Equality before the law
Equality before the law, also known as legal equality, is the principle under which all people are subject to the same laws of justice (due process). All are equal before the law. Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law." According to the United Nations, this principle is particularly important to the minorities and to the poor. Thus, the law and the judges must treat everybody by the same laws regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status etc, without privilege. Equality before the law is one of the basic principles of classical liberalism. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris. The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled. It consists of 30 articles which have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions and laws. The International Bill of Human Rights consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols. In 1966 the General Assembly adopted the two detailed Covenants, which complete the International Bill of Human Rights; and in 1976, after the Covenants had been ratified by a sufficient number of individual nations, the Bill took on the force of international law. During the Second World War the allies adopted the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want, as their basic war aims. The United Nations Charter "reaffirmed faith in fundamental huma
rights, and dignity and worth of the human person" and committed all member states to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion". When the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany became apparent after the Second World War, the consensus within the world community was that the United Nations Charter did not sufficiently define the rights it referenced. A universal declaration that specified the rights of individuals was necessary to give effect to the Charter's provisions on human rights. Canadian John Peters Humphrey was called upon by the United Nations Secretary-General to work on the project and became the Declaration's principal drafter. At the time Humphrey was newly appointed as Director of the Division of Human Rights within the United Nations Secretariat. The Commission on Human Rights, a standing body of the United Nations, was constituted to undertake the work of preparing what was initially conceived as an International Bill of Rights. The membership of the Commission was designed to be broadly representative of the global community with representatives of the following countries serving: Australia, Belgium, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Chile, China, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Lebanon, Panama, Philippines, United Kingdom, United States, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Uruguay and Yugoslavia. Well known members of the Commission included Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States, who was the Chairperson, Jacques Maritain, Rene Cassin and Stephane Hessel of France, Charles Malik of Lebanon, and P. C. Chang of the Republic of China, among others. Humphrey provided the initial draft which became the working text of the Commission. According to Globalizing Family Values, the Declaration's pro-family phrases were the result of the Christian Democratic movement's influence on Cassin and Malik.