American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man

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(Adopted by the Ninth International Conference of A merican States,
Bogotá, Colombia, 1948)


The American peoples have acknowledged the dignity of the individual, and
their national constitutions recognize that juridic al and political institutions, which
regulate life in human society, have as their princ ipal aim the protection of the essential
rights of man and the creation of circumstances tha t will permit him to achieve spiritual
and material progress and attain happiness;

The American States have on repeated oc casions recognized that the essential
rights of man are not derived from the fact that he is a national of a certain state, but
are based upon attributes of his human personality;

The international protection of the rig hts of man should be the principal guide
of an evolving American law;

The affirmation of essential human righ ts by the American States together with
the guarantees given by the internal regimes of the states establish the initial system of
protection considered by the American States as bei ng suited to the present social and
juridical conditions, not without a recognition on their part that they should increasingly
strengthen that system in the international field a s conditions become more favorable,

The Ninth International Conference of American States


To adopt the following



All men are born free and equal, in dig nity and in rights, and, being endowed
by nature with reason and conscience, they should c onduct themselves as brothers one
to another.

The fulfillment of duty by each individ ual is a prerequisite to the rights of all.
Rights and duties are interrelated in every social and political activity of man. While
rights exalt individual liberty, duties express the dignity of that liberty.

Duties of a juridical nature presuppose others of a moral nature which support
them in principle and constitute their basis.

Inasmuch as spiritual development is th e supreme end of human existence and
the highest expression thereof, it is the duty of m an to serve that end with all his
strength and resources.

Since culture is the highest social and historical expression of that spiritual
development, it is the duty of man to preserve, pra ctice and foster culture by every
means within his power.

And, since moral conduct constitutes th e noblest flowering of culture, it is the
duty of every man always to hold it in high respect .



Article I. Every human being has the right
to life, liberty and the security of his person.

Right to life, liberty and personal security.
Article II. All persons are equal before the
law and have the rights and duties established
in this Declaration, without distinction as to
race, sex, language, creed or any other factor.

Right to equality before law.
Article III. Every person has the right
freely to profess a religious faith, and to
manifest and practice it both in public and in

Right to religious freedom and worship.
Article IV. Every person has the right to
freedom of investigation, of opinion, and of the
expression and dissemination of ideas, by any
medium whatsoever.

Right to freedom of investigation, opinion,
expression and dissemination.

Article V. Every person has the right to
the protection of the law against abusive
attacks upon his honor, his reputation, and his
private and family life.

Right to protection of honor, personal
reputation, and private and family life.

Article VI. Every person has the right to
establish a family, the basic element of society,
and to receive protection therefore.

Right to a family and to protection thereof.
Article VII. All women, during pregnancy
and the nursing period, and all children have
the right to special protection, care and aid.

Right to protection for mothers and children.
Article VIII. Every person has the right to
fix his residence within the territory of the
state of which he is a national, to move about
freely within such territory, and not to leave it
except by his own will.

Right to residence and movement.
Article IX. Every person has the right to
the inviolability of his home.

Right to inviolability of the home.
Article X. Every person has the right to
the inviolability and transmission of his

Right to the inviolability and transmission of

Article XI. Every person has the right to
the preservation of his health through sanitary
and social measures relating to food, clothing,
housing and medical care, to the extent
permitted by public and community resources.

Right to the preservation of health and to well-

Article XII. Every person has the right to
an education, which should be based on the
principles of liberty, morality and human

Likewise every person has the right to an
education that will prepare him to attain a
decent life, to raise his standard of living, and
to be a useful member of society.

The right to an education includes the
right to equality of opportunity in every case,
in accordance with natural talents, merit and
the desire to utilize the resources that the
state or the community is in a position to

Every person has the right to receive,
free, at least a primary education.

Right to education.
Article XIII. Every person has the right to
take part in the cultural life of the community,
to enjoy the arts, and to participate in the
benefits that result from intellectual progress,
especially scientific discoveries.

He likewise has the right to the protection
of his moral and material interests as regards
his inventions or any literary, scientific or
artistic works of which he is the author.

Right to the benefits of culture.
Article XIV. Every person has the right to
work, under proper conditions, and to follow
his vocation freely, insofar as existing
conditions of employment permit.

Right to work and to fair

Every person who works has the right to
receive such remuneration as will, in
proportion to his capacity and skill, assure him
a standard of living suitable for himself and for
his family.

Article XV. Every person has the right to
leisure time, to wholesome recreation, and to
the opportunity for advantageous use of his
free time to his spiritual, cultural and physical

Right to leisure time and to the use thereof.
Article XVI. Every person has the right to
social security which will protect him from the
consequences of unemployment, old age, and
any disabilities arising from causes beyond his
control that make it physically or mentally
impossible for him to earn a living.

Right to social security.
Article XVII. Every person has the right to
be recognized everywhere as a person having
rights and obligations, and to enjoy the basic
civil rights.

Right to recognition of juridical personality and
civil rights.

Article XVIII. Every person may resort to
the courts to ensure respect for his legal
rights. There should likewise be available to
him a simple, brief procedure whereby the
courts will protect him from acts of authority
that, to his prejudice, violate any fundamental
constitutional rights.

Right to a fair trial.

Article XIX. Every person has the right to
the nationality to which he is entitled by law
and to change it, if he so wishes, for the
nationality of any other country that is willing
to grant it to him.

Right to nationality.
Article XX. Every person having legal
capacity is entitled to participate in the
government of his country, directly or through
his representatives, and to take part in popular
elections, which shall be by secret ballot, and
shall be honest, periodic and free.

Right to vote and to participate in government.
Article XXI. Every person has the right to
assemble peaceably with others in a formal
public meeting or an informal gathering, in
connection with matters of common interest of
any nature.

Right of assembly.
Article XXII. Every person has the right to
associate with others to promote, exercise and
protect his legitimate interests of a political,
economic, religious, social, cultural,
professional, labor union or other nature.

Right of association.
Article XXIII. Every person has a right to
own such private property as meets the
essential needs of decent living and helps to
maintain the dignity of the individual and of
the home.

Right to property.
Article XXIV. Every person has the right
to submit respectful petitions to any competent
authority, for reasons of either general or
private interest, and the right to obtain a
prompt decision thereon.

Right of petition.

Article XXV. No person may be deprived
of his liberty except in the cases and according
to the procedures established by pre-existing

No person may be deprived of liberty for
nonfulfillment of obligations of a purely civil

Every individual who has been deprived of
his liberty has the right to have the legality of
his detention ascertained without delay by a
court, and the right to be tried without undue
delay or, otherwise, to be released. He also
has the right to humane treatment during the
time he is in custody.

Right of protection from arbitrary arrest.
Article XXVI. Every accused person is
presumed to be innocent until proved guilty.

Every person accused of an offense has
the right to be given an impartial and public
hearing, and to be tried by courts previously
established in accordance with pre-existing
laws, and not to receive cruel, infamous or
unusual punishment.

Right to due process of law.
Article XXVII. Every person has the right,
in case of pursuit not resulting from ordinary
crimes, to seek and receive asylum in foreign
territory, in accordance with the laws of each
country and with international agreements.

Right of asylum.
Article XXVIII. The rights of man are
limited by the rights of others, by the security
of all, and by the just demands of the general
welfare and the advancement of democracy.

Scope of the rights of man.



Article XXIX. It is the duty of the
individual so to conduct himself in relation to
others that each and every one may fully form
and develop his personality.

Duties to society.
Article XXX. It is the duty of every person
to aid, support, educate and protect his minor
children, and it is the duty of children to honor
their parents always and to aid, support and
protect them when they need it.

Duties toward children and parents.
Article XXXI. It is the duty of every
person to acquire at least an elementary

Duty to receive instruction.
Article XXXII. It is the duty of every
person to vote in the popular elections of the
country of which he is a national, when he is
legally capable of doing so.

Duty to vote.
Article XXXIII. It is the duty of every
person to obey the law and other legitimate
commands of the authorities of his country and
those of the country in which he may be.

Duty to obey the law.
Article XXXIV. It is the duty of every
able-bodied person to render whatever civil and
military service his country may require for its
defense and preservation, and, in case of public
disaster, to render such services as may be in
his power.

It is likewise his duty to hold any public
office to which he may be elected by popular
vote in the state of which he is a national.

Duty to serve the community and the nation.

Article XXXV. It is the duty of every
person to cooperate with the state and the
community with respect to social security and
welfare, in accordance with his ability and with
existing circumstances.

Duties with respect to social security and

Article XXXVI. It is the duty of every
person to pay the taxes established by law for
the support of public services.

Duty to pay taxes.
Article XXXVII. It is the duty of every
person to work, as far as his capacity and
possibilities permit, in order to obtain the
means of livelihood or to benefit his

Duty to work.
Article XXXVIII. It is the duty of every
person to refrain from taking part in political
activities that, according to law, are reserved
exclusively to the citizens of the state in which
he is an alien.

Duty to refrain from political activities in a
foreign country.