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Q&A The Declaration of Human Rights
Its adoption marked the first time in history that people from different cultures had worked together to identify a common vision of the specific rights and freedoms of all human beings.
How did the declaration come into being?
In 1945, following the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust, a number of governments said "never again", and drew up the United Nations Charter. A commission "for the promotion of human rights", chaired by the former US First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, was also established.
Differences in language and values made drafting the UDHR a marathon of meetings and negotiations. The world's major legal systems and legal philosophies had to be considered and religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hindu, Islam and Judaism.
How long did it take?
The Commission was created in 1946. It completed its proposed declaration in June 1948. The final draft went to the full General Assembly on 6 December 1948. On 10 December, 48 states voted to adopt it. None voted against, eight abstained.
What is in the declaration?
It consists of a preamble and 30 articles, setting forth the human rights and fundamental freedoms to which all people, everywhere, are entitled.
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