The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

AuthorNicolae V. Dura
European Integration - Realities and Perspectives. Proceedings 2015
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Nicolae Dură1
Abstract: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 was preceded by several other Declarations in
the first half of the twentieth century, beginning with the Declaration of 1929 and ending with the one of
1947. All these Declarations make express reference only to the “Human rights” and not to those of the
“individual” or of the “Citizen”, as in the Declaration of the French Revolution, in 1789, o r in the one of the
Bolshevik Revolution, in 1917. Among other things, in our paper, we emphasized that th e Universal
Declaration of Human Rights remains the first legal international instrument that imposed an unitary and
universal conception regarding the human rights and fundamental freedoms, and, ip so facto, of the “Dignitas
humana” (dignity of the human person), to which the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (Lisbon,
2007) would make express reference.
Keywords: the principles of the UN Charter; the human person; the European legislation and jurisprudence;
legal protection
1. Introduction
In 1929, the International Law Institute (New York) developed and published the “International
Declaration of Human Rights”. Among other things, this Declaration stipulates that “it is the
obligation of every State to recognize the equal right of every individual to life, liberty, property, and
to grant to those on its territory full protection of this right without distinction of nationality, sex, race,
language or religion” (Art. 1) (Agi & Cassin, 1998, p. 331).
In 1939, the League of Human Rights brought an addition to the text of the Declaration of 1929, and
made the specification that “human rights apply without distinction of sex, race, nation, religion or
opinion. These inalienable and imprescriptible rights are attached to the human person; they should be
respected at all times, in all places and guaranteed against all forms of political and social oppression.
The international protection of human rights should be universally organized and secured, so that no
state can refuse the exercise of these rights of a single human being living on its territory” (Art. 1)
(Agi & Cassin, 1998, p. 333).
The Addendum to the Declaration specified that it stipulated the rights of the “human being” or of the
“human person” and their international legal protection, and not the rights of the “individual” or of
“citizen”, as the text of the 1789 French Declaration did. However, unfortunately, this last phrase
emerged as a leitmotif not only in the texts emanating from the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 or from
the constitutional text of the countries which entered into the Soviet camp, but even in some texts
1 Professor, PhD, Ovidius University of Constanta, Romania, Address: 124 Mamaia Blvd., Aleea Universității no.1,
Constanta, Romania, Tel./fax: +4 0241670900, Corresponding author:

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