Article 28: Social and International Order.

  • Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 28 is the first of three rights whose objective is to explain the obligations we have as a community in order to be able to enjoy the rights developed in the declaration. We all have the right to live in a peaceful and orderly society. It is also an important right as it recognizes the national and international impacts on the enjoyment of human rights. 

The Declaration of Human Rights was drafted in a period of optimism following the II World War. The historical context inspired and affected the rights included in the declaration. In the view of the drafters of the UDHR, a world at peace was essential for the respect of human rights and to create opportunities for everyone to improve their lives. It is the philosophy that the world should work together and not against each other. Instead of war, the nations of the world should cooperate to achieve the joint goal of a free and fair world. We cannot close our eyes to human rights atrocities happening in other parts of the world than our own, while simultaneously expecting our own rights and freedoms to be respected. 

In many of the other articles, the states of the countries have been obliged to serve and protect their citizens. In this article, however, it is not the state’s obligation to its own citizens, but to every human regardless of borders. If violations of human rights are happening in one country, the rest of the world has an international obligation to help achieve social order in which the rights and freedoms from the UDHR can be fully realized. 

To ensure international order a number of instruments have been instated. These instruments do not belong to a specific nation, and therefore should be objective and for all to use. The UDHR is the foundation for a large number of conventions, declarations, treaties, etc. more explicitly protecting children, women, minorities, political, economic, social, etc. interests. To ensure the international laws of these conventions are followed, the United Nations has different bodies that consist of committees of human rights experts. They monitor and guide the government’s implementation of human rights conventions. Furthermore, if violations are discovered there are different international Human Rights Courts to uphold the laws all over the world.

Some UN Human Rights bodies have drawn attention to the importance of article 28 to be able to realize the rest of the rights in the declaration. They have done so because in recent years multilateralism has started to fray. Some countries assert their national self-interest over the welfare of humankind in general.

Written by Nanna Orloff Mortensen and Natalia Colmenar

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