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Twenty first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Route to Human Rights

Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights underlines the right of everyone to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. It also guarantees the right of equal access to public service. This article establishes that the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government and shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures. This principle is fundamental to democracy, as it ensures that all citizens have a voice in the political and administrative direction of their country.

The relevance of Article 21 lies in its affirmation that the legitimacy of any government emanates from the consent of the governed. By promoting free and fair elections, it protects the right of people to elect and be elected, encouraging active participation in political life. This is crucial for the protection of other human rights, since a government accountable to its citizens tends to respect and promote their dignity and rights. In contexts where elections may be manipulated or where certain groups are excluded from the political process, this article acts as an international standard that supports efforts towards equity and social justice.

The plaque with Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is located in the Porta Miña Exhibition Hall.

Images courtesy of  © “museo de Lugo” and ISHR

  • Address
    Porta Miña Exhibition Hall. Ronda da Muralla intersection with Rúa do Carmen, s/n 27004, Lugo, Galicia, Spain
  • Web
  • Visiting Hours
    Always open
  • What to see
    21st article

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