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Human Rights
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Global Bodies & Treaties

Human rights as we think of them today are rooted in the United Nations Charter and codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other treaties and declarations created by international bodies.



Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights is is the principal U.N. official responsible for human rights.

U.N. Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council, establised in March 2006, replaced the widely criticized Human Rights Commission as the primary international human rights body.

International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is the predominant judicial body of the United Nations.

The Geneva Conventions
Today a total of 190 countries are party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, a set of international treaties governing conduct in warfare.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most widely accepted human rights document in existence.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights—which emphasizes protection of citizens' social and economic security—is one of two major human rights covenants human rights covenants adopted subsequent to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights—which emphasizes individual rights—is one of two principal human rights covenants adopted subsequent to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
The Genocide Convention, adopted in 1949, grew out of the Nuremberg trials following World War II.

Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The U.N. Convention against Torture, which took effect in 1987, bans torture under any circumstances and calls on governments to prevent and prohibit torture.

International Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance
This convention criminalizes forced disappearance and affirms the right of victims to know why a disappearance took place and to seek recompense.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
This convention is the most comprehensive international treaty dealing exclusively with women’s rights.

Convention on the Rights of the Child
This convention is among the most comprehensive international human rights treaties and the most quickly ratified.

American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man
The Ninth International Conference of American States, held in Bogota, Columbia in 1948, created the Organization of American States and adopted the first official international human rights instrument, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is the oldest of all regional bodies, and its Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man predates the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights by nearly seven months.

American Convention on Human Rights
The American Convention on Human Rights reiterates and expands on the rights outlined in the earlier American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, along with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, is one of two supervisory bodies in the Inter-American Human Rights system of the regional Organization of American States.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights
In 1969, the American Convention on Human Rights created the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in order to safeguard human rights in the Americas.

Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law
The Basic Principles and Guidelines provide victims of human rights abuses avenues to demand reparation.

U.N. Declaration on Human Rights Defenders
Still a relatively new topic in the human rights field, the protection of human rights defenders has become one of the foremost concerns of the human rights movement.

U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
The U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners is the most comprehensive human rights instrument addressing the treatment and rights of persons deprived of liberty.