United Nation's Adoption of the Universal Declaration

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The Universal Declaration was adopted by the UN in 1948. Amongst other things, it guarantees free speech, assembly, religion, and the basic necessities of life, like food and housing; it says that everyone has the right to work, to equal and fair pay for equal work, and that all have the right to be free from slavery, torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The basic premises are that a) people do not have to do or be anything in particular in order to enjoy human rights but that they are extended equally to all people everywhere by virtue of shared humanity; they are in other words rights rather than entitlements; b) the state is responsible for both insuring and defending the rights of all people and peoples within its borders, and c) there is a higher international order that supersedes the national state. The provisions of the Universal Declaration entered into international law in the 1970s when two enabling covenants, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and two Optional Protocols were endorsed by a sufficient number of member states of the United Nations. In the decades since, more than two dozen other human rights treaties have made the protection of certain basic human rights part of evolving standards of international law, even for states which have not formally endorsed them. While it is certainly the case that not all rights covered by
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