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Essay on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

5 pages
1301 words
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights starts the lists of some of the most fundamental elements that depict the relationships that exist between individuals and their governments. The origin and creation of this declaration can be traced back to the World War II, where during this war, the Allies embraced four freedoms, which formed the core objectives of the war. Besides, the United Nations confirmed faith as another crucial part of human rights. Undeniably, this meant that everyone would be subjected to universal respect without distinction based on gender, language and religion. The Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany become visible after the World War II. It was agreed that the UN did not satisfactorily outline the rights it denoted. This lead to the creation of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Longerich 21). In the Declaration, the article 1 describes the Innate Freedom and the Right to Equality. The Article supports the idea that all human beings are born free and equal with rights and dignity. In this sense, they are gifted with reasons and morality and should, therefore, act towards other individuals in brotherhood spirit (Bobbio and Allan 41). Numerous debates that revolve around the scrutiny of the significance of Article 1 has been observed in the recent pasts. It is even seen despite the fact that the statement is logically reasonable, and that human beings should be subjected to rights to dignity and equality. This paper will, therefore, provide an argumentative discussion of the statement through arguing in support as well as against it.

Argument to Support the Statement

Notably, the Article 1 depicts essential standards that allow people to live in dignity and equality. The embracement of this Article in real life has helped protect human beings from various forms of discrimination by race, sex, religion, colour, political affiliation as well as the social backgrounds (Moriarty and Eva 222). The principle of equality furthers guarantees that people in identical circumstances are subjected to equal law and practice. The nation such as the United States has been under considerable criticism because of numerous forms of discrimination of the members of the minority groups. The members of the African Americans society have been subjected to intense racism over the past many decades since the nations independence. To marginalise the blacks, and keep them separate from the whites and do away with the development that had been achieved during reconstruction, Jim Crow was established at the beginning of the ninetieth century. Despite the fact that the 15th constitutional Amendments provided the blacks with the rights to vote in 1870, the majority of whites especially in the South were unhappy that individuals who once enslaved were now subjected to equal conditions and rights. Denying black men the rights to vote by legal manipulation and violence constituted the primary step of destroying and taking away their civil rights. The civil rights movement were established later as the struggle for social justice that occurred mainly during the 1950s. The mid-20th century characterised the lives of African Americans with sufficient prejudice and violence against them. However, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has helped restore respect for human dignity and equality in the United States.

The principle of Right to dignity and equality has helped promote the non-discriminatory practices as it explains what the service providers are allowed to do. It is important to note that discrimination by ethnic affiliation, religion, race and social backgrounds is deeply embedded in the majority of the US institutions. Different forms of discrimination have been observed in workplaces in addition to places where public services are offered in South Africa. The Apartheid was a significant turning point in the nations history because it created even more segregation and horrific treatments of the black Africans. While it is evident that South Africas history has been deep-rooted of racism, it was until 1948 that the apartheid policy completely dominated the nation. Based on the fact that blacks were at the bottom of the social chain, they were the most affected and subjected to the worst ever facilities. Besides, children could not be allowed to study in white schools and universities, which made them possess smaller career options circles. It meant that high school education was the most top qualifications that most blacks had as most of them were unable to legal practitioners or medical personnel. Those who attempted to disobey these laws were subjected to capital punishment and others mass killings (Sonneborn 56).

Other than these effects, the apartheid policy affected the non-white races such as the Indians and the coloured. Things have changed since South African gained its independence in 1994 and the sense of equality and respect for humanity has been upheld (Sonneborn 56). However, various forms of racism are still felt. Today, different institutions such as the criminal systems and organisations have not been left behind on this matter. Recent criminological reports show that white criminal offenders were less likely to be subjected to capital punishment compared to their Black counterparts (Moriarty and Eva 224). In the same way, blacks were more likely to be labelled as criminals than their whites counterparts. The adoption and real-life implementation of this Article 1 of the Universal Declaration have helped reduce these kinds of discriminations. When people are subjected to equal rights and respect for dignity, they become able to embrace the sense of unity, which is crucial for any societys development.

Argument Against

Whereas many human rights activists and scholars agree that equality is necessary for the enhancement of a sense of unity and humanity, the rights to equality and dignity have been subjected to substantial criticism. The critics of this article have argued that human dignity concept is highly indeterminate to offer a stable foundation for equality law as well as its promotion of an excessively individualistic perception of equality. In democratic nations such as US, Germany and South Africa, citizens have the rights to equality. In any case the all groups of people are not provided with the same rights, then the nations become genuinely undemocratic. However, people cannot have an obsolete right to equality because it can never be guaranteed that everyone will possess equal outcomes. For instance, the right to equality does not ensure that everyone will have a same amount of wealth or an amount of education.

Rights to equality in the workplaces and provision of public services have also been shown to have significant limitations on employers as they lose reputation and bureaucracy. Ideally, the organisations that follow workplace equality philosophies in the United States tend to face considerable problems in attempting to define what exactly the equality means. Undeniably, the perception of justice is not always the same as the employers have to put formal policies concerning the workplace equality in place and are unable to implement disciplinary actions or provision of incentives.


In sum, this paper supports the fact that human beings should be subjected to rights to dignity and equality. It helps protect human beings from the different form of discrimination by race, sex, religion, colour, and political and social backgrounds. Besides, it guarantees that people in identical circumstances are subjected to equal law and practice as observed in nations such as the United States and South Africa, which have been dominated by racism and others kinds of discrimination. However, human dignity concept is substantially unspecified to offer a stable groundwork for equality law in addition to its promotion of an excessively individualistic perception of equality.

Works Cited

Bobbio, Norberto, and Allan Cameron. Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction. , 2005. Internet resource.

Longerich, Peter. Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.

Moriarty, Brid, and Eva Massa. Human Rights Law. , 2012. Print.

Sonneborn, Liz. The End of Apartheid in South Africa. New York: Chelsea House, 2010. Internet resource.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. , 2014. Internet resource

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