On December 10, 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly at Palais de Chaillot, Paris. This declaration defined the organization's view on the human rights guaranteed to all people, setting out basic rights and freedoms to which all women and men are entitled:
- the right to life, liberty and nationality;
- the freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
- the right to work and to be educated;
- the right to food and housing;
- and the right to take part in government.
There were forty-eight votes for the Declaration, none against, and eight abstaining (White Russia [now Belarus], Czechoslovakia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, USSR, South Africa, and Yugoslavia).
John Peters Humphrey of Canada was the main drafter of the declaration text, after being called upon by the UN Secretariat. He was aided by Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States, René Cassin of France, Charles Malik of Lebanon, and P. C. Chang of China, among others.
According with the Guinness Book of World Records, the six-page declaration was translated into more than 320 languages and dialects from Abkhaz to Zulu, being the most translated document in the world (the Bible is the best selling book).
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,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,