The United Nations General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, intended as “as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.” It consists of a preamble and 30 articles setting forth the basic civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights and fundamental freedoms that all human beings in every country should enjoy. Because they are so widely accepted and used as a yardstick as for measuring the conduct of states, the declaration’s provisions are considered to carry the weight of international law. It has inspired the adoption of numerous standard-setting instruments and influenced national laws and constitutions in many newly independent states.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the declaration in 1998, UNESCO struck a commemorative medal. The obverse side features a globe surrounded by the words Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme, 1948-1998, 50e anniversaire (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 50th anniversary). The reverse is engraved with the first sentence of Article 1: Tous les êtres humains naissent libres et égaux en dignité et en droits. (All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights), as well as the words “human rights” spelt out in the Organization’s six official languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French and Chinese. At the centre is the UNESCO logo.

Available in bronze


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