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Updated 06/23/2006

American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man

The Ninth International Conference of American States, held in Bogotá, Columbia in 1948, created the Organization of American States (OAS) and adopted the first official international human rights instrument, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The declaration preceded the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights by nearly seven months. 

The declaration is unique in that it outlines not only the rights afforded to citizens of the Americas but also the duties of those citizens. Chapter one of the declaration lists civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights, and chapter two outlines the corresponding duties of those rights, including the duty to vote and pay taxes. 

The American Declaration laid the foundation for the Inter-American Human Rights system.  Although the subsequent American Convention on Human Rights is more comprehensive, the system’s two supervisory bodies (the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) continue to enforce the declaration’s provisions, especially in regard to states that have yet to ratify the convention.   

For more information

Full text of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man