AMERICAN DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MAN
(Adopted by the Ninth International Conference
of American States,
Bogotá, Colombia, 1948)
The American peoples have acknowledged the dignity of the
individual, and their national constitutions recognize that juridical
and political institutions, which regulate life in human society,
have as their principal aim the protection of the essential rights
of man and the creation of circumstances that will permit him
to achieve spiritual and material progress and attain happiness;
The American States have on repeated occasions 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 rights of man should be
the principal guide of an evolving American law;
The affirmation of essential human rights 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 being 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 as conditions become more favorable,
The Ninth International Conference of American States
To adopt the following
AMERICAN DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MAN
All men are born free and equal, in dignity and in rights,
and, being endowed by nature with reason and conscience, they
should conduct themselves as brothers one to another.
The fulfillment of duty by each individual 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 the supreme end of human
existence and the highest expression thereof, it is the duty of
man 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,
practice and foster culture by every means within his power.
And, since moral conduct constitutes the noblest flowering
of culture, it is the duty of every man always to hold it in high
Right to life, liberty and personal security.
Every human being has the right to life, liberty and the security
of his person.
Right to equality before law.
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 religious freedom and worship.
Every person has the right freely to profess a religious faith,
and to manifest and practice it both in public and in private.
Right to freedom of investigation, opinion, expression and
Every person has the right to freedom of investigation, of opinion,
and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium
Right to protection of honor, personal reputation, and private
and family life.
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 a family and to protection thereof.
Every person has the right to establish a family, the basic element
of society, and to receive protection therefor.
Right to protection for mothers and children.
All women, during pregnancy and the nursing period, and all children
have the right to special protection, care and aid.
Right to residence and movement.
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 inviolability of the home.
Every person has the right to the inviolability of his home.
Right to the inviolability and transmission of correspondence
Every person has the right to the inviolability and transmission
of his correspondence.
Right to the preservation of health and to well-being.
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
Right to education.
Every person has the right to an education, which should be based
on the principles of liberty, morality and human solidarity.
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 provide.
Every person has the right to receive, free, at least a primary
Right to the benefits of culture.
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
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 work and to fair remuneration.
Every person has the right to work, under proper conditions, and
to follow his vocation freely, insofar as existing conditions
of employment permit.
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.
Right to leisure time and to the use thereof.
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 benefit.
Right to social security.
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 recognition of juridical personality and civil rights.
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 a fair trial.
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
Right to nationality.
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 vote and to participate in government.
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 of assembly.
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 association.
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 to property.
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 of petition.
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 protection from arbitrary arrest.
No person may be deprived of his liberty except in the cases and
according to the procedures established by pre-existing law.
No person may be deprived of liberty for nonfulfillment of
obligations of a purely civil character.
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 to due process of law.
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 of asylum.
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
Scope of the rights of man.
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.
Duties to society.
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
Duties toward children and parents.
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
Duty to receive instruction.
It is the duty of every person to acquire at least an elementary
Duty to vote.
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 obey the law
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 serve the community and the nation.
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
Duties with respect to social security and welfare.
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.
Duty to pay taxes.
It is the duty of every person to pay the taxes established by
law for the support of public services.
Duty to work.
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 community.
Duty to refrain from political activities in a foreign country.
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.