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30 Articles, 30 Documents: the UDHR at 70

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Topics: Resources

Are the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) still valid?  And if they are, how do they relate to the world we live in today?  These are the critical questions that the Dag Hammarskjöld Library’s online exhibit “30 Articles, 30 Documents” explores.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the UDHR, the exhibit presents thirty key documents, each one expanding on and illustrating the specific human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in each individual article comprising the Declaration.

Documents include well-established international instruments adopted decades ago, but also more recent reports that may not be widely known. The exhibit presents them in sometimes unusual and surprising contexts, thereby inviting “visitors” to reflect upon and deepen their insights into the meaning of human rights in today’s globalized world.

When it was adopted on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly, the UDHR’s forward-looking principles of equality and non-discrimination and its broad range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights to be universally protected represented a milestone achievement for humanity. 

The documents highlighted in this exhibit point to tremendous progress achieved, as well as to current challenges in the human rights arena:  the protection of the rights of migrants and refugees, the right to a clean environment as a prerequisite for the enjoyment of other rights, tax abuse and modern forms of slavery as violations of human rights, or the obligation to remove obstacles in society that prevent persons with disabilities from fully enjoying their rights on an equal footing with others.

The exhibit suggests that the Declaration is indeed a living document and that, in the words of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “…human rights are not impractical philosophical ideals. They are sound policy choices, which build strong, economically healthy, secure and peaceful societies.”

Visit the exhibit here:

Watch our video here:

Find out more about the drafting and history of the UDHR: explore our research guides, available in English and French, and read our Ask DAG FAQs.