What are human rights?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. It was drafted by representatives from around the world with different cultural and legal documents and adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December, 1948. New Zealand, led by then Prime Minister Peter Fraser, played a key role in the drafting of the Declaration.

To access to the full text of the Declaration, click here, or see our resources below.

 
 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Texts

Hardcopies can be ordered from [email protected]

Article 1-5

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2

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

Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional 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.

Article 3

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

Article 4

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

Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Rarangi 1

Ko te katoa o nga tangata i te whanaungatanga mai e watea ana i nga here katoa; e tauriterite ana hoki nga mana me nga tika. E whakawhiwhia ana hoki ki a ratou te ngakau whai whakaaro me te hinengaro mohio ki te tika me te he, a e tika ana kia meinga te mahi a tetahi ki tetahi me ma roto atu i te wairua o te noho tahi, ano he teina he tuakana i ringa i te whakaaro kotahi.

Rarangi 2

E whai mana ana ia tangata kia whiwhi ki te katoa o nga rangatiratanga me nga huarahi whanui o te ao e whakakaupapatia nei i roto i tenei Whakapuakitanga, kaua e araitia ahakoa pewhea, ara i runga i enei ahuatanga e whai ake nei, i te mea he iwi ke, i te ahua kua kiri ke, i te tanetanga i te wahinetanga, i te reo, i te whakapono, i te awhina ropu whakaara ture i tetahi atu kaupapa whakaaro ranei, ahakoa no roto mai i te iwi whanui no tetahi ropu ranei, no te kaupapa pupuri taonga, no te whanaungatanga mai, no tetahi tunga whai-tikanga ranei

He apiti atu ki enei, kaua e meinga hei ritenga wehewehe te mea i whakakaupapatia na runga i nga whakahaere ture, i nga mana whanui ranei o te ao kua whakawhiwhia ki tetahi whenua ki tetahi wahanga whenua ranei no reira nei tetahi tangata, ahakoa taua wahanga whenua he whai mana motuhake, kei raro ranei i te Kaitiakitanga, he takiwa whenua ranei kahore nei ona Mana Kawanatanga Motuhake, kei raro ranei i tetahi atu ritenga whakawhaiti i tona mana motuhake.

Rarangi 3

Ko ia tangata e whai take ana ki te mauri ora, me watea i nga tikanga tere, me maru hoki ia i raro i te mana o te ture.

Rarangi 4

Kaua tetahi tangata e noho pononga a ko nga tikanga whakapononga i te tangata me takahi rawa atu.

Rarangi 5

Kaua tetahi tangata e whakamamae noatia e tukua ranei ki nga tikanga whakaiti me nga whiu kahore nei i tika mo te tangata.

Article 6-10

Article 6

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

Article 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.

Article 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.

Article 9

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

Article 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.

Rarangi 6

Ko ia tangata e whai mana ana kia mohiotia ki nga wahi katoa he tangata ano ia i te aroaro o te ture.

Rarangi 7

E tauriterite ana te katoa ki te aroaro o te ture a e tika ana kia tiakina e te ture, kaua he rereketanga mo tetahi i tetahi. E tika ana te katoa kia rite te tiakina kei kapea e tetahi tikanga e takahi ana i tenei whakapuakitanga, a e tetahi tikanga ranei e whakatara ana kia pera.

Rarangi 8

Ko ia tangata e whai take ana kia whiwhi ki tetahi rongoa totika o te ture i na roto mai i nga Kooti Whakawa whai mana mo nga mahi e takahi ana i te tino ritenga o nga mana kua whakaputaina ki a ia e te kaupapa e te ture ranei.

Rarangi 9

Kaua tetahi tangata e hopukia noatia e te ringa o te ture e puritia noatia ranei i roto i tetahi whare herehere e peia noatia ranei ki tetahi whenua ke.

Rarangi 10

Ko ia tangata e tika ana kia whakatuturutia ki a ia tetahi whakawa tika ki te aroaro o te katoa e tetahi runanga wehekore whakahoahoa ranei, mo runga i te whakataunga i ona tika me nga tikanga hei whakarite mana tae atu hoki ki nga whakapae mona tera kua hara kino ia i raro i te ture.

Article 21-25

Article 21

  1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  2. Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
  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.

Article 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 rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23

  1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24

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

Article 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.
  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.

Rarangi 21

Ko ia te tangata e whai-tika ana kia whai wahi ki nga whakahaere kawanatanga o tona whenua, a ia tonu a ma roto ata ranei i nga mangai i ata waitohutia.

Ko ia tangata e whai-tika ana kia tauriterite te huarahi atu mo te uru ki nga mahi mo te katoa i tona nei whenua.

Ko ta te iwi i whakatau ai me meinga hei kaupapa mo te mana o te kawanatanga; ko tenei whakatau me meinga kia whakapuakina ia wa ia wa i runga i te pooti tika he mea atu tuku ki te katoa i runga i te mana pooti tauriterite o tetahi tangata, a me meinga hoki na te pooti puku a na tetahi tikanga ranei i rite atu ki tera te watea o te tangata ki te pooti ki tana i whakaaro ai.

Rarangi 22

Ko ia tangata, i te mea no roto ia i te iwi, e whakatika ana kia whiwhi ki nga tikanga toko i te ora mo te iwi, a e tika ana kia whakaritea atu ki a ia, i na roto atu i nga whakahaere whanui a tona iwi, i na roto mai ranei i nga whakakotahitanga o nga mahi a nga iwi o te ao a kia rite hoki ki te kaha o nga whakahaere a-ropu o roto ia iwi ia iwi te oranga tinana te noho i roto i te iwi., me nga tika ki nga whakahaere hapai i te mauri o te tangata, e tika nei kaua e hapa te tangata i enei mea hei pupuri i tona ihi me te whakawatea hoki i te tupu pakari o te tu-rangatira o te tangata.

Rarangi 23

Ko ia tangata e whai-tika ana kia whiwhi ki te mahi, kia watea hoki ki te whawha ki tana mahi i hiahia ai, kia tika kia pai hoki nga ahuatanga o tana mahi a kia tiakina hoki kei noho kare mahi ia.

Ko ia tangata, ahakoa pewhea, e tika ana kia whiwhi ki te utu taurite mo nga mahi i tauriterite nga ahuatanga.

Ko ia tangata e mahi ana e whai-tika ana kia utua ki te utu tika pai hoki, kia ahei ai te whiwhi ona me tana whanau ki te oranga e tika nei hei whakaara i te ua o te tangata i te ao nei; a me tapiri atu ki enei, ina kitea e tika ana kia pera, etahi atu awhina o roto i nga whakahaere toko i te ora mo te iwi.

Ko ia tangata e ahei ana ki te waihanga ki te whakauru ranei ki tetahi ropu kaimahi hei tiaki i nga ahuatanga katoa e pa ana ki nga huarahi mahi mona.

Rarangi 24

Ko ia tangata e whai-tika ana kia okioki, noho noaiho ranei i ona wa ano; ka tapiritia ki tenei, me meinga ko ona haora mahi me whakawhaiti ano ki nga haora e tika ana, me whiwhi hoki ia wa ia wa ki nga ra kore mahi i runga i te ritenga haere tonu o te utu mona i ana ra.

Rarangi 25

Ko ia tangata e whai-tika ana kia whiwhi ki te oranga e hangai ana ki te oranga totika mo tona tinana me ona ahuatanga katoa, ona ake me tana whanau; i te kai. i tekakahu, i te whare, i te rongoa me nga whakaora i nga mauiui o te tinana, a tae atu ki nga huarahi toko i te ora mo te iwi e tika ana, a me whiwhi hoki ai i te tika, me te manaakitanga tuturu mona ina tupono mai nga wa kore mahi, nga mauiui o te tinana, nga wharanga, te pouarutanga, te kaumatuatanga, a te kore ranei e whiwhi i te oranga mona i nga runga mai i etahi ahuatanga kaore nei e taea e ia te pewhea ake.

Ko nga wahine whanau me te hunga tamariki e tika ana kia ata whakaarohia kia manaakitia hoki. Ko te katoa o nga tamariki, ahakoa i whanau mai i te hunga i te marenatia kahore ranei i marenatia, me meinga kia rite tahi te whiwhi ki nga awhina o nga ritenga toko i te ora mo te iwi.

Article 26-30

Article 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.
  2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. 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.
  3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27

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

Article 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.

Article 29

  1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  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.
  3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 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.

Rarangi 26

Ko ia tangata e tika ana kia watea ki a ia nga huarahi o te matauranga. Ko nga huarahi o nga akoranga me noho kore utu, otira i nga timatanga atu me ona kaupapa tuturu. Ko nga timatanga atu o nga huarahi akoranga me meinga kia utaina ki te katoa, kaua ma te hiahia noa o te tangata. Ko nga akoranga mo nga mahi-a-ringa me nga mahi-a-hinengaro me meinga kia whanui te horo ki te katoa, a ko nga akoranga ki nga taumata ikeike o te matauranga me rite tahi te watea ki te katoa i na runga ano ra i te kitea o te totika o te tangata.

Ko nga huarahi o te akoranga me whakaanga atu ki nga wahi e puta topu mai ai nga hua totika o te tangata, kia meinga ai hoki hei kaupapa whakapakari i nga mana o te tangata me nga tino kaupapa o te rangatiratanga o tona oranga i tenei ao. Me meinga i tenei ritenga kia ata matatau tetahi ki tetahi, kia watea i te ngakau wene, kia noho hoki i runga i te whakahoahoa tetahi iwi ki tetahi iwi, tetahi momo tangata me tetahi momo tangata me tetahi ropu whakapono ki tetahi atu ropu whakapono, a me meinga hoki kia hapai i nga whakahaere a te Kotahitanga o nga iwi Nunui o te Ao he mea a mau ai te maungarongo ki te mata o te whenua.

Kei nga matua te mana tuatahi ki te tohu i te ahua o nga akoranga hei tuku ki a ratou tamariki.

Rarangi 27

Ko ia tangata e whai-tika ana kia watea tona huarahi mo te whakauru atu ki nga whakahaere hapai i te hinengaro tangata i roto i te iwi, kia whiwhi hoki ki nga oranga ngakau o roto i nga mahi ataahua, a kia pa tahi atu ki nga whakahaere hohonu o te matauranga e ahu whakamua atu ana, me ona hua katoa.

Ko ia tangata e whai-tika ana kia ata tiakina kia puta ano ki a ia nga hua o nga mea oranga ngakau, oranga tinana ranei, i na roto mai nei i nga mahi o te hohohutanga o te matauranga, i nga pukapuka whai hua i tuhia, i nga mahi ataahua ranei nana ake nai i whakapuawai ki te ao.

Rarangi 28

Ko ia tangata e whai-tika ana ki nga ritenga o te noho pai o te iwi me te ao katoa, ma reira nei e tino tuturu ai nga tika me nga rangatiratanga kua whakararangitia nei ki roto i tenei Whakapuakitanga.

Rarangi 29

Ko ia tangata me mahi i ana mahi mo te iwi, ma reira anake nei e watea ai, e tutuki tuturu ai hoki te waihangatanga o tona hinengaro.

I te wa i whakarite ana ia i ona tika me ona rangatiratanga, ko ia tangata me meinga ko nga ara anake mona me ma roto i nga whakatau a te ture, me motuhake hoki aua arai hei mea a mau ai e mohiotia ai e whakanuia ai hoki nga tika me nga rangatiratanga e etahi atu tangata, a hei mea hoki e tutuki ai nga ritenga pono o te noho kore-hara, o te noho i te rangimarie o te katoa me te painga whanui ki nga iwi e noho ana i raro i te mana kawanatanga o te katoa o nga iwi o tetahi whenua.

Ko enei tika me enei rangatiratanga kaua rawa e meinga kia whakahaerea i runga i etahi tikanga me etahi atu kaupapa e peka ke ana i a te Kotahitanga o nga Iwi Nunui o te Ao i mea ai.

Rarangi 30

Kahore rawa i roto i tenei Whakapuakitanga tetahi mea e ahei ana kia whakamoaritia tera kei tetahi Mana Kawanatanga, kei tetahi ropu, kei tetahi tangata ranei tetahi mana ki te whakahaere i tetahi ritenga, ki te mahi ranei i tetahi mahi e anga atu ana hei tikanga turaki i tetahi o nga mano me nga rangatiratanga e mau ake nei.

Posters

Workshop Tools

New Zealands contribution to the development of human rights

This article outlines the contribution New Zealand has made in the field of international human rights, including the preparation of that all-important document.

Introduction

“Our role has been neither that of a stooge nor a divinely appointed arbitrator of right and wrong. Mostly … New Zealand has been a good, responsible UN member.”
(A D McIntosh, first head of the Department of External Affairs, 1966.)

If asked, many New Zealanders would probably describe New Zealand as a country with an enviable record of human rights. Almost inevitably, the fact that New Zealand was the first nation state in the world to give women the vote would be pointed to as an example. However, most would not be aware of the role New Zealand played in the years immediately after the end of World War II.

As one of the founding members of the United Nations (UN), New Zealand played a significant part in drawing up both the UN Charter of 1946 at San Francisco and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. Frank Corner, former New Zealand Secretary of Foreign Affairs, described New Zealand’s participation at the San Francisco conference as having “an impact that helped to change the course of history”.

Sixty years later, international celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the latter event have been underway all year.

The UN Charter

The story starts not long after the US entered World War II, when discussion began on the idea of establishing an international organisation to replace the League of Nations. A series of Charters and Declarations was drawn up by the four Allied powers of Britain, the US, the USSR and China, which culminated in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals of 1944. These suggested the establishment of a general international organisation to prevent war and preserve peace – the UN. In 1945 the UN Conference on International Organisations was held in San Francisco to further advance the planning. The intention of the conference was to produce a definitive “manifesto” for the newly-formed UN. The draft of the UN Charter was eventually signed by all 50 founding members of the UN.

New Zealand had been one of the 26 signatories of the original UN Declaration in 1942, and its participation was a sign of a more active attitude in this area of international endeavour. Although New Zealand’s involvement in the League of Nations had been insignificant, New Zealand’s experience during the Depression and World War II had shifted the national perspective. From the moment of their participation in the UN process, New Zealand’s delegates argued their beliefs with enthusiasm and determination, and this was particularly evident after the four superpowers added the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals debate at the San Francisco conference. The New Zealand delegation, led by Prime Minister Peter Fraser, was not large, but it made sure New Zealand’s voice was clearly heard.

The original Dumbarton Oaks Proposals had scarcely mentioned human rights and fundamental freedoms, but at the San Francisco conference, smaller nations in particular argued persuasively in their support. New Zealand was one of them, with Peter Fraser proposing that the following words should be included in the chapter on UN Principles:

“All members of the Organisation undertake to preserve, protect, and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in particular the rights of freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech, and freedom of worship”.

While this statement was not accepted in full, art 1 of the final Dumbarton Oaks draft of the UN Charter stated that it was a UN purpose to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In the eventual UN Charter this purpose was incorporated into art 55, which stated that the UN is to promote:

“(c) universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

and article 56 which required that:

“All members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the Organisation for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55.”

New Zealand and Australia had fought hard for the inclusion of these clauses and these can be seen as among the key starting points for wider UN involvement in the development of human rights law and practice.

Other New Zealand Initiatives

New Zealand was also involved in other important and successful initiatives, including the requirement that the UN assist in decolonisation. Another initiative was to ensure that the UN Secretariat was always international and independent. Perhaps New Zealand’s most crucial contribution related to economic and social issues. The New Zealand delegation believed that progress in these areas was vital for national stability and growth. For this reason, New Zealand was among those which successfully pushed to guarantee that the Economic and Social Council would become a principal organ of the UN and would promote a range of economic and social objectives for all nations.

Some of New Zealand’s proposals were not accepted. The delegation was forced to drop some in order to ensure that, in the words of Peter Fraser, they did not “lose the Charter”.One notable example was the issue of the veto power awarded to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. However, overall, New Zealand’s influence was felt and its contributions were invaluable in the advancement of human rights.

Preparing for the UDHR

At the San Francisco conference, various delegations from smaller countries and non-governmental organisations had proposed the inclusion of a set of global human rights norms which would have universal authority and validity. As the focus of the conference was on the drafting of the UN Charter, there was not sufficient time to embark on an “international bill of rights” as well. It was, however, generally understood that drafting such a bill would be a high priority for the UN.

The Economic and Social Council did, however, move quickly to set up the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), with Eleanor Roosevelt as its chairperson. Early in 1946 the CHR began to work on the international bill of rights and, specifically, the composition of the UDHR. This proved a long and complex process.

New Zealand’s first involvement was in 1947, when the drafting subcommittee of the CHR sent all UN members the so-called “Geneva Draft” of the UDHR for comments and suggestions. Peter Fraser’s Government set up a Human Rights Committee to consider this draft. The Government then used the committee’s findings as the basis for New Zealand’s comments on the draft. New Zealand was one of the few UN members to complete and submit such a response to the CHR.

Peter Fraser’s Government also sent Dr Colin Aikman, a young New Zealand lawyer then studying in London, to the Third Session of the CHR in New York. He was asked to observe the proceedings and report back to the special New Zealand Committee in Wellington. He did so, and from this information the Committee put together a further set of comments.

These two documents were used to prepare and inform the New Zealand delegation going to the UN General Assembly (GA) for the final round of negotiations on the UDHR in Paris in September 1948. The delegation was again led by Peter Fraser. It included Ann Newlands, the President of the Women’s Section of the Labour Party and a member of the Labour Party Executive Commission, and also Dr Aikman. Ann Newlands was to present New Zealand’s views and beliefs before the UN GA Third Committee, and Dr Aikman was to act as Ann Newlands’ legal adviser. The delegation was to be in Paris for 3 months while they argued New Zealand’s case at the UN.

One concept which the New Zealand delegation fought for was that the international bill of rights be adopted as a whole – rather than only the UDHR. New Zealand felt that the UDHR needed to have legal validity and that this would be provided if the bill was included in its entirety. Eleanor Roosevelt was also enthusiastic that the international bill of rights be adopted in its entirety. However, both the New Zealand delegates and Eleanor Roosevelt were forced to compromise and it took the UN another 18 years to successfully produce and adopt a bill of rights with “legal teeth”.The New Zealand delegation had to content itself with securing a resolution that the CHR would continue to make the legal document and its implementation an essential component of its work.

Drafting of the UDHR

“Experience in New Zealand has taught us that the assertion of the right of personal freedom is incomplete unless it is related to the social and economic rights of the common man. There can be no difference of opinion as to the tyranny of privation and want. There is no dictator more terrible than hunger.” (Delegation member, Dr Colin Aikman, on behalf of New Zealand, UN, 1948.)

With the onset of the Cold War and the exacerbation of ideological differences between UN members, every article of the UDHR was argued in minute detail and the drafting process significantly hampered. A major issue of dissension was the significance of civil and political rights (strongly promoted by the West) vis-a-vis economic, cultural, and social rights (strongly advocated by the Eastern bloc countries).

New Zealand’s position on the issue was not a typically Western one in that the New Zealand delegation expressed the belief that although all of the UDHR’s articles were equally important, a nation’s Government had a specific responsibility to promote economic, social, and cultural rights because civil and political rights were incomplete without them. This was reflected in New Zealand’s stance on the debates surrounding art 23, the right to employment, in which New Zealand was concerned about the situation of trade unions, and art 24, the right to rest and leisure and reasonable limitations on working hours.

Late on the night of 10 December 1948, 2 days before the end of the GA session, the process finally ended – the UDHR was unanimously adopted with only eight member States abstaining from the vote. New Zealand had actively participated in a successful response to the post-World War II desires for peace, security, and fraternity.