The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Dream and Reality / Cuban Law Association, Argelio M. Guerra


By Lic. Argelio M. Guerra

The year was 1945 and with its progressed, the end of a bloody global War, to the satisfaction of the international community. The effects of the global conflagration left the eyes of humanity perplexed and revealed the urgent need for a mechanism to control and guarantee peaceful coexistence and international security. Thus, gathered in the city of San Francisco in June 1945, representatives of the allied powers and other states agreed to the charter of a new international organization: The United Nations Charter.

One of the first tasks tackled by the new organization was precisely the wording of a declaration that would explicitly reference the human rights expressed in the Charter, so that only three years after the adoption of the Charter of United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was born, adopted by the General Assembly on December 10, 1948.

In its thirty articles, the Declaration addresses the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people, everywhere, without discrimination. The Universal Declaration was proclaimed the “dream” of a common standard of realization for all peoples and all nations, but the fact is that the discrepancies of States in the process of drafting the Declaration and the reluctance of them to be legally committed, provoked a turning point that led to the Universal Declaration being born and adopted in the form of a mere resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations devoid of a legally binding character on its member States, postponed for a future development of a human rights treaty, legally binding on those States that came to ratify it.

Nevertheless, this reality is not an impairment to the authority and force of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as general guidance on the content of the rights and fundamental freedoms that are frequently referenced in national constitutions, judicial decisions and also in international instruments, in addition to which, over time, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has become one of the basic parameters under which the international community can deny legitimacy to certain states, frequent violators of these rights.

August 12 2012