Article 30: Rights are Inalienable

  • 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 herein.

Because they are interconnected and indivisible states cannot pick and choose which rights to enforce and which do not. If you follow one, you must follow all. If you violate one, you violate them all. These human rights are also inalienable which means that they can not be taken away from any person. They can’t be revoked under any circumstance. This is the very premise for these rights to apply. All the rights apply to all humans for the entirety of their life, and no one or nothing has the power to change that.

That is why the last article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is also known as “The limit of tyrants” because it protects all human beings from the interference of their rights from the state or other humans. Neither the state nor the individual person must try to violate, destroy, or harm any of the rights from the UDHR.  This exact point is very important in order to understand Article 30. 

Drafted in post-World War II times, the horrors seen in the Nazi-regime was fresh in mind.  This greatly influenced all the articles, including this one. Had the UDHR been present at the time of the war, surely the Nazi-regime would have violated most, if not all, of these rights. Seeing a government suppress, torture, and even kill its people instead of protecting and serving them laid the premise for the whole declaration. That is what this right, ‘The Limit of Tyrants’,  serves. It is the explicit statement that no state, group, or person must try to violate or destroy these rights. It is an effort to prevent the misuse of rights.

Written by Nanna Orloff Mortensen and Natalia Colmenar

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