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Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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Universal Declaration of Human Rights
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Second World War and the Holocaust altered forever the way in which people thought about human rights. Before the war human rights were thought to be the responsibility of individual countries not the international community.

Atlantic Charter

After the war an international organisation was needed to ensure that everyone was protected. Such an organisation had already been agreed to during a meeting between United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill when they adopted the Atlantic Charter in 1941, in which they stated their hopes, among other things, "that all men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from want and fear."

Four Freedoms Speech

President Roosevelt later reiterated this in what was to become known as the Four Freedoms Speech. In this speech before the United States Congress in 1941, he identified "Four Freedoms" as essential for all people:
  • freedom of speech and religion,
  • freedom from want and fear.

Once again in Britain, Prime Minister Winston Churchill echoed the American President, saying that an Allied victory would be marked by the "enthronement of human rights."

The United Nations

In 1945 The United Nations (UN) was established. Its Charter states that one of its main purposes is the promotion and encouragement of "respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion."
Anne Frank Guide
This day in history
Today: 11 December 2018
Then: 11 December 1941

Germany declares war on United States

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