The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is one of the essential documents of international law since the mid-twentieth century. It provides the rules for the action as well as the base for future implementations. The UDHR states the rights, responsibilities, and sets the regulations for the operations of governments, individuals, and social groups. In this paper, its influence on governments will be considered.
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First, the UDHR acts at the supra-national level, and the national governments must consider its regulations. After the ratification of the international agreement, the country undertakes particular obligations, which in some cases may appear contradictory to the local rules previously established (“Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Why Does It Matter?”). The case for such actions of the national government, which needs to be in accordance with the international standards, may be observed at present due to the emerged problem of COVID-19. While various decisions may be considered appropriate in different countries, the UDHR monitors the process and has the authority to “justify restrictions on some rights… when strictly necessary” (“Human Rights Dimensions of COVID-19 Response”). These modifications are beyond the power of the local governments.
Second, the UDHR states that the individuals can file a complaint directly to the UN Human Rights Committee, as many of the UDHR “deal with the rights, which protect individuals from government and from state-condoned private abuses” (“Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Why Does It Matter?”). One of the possible examples of such action would be the violation of the right of freedom of opinion, protected by Article 19 of the UDHR (Howie 12). In this case, the individual would be treated in accordance with international law, with possible penalties against the national government.
Third, the UDHR makes the governments of different states examine their national issues. Being open to further implementations, the UN Human Rights Committee may consider it necessary to modify the universal standards in accordance with local needs.
Thus, the UDHR is the authority that regulates the multiplicity of the local standards within the universal principles. It provides equal rights and responsibilities, at the same time being open for modification and improvement considering changing circumstances.
Howie, Emily. “Protecting the Human Right to Freedom of Expression in International Law”. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, vol. 20, no. 1, 2018, pp. 12-15.
“Human Rights Dimensions of COVID-19 Response.” Human Rights Watch, 2020. Web.
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“Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Why Does It Matter?” Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Why Does It Matter? – UB Now: News and Views for UB Faculty and Staff – University at Buffalo, 2015. Web.