Universal Declaration of Human Rights
On December 10, 1948, shortly after the devastation of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust, the newly formed United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). At the time, Eleanor Roosevelt, the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, the group that researched and wrote the document, said:
Man's desire for peace lies behind this Declaration. The realization that the flagrant violation of human rights by Nazi and Fascist countries sowed the seeds of the last world war has supplied the impetus for the work which brings us to the moment of achievement here today.
Passing this Declaration marked an international desire for peace and the beginnings of a system to protect basic human dignity and freedoms. The UDHR has since inspired many individuals and policymakers around the world to work toward a better world.
Students and teachers studying this history will examine some of the key challenges and opportunities of the 20th and 21st centuries: the concept of "universal" rights, negotiation of values, the limits of sovereignty, creating a concrete document from an aspirational vision, and the role of education and human rights.
Below is a sample of our extensive resources for teaching this history.