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Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Sixty six years ago, in the wake of the horrendous cruelty committed during the Second World War, the world was determined to end human rights violations. In 1948, on December 10, the first global treaty on human rights — the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — was signed at the United Nations. Canadian Law Professor John Humphrey was involved in drawing up that historic document, which was the first international document recognizing human rights as the foundation of peace, justice and freedom in the world.

Even though not formally legally binding, the Declaration has been adopted in, or influenced, most national constitutions since 1948. It also serves as the foundation for a growing number of international treaties and national laws and international, regional, national and sub-national institutions protecting and promoting human rights.

In Canada, the Universal Declaration has inspired legislation that includes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms along with federal, provincial and territorial human rights laws. These laws reflect the Universal Declaration’s principle of equality, and the statement in Article Two that “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.”

To read the full text of the declaration click:



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