In response to the atrocities of the Holocaust and World War II, the newly formed United Nations (U.N.) created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Adopted in 1948, this milestone document outlines the fundamental rights all people deserve.
Together, with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which defined genocide in legal terms for the first time, these two documents set standards for the protection of all human beings during times of war and in peace. While the UDHR is not legal binding, it is the foundation for modern international law and laid the groundwork for hundreds of subsequent international treaties and bills of rights in constitutions for newly independent countries. In 30 articles the UDHR guarantees a range of rights, including life, liberty, and security, freedom of expression and movement, and right to marriage, education, health and employment.
However, these rights are not yet universal. The UDHR inspires us to take action, to make a difference to “work towards” the realization of these essential rights for all. At the Museum we hope you will join the ranks of Upstanders and stand up in the face of injustice and inequality.
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small place, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps around the world….Unless these right have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere” First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, First Chairperson, United Nations General Assembly Drafting Commission on Human Rights