The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its relevance for the European Union

05-11-2018

Seventy years after its adoption, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has achieved all of the significance its drafters hoped it would. It has served as a foundation for the codification of human rights at global, regional and national level. Even though non-binding, many of its provisions enjoy such undisputed recognition as to be considered part of customary international law and therefore universally obligatory. In the absence of universal ratification of the human rights treaties, the Declaration often remains the central reference to be invoked for the denunciation of human rights violations. The EU has fully embraced the Declaration's significance, using it to set standards in its internal legislation and international agreements, and to guide its external policy.

Seventy years after its adoption, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has achieved all of the significance its drafters hoped it would. It has served as a foundation for the codification of human rights at global, regional and national level. Even though non-binding, many of its provisions enjoy such undisputed recognition as to be considered part of customary international law and therefore universally obligatory. In the absence of universal ratification of the human rights treaties, the Declaration often remains the central reference to be invoked for the denunciation of human rights violations. The EU has fully embraced the Declaration's significance, using it to set standards in its internal legislation and international agreements, and to guide its external policy.