Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Updated and Amended Version)

HUMAN RIGHTS, 14 Dec 2020

Diane Perlman Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

14 Dec 2020 – December 10 is Human Rights Day, the 72nd Anniversary of the UDHR. The world has changed in ways not imagined in 1948. Language is inserted in bold to reflect these times, plus ten new rights are added. This version derives from the original, with language synthesized from four versions of the UDHR.

For a deep, engaging dive into the UDHR, check out my new book, Living Rights: Making Human Rights Come Alive Activity Book and Journal. It has 37 varied activities for all ages, journal pages for each human right with blank space and a section with numerous resources and a section on nukes for all ages. The book and some free downloads can be found HERE.

Brief History of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The United Nations was established in 1945 following the horrors of World War II to encourage governments to work together to solve the world’s problems. The UN Charter begins with the determination to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights.”

The UN Commission on Human Rights established a committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt to draft the historic UDHR, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948, now celebrated as Human Rights Day.

The UDHR has been translated into 500 languages. Although not enforceable, it sets a standard that has inspired various constitutions, international treaties and laws.


Because dignity, equal, and inalienable rights are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace,

Because disregarding human rights leads to atrocious acts that shock the conscience of mankind,

Because human rights must be protected by law, otherwise people are likely to resort to rebellion against tyranny and oppression,

Because promoting the development of friendly relations between nations is essential,

Because the UN Charter affirms the fundamental rights, dignity, worth and equality of all people,

Because Member States have promised to cooperate to work for a better world, a better life and more freedoms,

Because a common understanding and respect for these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

PROCLAMATION, December 10, 1948

Now, therefore, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims

THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as the standard for all peoples and all nations to keep in mind, to teach, to spread, and to promote respect for these rights and freedoms to do everything possible to make sure they are recognized and followed by all countries of the United Nations and by all people living in these countries.

Article 1

Right to equality

(Basic rights)

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. We are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of fellowship.

Article 2

Freedom from discrimination

(Basic rights)

All people are entitled to all these rights and freedoms regardless of race, skin color, sex, religion, family background, political opinions, sexual orientation and gender identity, no matter where they are born, what language they speak, whether rich or poor, or whether they own property. No one should be discriminated against for any reason.

Article 3

Right to life, liberty and personal security

(Basic rights)

All people have the right to life, liberty, freedom, and safety.

Article 4

Freedom from slavery

(Basic rights)

Slavery is a crime. Human beings must never be bought, owned, or sold or separated from their loved ones. Nobody has the right to enslave anyone else. Slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. Human trafficking for sex, labor or any reason is a crime.

Article 5

Freedom from torture and degrading treatment

(Basic rights)

Nobody ever has the right to physically or psychologically torture, harm, traumatize or humiliate any person under any circumstances.

No one has the right to mutilate or violate bodily integrity in any way.

No one has the right to separate families.

No one should suffer from cruel or degrading treatment or punishment, including bullying and any kind of humiliation.

Article 6

Right to recognition as a person before the law

(Legal rights)

All people have a right to be accepted everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7

Right to equality before the law

(Legal rights)

All people are entitled to equal protection before the law without any discrimination. No one should incite others to ignore or violate of these rights.

Article 8

Right to remedy by capable judges

(Legal rights)

All people have the right to an effective remedy by fair and competent judges who will uphold his or her rights. All people have the right to see justice served.

Article 9

Freedom from arbitrary arrest and exile

(Legal rights)

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10

Right to fair public hearing

(Legal rights)

Anyone who is accused of breaking the law or who must go to court for any reason has a right to a fair and public hearing by courts that are open-minded, impartial, and independent from the government.

Article 11

Right to be considered innocent until proven guilty

(Legal rights)

1) Anyone accused has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty through a fair and public trial with guaranteed opportunities necessary to defend oneself.

2) No one can be considered guilty for any offense that was not considered illegal at the time the act was committed, nor shall anyone receive a heavier penalty or punishment than was applicable when it happened.

Article 12

Freedom from interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence

(Personal and physical rights)

All people have the right to be protected by law from interference with their private life, family, home or correspondence, and from attacks upon their honor and reputation.

All people have the right to be protected from surveillance.

All people have the right to own and control their own data. No one may use, exploit, buy, sell or profit in any way from use of anyone’s data without their knowledge or permission.

Article 13

Right to free movement

(Personal and physical rights)

1) All people have the right to move freely and to live wherever they want within their own country.

2) All people have the right to leave any country, including their own, and to be able to return to their country.

Article 14

Right to protection in another country

(Personal and physical rights)

1) Anyone threatened, persecuted and forced to flee their country because of human rights abuses has the right go to another country to seek safety, to seek asylum and ask for protection as a refugee.

2) This right does not apply to those who commit serious nonpolitical crimes that are against the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15

Right to a nationality and the freedom to change it

(Personal and physical rights)

1) All people have the right to belong to a country, to have a nationality and to be treated as a citizen of their country of origin. Indigenous peoples are entitled to full equal rights and protections of their lands.

2) No one may be deprived of citizenship and nationality without a good reason. All people have a right to change his/her county and nationality if they wish.

Article 16

Right to marriage and family

(Personal and physical rights)

1) When old enough, all people have the right to marry whomever they choose and have a family regardless of race, country or religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. Both partners have equal rights when they are married and also when they are separated.

2) Marriage can only take place with each person’s free and full agreement.

3) The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to protection by the government, including nontraditional families with same sex parents, foster parents, and intentional households that provide love, nurturing, security and safety.

Article 17

Right to own property

(Personal and physical rights)

1) All people have the right to own goods, land and property, alone or with others.

2) Nobody may be deprived of these things without a good reason.

Article 18

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

(Spiritual and political rights)

All people have the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or beliefs, either alone or in community with others, in public or in private, to express his/her religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19

Freedom of opinion and information

(Spiritual and political rights)

All people have the right to freedom of opinion and expression without interference or fear of punishment. All people have the right to seek, receive, share and publish information and ideas through any media anywhere in their own and other countries.

Article 20

Right to peaceful assembly and association

(Spiritual and political rights)

1) All people have the right to meet peacefully with other people in public or private.

2) No one can be forced to join or belong to any group or association. All people have the right to leave any group.

Article 21

Right to participate in government and elections

(Spiritual and political rights)

1) All people have the right to participate in the government of their country, either directly or by electing representatives.

2) All people have the right to serve their country in some way and to have the option of non-military community or pother form of public service.

3) The job of governments should be to serve the will of the people. Therefore, free and fair elections should be held on a regular basis. Each person’s vote is secret and counts equally.

UDHR Article 22

Right to social security

(Economic, social and cultural rights)

Every person, as member of society, has the right to have their basic needs met. Resources for social, economic and cultural rights necessary for the dignity and full development of the personality should be provided through national effort and international cooperation.

Article 23

Right to desirable work and to join trade unions

(Economic, social and cultural rights)

1) All people have the right to work and the free choice of employment in fair and safe conditions with protection against unemployment.

2) All people have the right to equal pay for equal work.

3) All people have the right to be paid enough for a decent standard of living, enough to support a family or to be supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

4) Every worker has the right to form or join trade unions to protect their interests.

Article 24

Right to rest and leisure

(Economic, social and cultural rights)

1) All people have the right to rest and time off from work including reasonable hours and periodic paid vacations.

2) All people have the right paid family leave for births, illnesses and other demanding life situations and the right to return to their work.

Article 25

Right to adequate living standard

(Economic, social and cultural rights)

1) All people have the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services. Society should help those unable to work if they are unemployed, sick, widowed, disabled or too old to work.

2) Mothers, fathers, children and caregivers are entitled to special care and assistance.

Article 26

Right to education

(Economic, social and cultural rights)

1) All people have the right to education. Elementary education shall be free and required for all. Higher education towards a trade or profession should be available for people to pursue as far as they desire.

2) Education shall foster the full development of the human personality and respect for human rights and freedoms. It shall promote understanding and friendship among all nations, races and religions in support of the UN’s activities to help create a peaceful world.

3) Parents have a right to choose the kind of education their children receive.

4) Students with special needs have a right to special education and accommodation with specially trained educators, technology and other adaptations to maximize their learning, self-esteem, social relationships and participation in society.

Article 27

Right to participate in the cultural life of community

(Economic, social and cultural rights)

1) All people have the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to benefit from scientific advancements.

2) All people have the right to receive credit and profit that comes from something that they have written, created or discovered.

Article 28

Right to a social order

(International order)

All people are entitled to a social order in which these rights and freedoms can be fully realized.

Article 29

Responsibilities to the community

(International order)

1) All people have a responsibility to their community, where the free and full development of personality is possible.

2) Rights and freedoms can be limited if necessary, to protect other people’s rights, to meet society’s sense of right and wrong, to maintain order, and to support the general welfare in society.

3) These rights and freedoms should support the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30

Freedom from interference in these human rights

(International order)

Nothing in this Declaration gives any person, country, or group any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms in this Declaration to which all humans are entitled.

Proposed Amendment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Because the world has changed in ways not imagined 1948,

Because we are all interconnected by a web of habitats that evolved to support life in which each species contributes to the whole,

Because we are all interconnected in new ways by systems of technology, communications and travel,

Because protecting our environment is necessary for all human rights to enjoy life, health, freedom, justice and peace now and in the future.

Because of increasing lethality of weapons, vulnerability of civilian populations, potential for mass destruction and incitement of hatred and fear through all forms of media,

If we are not to suffer effects of rising sea levels, disappearing islands and coastlines, intense storms, fires, droughts, famines, extinctions, environmental refugees, increased mental health problems and civil wars,

If we are not to live in fear of all traumas brought on by war, terrorism and political violence,

We declare to amend the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights to include new inalienable rights,

We request Member States to pledge to teach, promote, respect, and take active measures to slow, halt and reverse global violence, climate breakdown, and environmental harm.

NEW RIGHTS Article 31

Right to sustainable environment for future generations

All beings alive today are born with the inalienable right to a clean, safe, sustainable environment, and a right to live without fear of catastrophic changes that threaten life, health and home.

Future generations are entitled to the same rights of those now living. Insuring and protecting the universal environmental rights of all life forms today is inseparable from the universal rights of all future beings who will inhabit this planet.

NEW RIGHTS Article 32

Clean air

All beings have the right to breathe clean air, free from harmful pollution. No one has a right to produce harmful, toxic emissions from coal, chemicals or other toxins into the air. All should work to transform industrial infrastructures and practices to reduce all kinds of pollution.

NEW RIGHTS Article 33

Clean water

Clean water, necessary for life, is a basic human right. All have the right to free clean water and the benefits of clean, healthy oceans, lakes, rivers and streams and the life they contain. No one has the right to dump or allow leakage or leaching of garbage, lead, toxins, plastics or anything harmful into the Earth’s waters, or to engage in practices that harm or alter the Earth’s ecosystem. No one has the charge extra for clean water.

NEW RIGHTS Article 34

Protecting plants

All are dependent on plants for food, medicinal remedies, oxygen and materials to sustain health and life. All have the right to affordable, nutritious food grown in rich soil, free of toxins, chemicals, and acid rain. No one has the right to engage in practices that exploit nature, contaminate natural habitats to cause disease, destroy natural habitats that contribute to Earth’s balance, cause mass extinctions and harm the biosphere. All individuals and governments should be proactive in restoring and regenerating conditions that support life.

NEW RIGHTS Article 35

Animals’ rights

Pets, service animals, farm, zoo and all animals under direct human control and beyond are dependent on humans for life, comfort and health. Animals everywhere are affected by human behavior. All animals must be treated humanely, consistent with their natural habitats, and fed their natural diets, which can prevent pandemics. No one may restrict animals’ movement or allow hunger, physical or emotional pain.

NEW RIGHTS Article 36

Right to clean power

All have the right to live in a world free of radioactive waste, which is deadly for tens of thousands to millions of years, and poses dangers from accidents and leaks into the air, ground and water. All have a right to safe, renewable power that does not risk security, provoke proliferation, or drain money away from human needs. All have an inalienable right to safe, clean, nontoxic, renewable forms of energy that cost less and create more jobs.

NEW RIGHTS Article 37

Freedom from toxins

All have the right to live in a world free of exposure to toxic herbicides, pesticides, chemicals, coal, and acid rain that alter ecosystems. Toxins cause genetic mutations, disrupt hormones, impair immunity, cause cancer, neurotoxicity, infertility, birth defects, death, and extinctions. No one has the right to endanger humans, animals, plants, their habitats and ecosystems with any toxins.

NEW RIGHTS Article 38

Freedom from plastic waste

All have the right to live in a world free of excessive disposable plastics that produce trillions of tons of waste, pollute waters, strangle sea life and create enormous patches of floating debris in our waters. No one has the right to promote destructive habits for mindless temporary convenience or profit. All must work to foster transitions to natural, non-disposable, reusable, and biodegradable products and transformation to a mindful lifestyle.

NEW RIGHTS Article 39:

Freedom from war, Rights to conflict transformation

All have a right to live without fear of war, massive killing, wounding, trauma, displacement, blowback, and environmental devastation. All have a right to third party intervention, negotiation, diplomacy, conflict transformation, and nonviolent methods that analyze and address root causes, solve problems, reduce tensions, create incentives for cooperation and address basic human needs, legitimate goals, and just grievances and create incentives for cooperation. No one has a right to threaten innocents who have a right to a world founded on principles of enduring security and “Mutually Assured Survival.”


Freedom from nuclear weapons

We all have a right to live in a world free of nuclear weapons and fear of annihilation. No state or non-state actor has the right to threaten or use nuclear weapons. Measures should be taken to convert vested interests and deep infrastructures of the military industrial congressional media complex. All should act to transform international relationships to reduce tensions and the dynamics of escalation, to alter the desire and motivations to acquire and possess weapons and to promote mutual and universal security to render nuclear and other weapons obsolete and unnecessary, thereby eliminating all nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.


Diane Perlman, PhD   is a clinical and political psychologist, devoted to applying knowledge from psychology, conflict studies and social sciences to designing strategies and policies to reverse nuclear proliferation, to drastically reduce terrorism, reduce enmity, and to raise consciousness about nonviolent strategies for tension reduction and conflict transformation. She is a visiting scholar at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, is active in Psychologists for Social Responsibility, the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, and on the Global Council of Abolition 2000. Some of her writings can be found on her websites, www.consciouspolitics.org  and  www.SanityandSurvival.com. Email: dianeperlman@gmail.com.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 14 Dec 2020.

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One Response to “Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Updated and Amended Version)”

  1. Marilyn Langlois says:

    Thank you for this excellent updated version of the UDHR, with all the important additions! In both this and the original version, I often point to Article 25 (right to a decent standard of living), which is sorely neglected in much of the world. According to Article 30, there is justification for placing certain limitations on Article 17 (right to private property), to the extent that exercise of same impinges on others ability to enjoy what is due them under Article 25. In other words, wealth re-distribution to meet everyone’s human rights is justified by this declaration.