Just as a bit of [interesting, maybe] history, some of the wording appears to have been initially (1947) proposed for article 4 by Cuba (which was not communist then)
The right to choose and profess freely his religion without any restriction other than that imposed by respect for morality and public order.
This was apparently based on the wording of some Latin American constitutions like that of Colombia [1886, art 53]. Cuba's own constitution had something similar at art 35, but I'm not sure when that was adopted.
Later on (in 1948, I think)
Mr. Loutfi (Egypt) submitted the following text for article 2, paragraph 2, which
his delegation had drafted in consultation with the delegations of France and the
“In the exercise of all the rights and freedoms enumerated in this Declaration, everyone
shall be subject only to such limitations as are necessary to secure due recognition and
respect for the rights of others and to the requirements of morality, of general welfare and of
public order in a democratic society.”
There were some objections, but e.g. the argument for this specific enumeration was that
Mr. Wilson (United Kingdom) saw no valid reason why the three expressions
should not be retained. In that connexion, he remarked that the terms “peace”,
“order” and “good government” were to be found together in several federal
Constitutions and expressing the same idea.
Three was a bit of discussion what words were best in each language, singe "general welfare" did not translate well to French ad litteram, so
Mr. Ordonneau (France) stated that the English expression “general welfare”
was untranslatable and had very little meaning in French. It was in order to solve the
translation difficulty that the French delegation had added “la morale” and “l’ordre
publique” to the expression “bien-être général”, so as to cover everything that was
contained in the English idea of “general welfare”.
The Soviet side wasn't too happy with this formulation:
Mr. Pavlov (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) emphasized that it was the
laws of States that fixed the limits for the exercise of human rights and freedoms. He
suggested, therefore, that the following phrase should be added to the text proposed
by the Egyptian representative: “in accordance with the just requirements of the
Some Latin American countries preferred something else:
Mr. Fontaina (Uruguay) proposed to be guided by article 28 of the Declaration
of Human Rights adopted by the Inter-American Conference at Bogotá, according
to which the exercise of human rights was subject only to such limitations as were
necessary in order to respect the rights of others, the security of all and the just
requirements of the democratic State.
In the end, this was put to a vote
The USSR proposal was rejected by 11 votes to 4, with 1 abstention.
The Uruguayan proposal was rejected by 6 votes to 5, with 5 abstentions.
The text proposed by the Egyptian delegation for paragraph 2 of article 2 of the Declaration was adopted by 8 votes to 1, with 7 abstentions.
The basic objection to the USSR amendment was that if the phrase “and also the
corresponding requirements of the democratic State” were adopted, the impression
would be created that the State was higher than morality, public order and general
welfare and had absolute rights which were not conditioned by the requirements of
New Zealand objected to a longer enumeration than just "general welfare", saying that "public order" was often invoked by non-democratic states, but seemingly that did not carry enough weight.
although the New Zealand delegation no doubt interpreted the phrase
“general welfare” in the widest sense, other delegations had expressed the view that it was open to a somewhat narrower and materialistic interpretation. [...]
Mr. Aikman (New Zealand) [then] withdrew his amendment (A/C.3/267) to delete the words “morality, public order and the” from the text of paragraph 2.
So that was kind it. The text was moved around several times, it was at one point [E/CN.4/148/Add.1] in article 27. At some point
it had been understood that all reservations and limitations
in respect of human rights would be contained in article 27
rather than spread them around to caveats on individual articles. (France said on record they'd vote against caveats added piecemeal to other articles.)
I think they introduced more articles then, which pushed it to 29. In fact, at one point it was article 30, they then deleted one.
All quotes from the travaux préparatoires as collected in the Cambridge University Press 3-volume set (2013). (The UN is supposed to have these online, but their links are broken ATM.)