(Mirrored from http://www3.itu.int/udhr/lang/eng.htm)
Declaration of Human Rights
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It belongs to the Indo-European family, Germanic group, West Germanic subgroup and is the official language of over 1.7 billion people. Home speakers are over 330 million. As regards the evolution of the English language, three main phases can be distinguished. From the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., the Celtics are believed to have lived in the place where we now call Britain. Britain first appeared in the historical records as Julius Caesar campaigned there in 55-54 B.C. Britain was conquered in 43 A.D. and remained under the Roman occupation until 410 A.D. Then came from the European Continent the Germanic tribes, who spoke the languages belonging to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. First the Jutes from Jutland (present-day Denmark) in the 3rd century A.D., then in the 5th century, the Saxons from Friesland, Frisian Islands and north-west Germany, finally the Angles, from present-day Schleswig-Holstein (a German Land) who settled north of the Thames. The words "England" and "English", come from the word, "Angles". During the Old English period of 450-1,100 A.D. (first phase), Britain experienced the spread of Christianity, and, from the 8th century, the invasion and occupation by the Vikings, called the "Danes." The most important event of the second phase, the Middle English period (1100-1500 A.D.) was the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Normans were the North Men, meaning the Vikings from Scandinavia, settled in the Normandy region of France from the 9th century, who had assimilated themselves to the French language and culture. English was much influenced by French during this time. During the third phase, the Modern English period (1500 onwards), English spread to the world as the British Empire colonised many lands. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) lived in this period, and in 1755 Samuel Johnson completed "A Dictionary of the English Language" with about 40,000 entries, which contributed to the standardisation of the English language. The English language which spread to the world created many of its variants, the most prominent of which is American English. The American English writing system is said to owe much to Noah Webster's "An American Dictionary of the English Language" which was completed in 1828. Other important varieties include Indian English, Australian English, and many English-based Creoles and Pidgins.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
The General Assembly,
Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.