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1.3 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

<p>Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), 1949</p>

Franklin D Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Flickr 27758131387, CC BY 2.0

<p>Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), 1949</p>

It is 1948. The new United Nations is meeting in New York to list a set of universal human rights.

Two Australians, Dr Herbert Vere Evatt and Jessie Street, are important individuals in the creation of the new document.

How will this new statement of universal human rights affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians?

Here are the basic rights set out in that document:

Article 1

Right to equality

Article 2

Freedom from discrimination

Article 3

Right to life, liberty and personal security

Article 4

Freedom from slavery

Article 5

Freedom from torture and degrading treatment

Article 6

Right to recognition as a person before the law

Article 7

Right to equality before the law

Article 8

Right to remedy by competent tribunal

Article 9

Freedom from arbitrary arrest and exile

Article 10

Right to a fair and public hearing

Article 11

Right to be considered innocent until proven guilty

Article 12

Freedom from interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence

Article 13

Right to free movement in and out of the country

Article 14

Right to asylum in other countries from persecution

Article 15

Right to a nationality and the freedom to change it

Article 16

Right to marriage and family

Article 17

Right to own property

Article 18

Freedom of belief and religion

Article 19

Freedom of opinion and information

Article 20

Right of peaceful assembly and association

Article 21

Right to participate in government and in free elections

Article 22

Right to social security

Article 23

Right to desirable work and to join trade unions

Article 24

Right to rest and leisure

Article 25

Right to an adequate living standard

Article 26

Right to education

Article 27

Right to participate in the cultural life of the community

Article 28

Right to a social order that articulates this document

Article 29

Community duties essential to free and full development

Article 30

Freedom from state or personal interference in the above rights

The full text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is available on the United Nations website.

1. Look at the list of 30 basic human rights that were declared to be universal. From your knowledge of the situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia up to 1948, which of these 30 rights were not generally enjoyed by those people at that time?

2. What was the significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rights?

3. How would this event have influenced the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rights over time?

Read more in the Defining Moment in Australian history: 1945 Australia plays a leading role in founding United Nations.

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