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The UN and Human Rights

One World, Many Faces

The UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) in December 1948 as  resolution 217 (III)


The UNDHR,  the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols (on the death penalty and complaints procedures), along with International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocols for what is commonly known as the International Bill of Rights.


  • What are Human Rights?  An explanation of the rights it considers inalienable for all persons.

  • Human Rights Issues.  A detailed listing and description of the many aspects of human rights from adequate housing to traditional values and human rights.

  • Human Rights Organizations

    • UN Human Rights Council​ (HRC)  -- the HRC's is the primary agency within the UN charged with protecting and promoting human rights around the globe.   Its 47 members are elected by the General Assembly.   

      Council has always been a controversial organization in part because some elected members have dubious human rights records.  For the United States, those nations and the Council's criticism of Israel's human rights record vis-a-vis the Palestinian people prompted the U.S. to withdraw its support for the Council in June 2018 

    • Other human rights bodies

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