Nations, have promised to achieve the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

And because a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge:

so The General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed this Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 1948, as a common target for all peoples and all nations so that every person and every part of society would try to promote for these rights and freedoms by teaching and education, and to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of lands under their rule by progressive national and international measures.

The Articles

1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They have reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brother-hood.

2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set out in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Also there should be no difference in treatment because of the political, legal 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.

3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person.

4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, in-human or degrading treatment or punishment.

6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

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.

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.

9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

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.

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 defense.

11.2. 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 penalty offence was committed.

12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

13.1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.

13.2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

14.1. Everyone has the and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

14.2. 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.

15.1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.

15.2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

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.

16.2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

16.3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

17.1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

17.2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

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 of belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

19. Everyone has the right of 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.

20.1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

20.2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

21.1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

21.2. Everyone has the right of equal access to public services in his country.

21.3. 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.

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 right indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

23.1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

23.2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

23.3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

23.4. Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

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

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.

25.2. 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.

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.

26.2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental s. 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.

26.3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

27.1. Everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

27.2. 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.

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.

29.1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

29.2. 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.

29.3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

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.

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