60 Years of the UDHR in Europe: Diversity within the Unity
European Yearbook on Human Rights, pp. 21-35, 2009
Posted: 18 Jan 2011
Date Written: December 10, 2008
While it is clear that human rights conventions signed and ratified by a state should be duly implemented in the domestic legal order of the state that assumes the obligation, it remains unclear exactly what a state should do in relation to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). On the basis of the Preamble of the UDHR, it can be said that it was proclaimed in 1948 as a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations,” and by the time of adoption, it was understood to be a non-binding document.
60 years after the adoption of the UDHR, it is of great interest to study the reception of the UDHR in national legal systems from the point of view of national law and national political debate and inquire into the actions that have been taken. What did the government of the country say about the UDHR in the General Assembly of the United Nations, domestically at the time of the adoption of the UDHR and at a later stage, when the implementation of human rights started? Was the UDHR ever referred to in any piece of law, such as the constitution, and if so, when and in which law? What do the preparatory documents to legislation or the parliamentary debates say about the UDHR? Did the political parties use the UDHR, for example, in their charters or argumentation? Has the UDHR been referred to in any court case? If so, when was the first time the UDHR was mentioned and what kind of cases has it been used in since? What was said in the press after the adoption of the UDHR and how has the press treated the UDHR since? In which ways has the UDHR influenced thinking in a country? Did the NGOs pay attention to the UDHR?
Keywords: Status of UDHR, Europe, European Convention on Human Rights, EU, EC, International human rights law
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