The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document that was written by the United Nations in 1948 spelling out the rights that each human should be entitled to. The declaration initially describes general human rights in the preamble then describes in each specific right in thirty additional articles. After reading the universal declaration, I found that the central points are described in the preamble and throughout the various articles. The declaration addresses points such as the right to happiness, unjust persecution, torturing or enslavement, the right to nationality, social security and the right to take part in government.

The declaration also states that everyone should be given equal rights. The declaration was designed to outline rights and I believe all thirty articles are reasonable. However, in my opinion, I feel that not all are effectively enforced in today’s world. For example, Article #5 “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.” Although this is a reasonable right that humans should expect, it is not always followed. An example could be the Guantanamo Bay prison or Abu Ghraib. I am not an expert on these situations, nor have I first hand experience regarding what is truly going on in these situations, but I feel there that may be unethical acts going on there according to available media coverage.

Another article that is not followed as it was originally intended is Article #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.” This right may have been true in 1948, however, I think that it is outdated and does not take into account today’s technology or national security issues. Social media and the Internet has transformed the way that information is transferred and likely has resulted in countless violations of this article.

A final article that I, personally have difficulty understanding more so than disagree with is Article #25, “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 control.”

In theory this right sounds ideal, however, I have an issue with this article because there are families in the United States and across the globe that go hungry and are continuously stuck in poverty. I do not think that this part of Article 25 is relevant at all in today’s world. This is a difficult conflict to resolve in a world with 7+ billion people when too many politicians are involved.

The people are the ones who suffer when political indecision results in a lack of aid in situations outlined by this article. In an ideal world, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights would be upheld and every human would be protected by the verses in this document. However, we do not live in an ideal world and many of these issues are more complicated than a document can explain. It is up to the current and next generation of humans to uphold these articles and move forward when needed. We live in an ever-changing world with countless variables. We have wars, terrorists, debt, famine and genocide. I would like to believe that this document is relevant today and some of it is, but there are portions of it that are not and are not easily enforceable. Certain aspects need to be revisited and repurposed for a modern world in order to address modern issues.