Preamble section 1:
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,


  1. Where Do Human Rights Come From
  2. Religion
  3. Natural Law
  4. Natural Rights
  5. Legal Positivism
  6. Marxism/Socialism
  7. Controversy
  8. References


For more on the sources of human rights, see: Jerome Shestack, “The Jurisprudence of Human Rights” in Human Rights in International Law, Chapter 3. (Theodor Meron., ed.); Paul Gordon Lauren, The Evolution of Human Rights: Vision Seen.

Famous documents outlining the theory of natural rights are John Locke, Second Treatise of Government (1690) and Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals.

For more on legal positivism and Bentham see Waldron, Jeremy, Nonsense upon Stilts: Bentham, Burke and Marx on the Rights of Man.

For more on a modern conception of human rights see Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice (1989).

For more on the drafting procedure, see Johannes Morsink, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Origins, Drafting, and Intent (1999) at 288-94.

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Peter Danchin, Columbia University