In December of 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly. In the wake of World War II and its related atrocities, the goal was to create an international standard defining the rights of all human beings. The intention was to create not only a more livable planet, but also a more stable and peaceful one.
Human Rights Standards
The primary and immediate advantage of having a Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that it creates an international standard definition of human rights as well as establishing which rights are implied. If the leaders of two countries have a discussion or disagreement about human rights, both will know what the standard is. Additionally, if a government is accused of human rights violations, there is a measurement by which that accusation can be judged. Without that standard, a country could claim that it was respecting human rights -- by its own standards.
Human Rights and Development
Another advantage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is its impact on development. When the United States, France, the United Kingdom and other western countries became industrialized and built modern economies, they already had established democracies and human rights standards in place. Currently many poorer, developing countries are industrializing, modernizing and building national infrastructure without a stable democracy in place. The Declaration emphasizes the rights of citizens to fully participate in their government and, in many cases, in the modernization of their country. International development assistance is tied to a country's human rights record.
International Peace and Stability
One of the advantages that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is intended to achieve is increased international peace and stability. U.S. President John F. Kennedy once said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." By encouraging basic human rights and democracy, it is hoped that the Declaration will decrease international violence. A war in one country -- even a civil war -- can cause instability in other countries if violence spills over the border or neighboring countries are flooded with refugees.
Human Rights Education
A final advantage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is its inclusion of education as a human right. In many poor countries, children go to work at an early age to help support the family. Research, such as that done by the Center for Global Development, shows that education results in increased economic growth, higher wages, better health and increased political participation and stability. By encouraging education internationally, the Declaration seeks to improve the quality of life of all of the world's people.
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