Islamic Human Rights?
In August of
1990, representatives of 54 Muslim countries met in Cairo and signed the
Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. Many of these countries did
not sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sponsored by the UN,
admitting that this document was in conflict with Islamic values.
What then are Islamic Human Rights and how do they differ from the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)? In the appendix below are
both human rights declarations for a quick comparison.
If you look at the preamble of the UDHR, you will see that there is no
mention of any religion. All religions and cultures are assumed to be
equal. All of humanity are asked to work together to promote “universal
respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.
But in the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (hereafter called
the Cairo Declaration), we can detect a completely different tone.
Right from the first paragraph of the preamble, the Cairo Declaration
confidently asserts the superiority of Islam by referring to the Islamic
Ummah as the “best nation”. The Ummah has a historic role to play in
guiding “a humanity confused by competing trends and ideologies and to
provide solutions to the chronic problems of this materialistic
This is no implication, unlike in the UDHR, that all cultures and
religions are equal. Indeed the rest of humanity is supposedly confused
and in need of guidance from the “best nation”. Right from the start
of the Cairo Declaration, it is made clear the world is divided into
Muslims and infidels.
Now take a look at Articles 24 and 25 at the end of the Cairo Declaration.
You will see that all rights and freedoms and subject to the Islamic
Shariah and the Shariah is the only source of reference for the Cairo
Declaration. Therefore we must read the rest of the Cairo Declaration with
this in mind.
Article 1a states, “All human beings form one family whose members are
united by submission to God and descent from Adam.”
This sentence begs the question, “What about non-Muslims who do not
submit to Allah?”
Does this not imply that Article 1a is simply telling us that non-Muslims
are not part of the family? Article 1a went on to say, “All men are
equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and
responsibilities, without any discrimination on the grounds of race,
color, language, sex, religious belief, political affiliation, social
status or other considerations.”
Take note the word “men” instead of “human beings” was used. In
Islam, men and women are seen to have different obligations and
responsibilities. Men of course can have four wives but women cannot have
four husbands. In the UDHR, gender-neutral terms such as “everyone” or
“human beings” are always used.
In addition, Article 1a appears to contradict the preamble and Article 1b,
as we will soon see. Article 1a forbids discrimination on the grounds of
religious belief, amongst other things. In the preamble and in Article 1b,
it is quite clear that Muslims are held to be higher than infidels.
Article 1b states, “ All human beings are God’s subjects, and the most
loved by Him are those who are most useful to the rest of His subjects,
and no one has superiority over another except on the basis of piety and
Let me remind you that everything in the document is subject to Islamic
shariah. This means that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims since
infidels cannot be more pious than Muslims. So while Article 1a forbids
discrimination on grounds of religious beliefs, Article 1b is doing
precisely that. This attitude will strain relations with infidels. This
could explain why Muslims are in conflict with non-Muslims in Palestine,
Chchenya, Kashmir, South Thailand, Philippines and Sudan.
In contrast, Article 1 of the UDHR tells us all to act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. All religions and cultures are by implication
equal and the declaration appeals to us to work together. There is no talk
of one group leading the others.
Article 2 of the Cairo Declaration forbids bodily harm or the taking of
life unless for a Shariah prescribed reason. This means that you can be
killed for criticizing their holy Prophet Mohammed, as there are tough
laws against blasphemy in Islam. A good example is the fatwa against
Salman Rushdie, condemning him to death.
Article 9 places the duty on the state to give Islamic education to the
people. No mention is made, of course, of other religions. It also charges
the state with educating the people with worldly education, so long as
these do not conflict with Islam, of course. Thus history lessons will
necessarily reflect the Islamic world-view. Therefore, children must be
taught that the early wars of Arab imperialism were being in accordance
with God's wishes. The years before the Arab invasions must be seen as
periods of darkness, no matter how great the ancient civilizations were.
The Crusades must be seen as an attack on Islam and not as a desire to
recapture lands once belonging to Christians. While, the education system
will no doubt emphasize the brutality of the Crusaders, their own Arab
invasions of other people's lands, no matter how brutal, must always be
framed as bringing the light of Islam to benighted peoples.
This approach makes it difficult for empathy to develop. A child going
through such and education system is not encouraged to understand the
other side's point of view.
Any sort of historical revisionism will be viewed suspiciously at best or
apostasy at worst. Also any teaching of Finance will raise difficulties,
if Articles 24 and 25 are vigorously enforced by the signatories. It is
part and parcel of the modern business world to deal in interest, which is
forbidden. All countries borrow money and most companies also do so to
Thus, I pity the Finance professor of a business school who must teach the
valuation of bonds in an Islamic fashion. How are you going to calculate
the Net Present Value of an asset without an interest rate?
Lets move on to Article 10, which says, “Islam is the religion of
unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on
man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to
another religion or to atheism.”
Since Islam is the truth, a Muslim must be truly ignorant to want to
convert to another religion. Therefore, what this means is that Muslims
are not allowed to convert. The penalty of apostasy, according to Shariah,
is death. Article 10 is actually superfluous, since Article 24 says that
everything in the Cairo declaration must be subject to Shariah.
There is of course no protection for non-Muslims being forcibly converted
to Islam and no provisions to protect him or her from her own ignorance or
poverty. Besides this, Article 10 is actually a restriction and not a
right. A right is an entitlement to something beneficial. By restricting
somebody's free choice, you are taking something away from him. Article 10
is of course in contradiction to Article 18 of the UDHR:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom,
either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to
manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and
Article 11a of the Cairo Declaration states:
“Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave,
humiliate, oppress or exploit them, and there can be no subjugation but to
God the Most-high.”
That sounds reasonable in theory, except that Allah does not make personal
appearances. So in practice, people will act in His Most-high name to
subjugate you. This has already happen in Iran and in any Islamic state.
This Article has the potential to limit your freedom of religion since
guardians of the Islamic state will be telling you how to practice your
religion. Article 11a effectively gives those in authority the right to
subjugate you in the name of God.
Article 14 of the Cairo Declaration prohibits usury. Again, this is a
restriction and not a right. It may be fruitful to enquire as to how the
scholars who wrote this Declaration could confuse rights with
restrictions. A psychological study into this may give us an insight into
their minds. Perhaps, the scholars think that it everybody's right to
submit to Allah and this must necessarily means obedience to His laws.
Hence submission equals liberation.
Article 19a of the Cairo Declaration states:
“All individuals are equal before the law, without distinction between
ruler and ruled.”
This Article makes reference to rulers and the ruled and makes no
reference between man and woman. According to Shariah, a woman's testimony
in court is worth that of half a man's. Thus Article 19a does not give
women equal rights before the law.
Article 19d of the Cairo Declaration states:
“There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the
This means that stoning for adultery and amputation for theft is allowed
and even encouraged. Stoning is a slow and painful way to die. Therefore
Article 19d is in conflict with Article 5 of the UDHR which states:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment.”
These are the main differences between the Cairo Declaration and the UDHR.
The differences are not immediately apparent. Rights that appear to be
given are taken away by clauses 24 and 25. That is the fine print. Perhaps
the people who wrote the Cairo Declaration were aware of the wide gulf in
their conception of human rights and did not want to highlight it.
To sum up, the Cairo Declaration allows stoning as punishment, prohibits
Muslims from changing their religion, prohibits usury, does not give women
equal rights and divides the world between Muslims and infidels. It makes
it clear that Muslims are the “best nation” whose duty it is to make
you become like them. While it is supposedly a document about rights, it
also a document containing restrictions. The Cairo Declaration of Human
Rights in Islam is a harsh document that comes from a harsh faith.
Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam
The Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference,
Reaffirming the civilizing and historical role of the Islamic Ummah which
God made the best nation that has given mankind a universal and
well-balanced civilization in which harmony is established between this
life and the hereafter and knowledge is combined with spiritual faith; and
the role that this Ummah should play to guide a humanity confused by
competing trends and ideologies and to provide solutions to the chronic
problems of this materialistic civilization.
Wishing to contribute to the efforts of mankind to assert human rights, to
protect man from exploitation and persecution, and to affirm his freedom
and right to a dignified life in accordance with the Islamic Shari’ah.
Convinced that mankind which has reached an advanced stage in
materialistic science is still, and shall remain, in dire need of faith to
support its civilization and of a self motivating force to guard its
Believing that fundamental rights and universal freedoms in Islam are an
integral part of the Islamic religion and that no one as a matter of
principle has the right to suspend them in whole or in part or violate or
ignore them in as much as they are binding divine commandments, which are
contained in the Revealed Books of God and were sent through the last of
His Prophets to complete the preceding divine messages thereby making
their observance and act of worship and their neglect or violation an
abominable sin, and accordingly every person is individually responsible
-and the Ummah collectively responsible- for their safeguard.
Proceeding from the above-mentioned principles,
Declare the following :
ARTICLE 1 :
a) All human beings form one family whose members are united by submission
to God and descent from Adam. All men are equal in terms of basic human
dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any
discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, language, sex, religious
belief, political affiliation, social status or other conside-rations.
True faith is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to
b) All human beings are God’s subjects, and the most loved by Him are
those who are most useful to the rest of His subjects, and no one has
superiority over another except on the basis of piety and good deeds.
ARTICLE 2 :
a) Life is a God-given gift and the right to life is guaranteed to every
human being. It is the duty of individuals, societies and states to
protect this right from any violation, and it is prohibited to take away
life except for a Shari’ah prescribed reason.
b) It is forbidden to resort to such means as may result in the genocidal
annihilation of mankind.
c) The preservation of human life throughout the term of time willed by
God is a duty prescribed by Shari’ah.
d) Safety from bodily harm is a guaranteed right. It is the duty of the
State to safeguard it, and it is prohibited to breach it without a
Shari’ah prescribed reason.
ARTICLE 3 :
a) In the event of the use of force and in case of armed conflict, it is
not permissible to kill non-belligerents such as old men, women and
children. The wounded and the sick shall have the right to medical
treatment; and prisoners of war shall have the right to be fed, sheltered
and clothed. It is prohibited to mutilate dead bodies. It is a duty to
exchange prisoners of war and to arrange visits or reunions of the
families separated by the circumstances of war.
b) It is prohibited to fell trees, to damage crops or livestock, and to
destroy the enemy’s civilian buildings and instal-lations by shelling,
blasting or any other means.
ARTICLE 4 :
Every human being is entitled to the inviolability and the protection of
his good name and honour during his life and after his death. The State
and Society shall protect his remains and burial place.
ARTICLE 5 :
a) The family is the foundation of society, and marriage is the basis of
its formation. Men and women have the right to marriage, and no
restrictions stemming from race, colour or nationality shall prevent them
from enjoying this right.
b) Society and the State shall remove all obstacles to marriage and shall
facilitate marital procedure. They shall ensure family protection and
ARTICLE 6 :
a) Woman is equal to man in human dignity, and has rights to enjoy as well
as duties to perform; she has her own civil entity and financial
independence, and the right to retain her name and lineage.
b) The husband is responsible for the support and welfare of the family.
ARTICLE 7 :
a) As of the moment of birth, every child has rights due from the parents,
Society and the State to be accorded proper nursing, education and
material, hygienic and moral care. Both the fetus and the mother must be
protected and accorded special care.
b) Parents and those in such like capacity have the right to choose the
type of education they desire for their children, provided they take into
consideration the interest and future of the children in accordance with
ethical values and the principles of the Shari’ah.
c) Both parents are entitled to certain rights from their children, and
relatives are entitled to rights from their kin, in accordance with the
tenets of the Shari’ah.
ARTICLE 8 :
Every human being has the right to enjoy his legal capacity in terms of
both obligation and commitment, should this capacity be lost or impaired,
he shall be represented by his guardian.
ARTICLE 9 :
a) The question for knowledge is an obligation and the provision of
education is a duty for Society and the State. The State shall ensure the
availability of ways and means to acquire education and shall guarantee
educational diver-sity in the interest of Society so as to enable man to
be acquainted with the religion of Islam and the facts of the Universe for
the benefit of mankind.
b) Every human being has the right to receive both religious and worldly
education from the various institutions of, education and guidance,
including the family, the school, the university, the media, etc., and in
such and integrated and balanced manner as to develop his personality,
stren-gthen his faith in God and promote his respect for and defence of
both rights and obligations.
ARTICLE 10 :
Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise
any form of compulsion on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in
order to convert him to another religion or to atheism.
ARTICLE 11 :
a) Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave,
humiliate, oppress or exploit them, and there can be no subjugation but to
God the Most-High.
b) Colonialism of all types being one of the most evil forms of
enslavement is totally prohibited. Peoples suffering from colonialism have
the full right to freedom and self-determination. It is the duty of all
states and peoples to support the struggle of colonized peoples from the
liqui-dation of all forms of colonialism and occupation, and all states
and peoples have the right to preserve their independent identity and
exercise control over their wealth and natural resources.
ARTICLE 12 :
Every man shall have the right, within the framework of Shari’ah, to
free movement and to select his place of residence whether inside or
outside his country and if persecuted, is entitled to seek asylum in
another country. The country of refuge shall ensure his protection until
he reaches safety, unless asylum is motivated by an act which Shari’ah
regards as a crime.
ARTICLE 13 :
Work is a right guaranteed by the State and Society for each person able
to work. Everyone shall be free to choose the work that suits him best and
which serves his interests and those of Society. The employee shall have
the right to safety and security as well as to all other social
guarantees. He may neither be assigned work beyond his capacity nor be
subjected to compulsion or exploited or harmed in any way. He shall be
entitled without any discrimination between males and females - to fair
wages for his work without delay, as well as to the holidays allowances
and promotions which he deserves. For his part, he shall be required to be
dedicated and meticulous in his work. Should workers and employers
disagree on any matter, the State shall intervene to settle the dispute
and have the grievances redressed, the rights confirmed and justice
enforced without bias.
ARTICLE 14 :
Everyone shall have the right to legitimate gains without monopolization,
deceit or harm to oneself or to others. Usury (riba) is absolutely
ARTICLE 15 :
a) Everyone shall have the right to own property acquired in a legitimate
way, and shall be entitled to the rights of ownership, without prejudice
to oneself, others or to society in general. Expropriation is not
permissible except for the requirements of public interest and upon
payment of immediate and fair compensation.
b) Confiscation and seizure of property is prohibited except for a
necessity dictated by law.
ARTICLE 16 :
Everyone shall have the right to enjoy the fruits of his scientific,
literary, artistic or technical production and the right to protect the
moral and material interest stemming therefrom, provided that such
production is not contrary to the principles of Shari’ah.
ARTICLE 17 :
a) Everyone shall have the right to live in a clean environment, away from
vice and moral corruption, an environment that would foster his
self-development and it is incumbent upon the State and Society in general
to afford that right.
b) Everyone shall have the right to medical and social care, and to all
public amenities provided by Society and the State within the limits of
their available resources.
c) The State shall ensure the right of the individual to a decent living
which will enable him to meet all his requirements and those of his
dependents, including food, clothing, housing, education, medical care and
all other basic needs.
ARTICLE 18 :
a) Everyone shall have the right to live in security for himself, his
religion, his dependents, his honour and his property.
b) Everyone shall have the right to privacy in the conduct of his private
affairs, in his home, among his family, with regard to his property and
his relationships. It is not permitted to spy on him, to place him under
surveillance or to besmirch his good name. The State shall protect him
from arbitrary interference.
c) A private residence is inviolable in all cases. It will not be entered
without permission from its inhabitants or in any unlawful manner, nor
shall it be demolished or confiscated and its dwellers evicted.
ARTICLE 19 :
a) All individuals are equal before the law, without distinction between
ruler and ruled.
b) The right to resort to justice is guaranteed to everyone.
c) Liability is in essence personal.
d) There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the
e) A defendant is innocent until his guilt is proven in a fair trial in
which he shall be given all the guarantees of defence.
ARTICLE 20 :
It is not permitted without legitimate reason to arrest an individual,
restrict his freedom, to exile or to punish him. It is not permitted to
subject him to physical or psychological torture or to any form of
humiliation, cruelty or indignity. Nor is it permitted to subject an
individual to medical or scientific experimentation without his consent or
at the risk of his health or of his life. Nor is it permitted to
promulgate emergency laws that would provide executive authority for such
ARTICLE 21 :
Taking hostages under any form or for any purpose is expressly forbidden.
ARTICLE 22 :
a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such
manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.
b) Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right, and propagate
what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according to the
norms of Islamic Shari’ah.
c) Information is a vital necessity to Society. It may not be exploited or
misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of
Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or
harm Society or weaken its faith.
d) It is not permitted to arouse nationalistic or doctrinal hatred or to
do anything that may be an incitement to any form of racial
ARTICLE 23 :
a) Authority is a trust; and abuse or malicious exploitation thereof is
absolutely prohibited, so that fundamental human rights may be guaranteed.
b) Everyone shall have the right to participate directly or indirectly in
the administration of his country’s public affairs. He shall also have
the right to assume public office in accordance with the provisions of
ARTICLE 24 :
All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to
the Islamic Shari’ah.
ARTICLE 25 :
The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation
or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted
and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of
which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the
Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the
Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and
expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions,
without distinction based on the political status of countries or
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and
inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of
freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous
acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a
world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and
freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration
of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse,
as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human
rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed
their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the
human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined
to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation
with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and
observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the
greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION
OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and
all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society,
keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and
education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by
progressive measures, national and international, to secure their
universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples
of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are
endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a
spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this
Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made
on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of
the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be
independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade
shall be prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination
to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection
against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against
any incitement to such discrimination.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national
tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the
constitution or by law.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an
independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and
obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed
innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which
he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act
or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or
international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier
penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal
offence was committed.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy,
family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and
reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against
such interference or attacks.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the
borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to
return to his country.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely
arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes
and principles of the United Nations.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the
right to change his nationality.
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race,
nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.
They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of
the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is
entitled to protection by society and the State.
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom,
either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to
manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right
includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek,
receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country,
directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of
government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections
which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret
vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is
entitled to realization, through national effort and international
co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each
State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his
dignity and the free development of his personality.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just
and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration
ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity,
and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the
protection of his interests.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable
limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health
and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing,
housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to
security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood,
old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.
All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least
in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be
compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally
available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the
basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human
personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and
friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall
further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall
be given to their children.
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of
the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement
and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material
interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production
of which he is the author.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the
rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full
development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject
only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose
of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of
others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and
the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the
purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State,
group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act
aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth