The most fundamental law of any country would be its Constitution. It contains a set of principles explaining the foundation of the government as well as rights that safeguards the life, liberty and property of an individual. It also states regulations and divisions and scope of powers of the branches of the government and the manner in which these powers may be legitimately exercised. The United States Constitution is the fundamental law of the land and as such, the rights that are embedded therein are more superior than the rights that are stated in statutory laws (“Constitution of the United States”).
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted right after the World War II. The main purpose of this document is to give people across the globe a clear definition of the rights which are enumerated in the United Nations charter and to define the basic human rights because unlike other rights afforded by law, this is something that all people are entitled to whether or not there is a law protecting these rights. Human Rights are inherent in people simply because we are all born as humans. As of today, this declaration is universally acknowledged and is being referred to all over the world (Smith).
Both the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human rights talks about upholding and safeguarding the rights of the individuals. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights serves as a mere advisory and is will only become a legally binding instrument if a country is a signatory to it. Members of the United Nations are greatly encouraged to support this while the Constitution is indeed a very legally binding piece of legislation which every country has.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted by a Commission while the Constitution was made through a process called Constitutional Convention whereby the founding fathers have deliberated long and hard as to what the contents of this fundamental law will be. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights came from the bill of rights of many countries including the United States Bill of Rights while the Constitution contains that particular original article (Smith).
The rights enumerated in the United States Bill of Rights are mostly civil rights as well as political. Examples of these rights are the right to free speech and religion, the right to due process, right to privacy. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the other hand, includes other rights that are not enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Some of these are social, cultural rights as well as economic. Provisions for these rights such as right to health care and adequate housing are provided for in the Declaration.
Human Rights, as compared to the Bill of Rights and other statutory law, has a wider scope when it comes to the value system. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not related to nor does it limit its scope to citizenship of a single nation while the United States Constitution is valid and binding in the United States and its citizens thereof.
The Human Rights also provides a system that guides the relationship of individuals from one another but it does not discuss the relationship of the people and the government unlike the Constitution which contains several articles about how the government and the people work (Flowers). The basic rights of individuals do not begin nor end with the Constitution and Declaration of Human Rights but it is a comforting feeling that they exists as a reminder and a guide to people.
“Constitution of the United States”. N. d. The Lectric Law Library’s Legal Lexicon On. 08 June 2009 <http://www.lectlaw.com/def/c339.htm>
Flowers, N. N. d. “Human Rights Here and Now”. University of Minnesota Human Rights Resource Center. 8 June 2009 <http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/hreduseries/hereandnow/Part-2/HRE-FAQ.htm>.
Smith, S. 2009. “What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?” Wise Geek. 08 June 2009 <http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-universal-declaration-of-human-rights.htm>.