Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1948. It represents the first global agreement on the rights that every human being is entitled to. 18 years later, the UN passed the first two legally binding covenants: Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Together, these documents make-up the International Bill of Human Rights.

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International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

The ICESCR was adopted in 1966 by the UN General Assembly and entered into force on January 3, 1976. (1966). Core provisions include the right to work and social security, the right to education, health and an adequate standard of living.

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International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

The ICCPR was adopted in 1966 by the UN General Assembly and entered into force on March 23, 1976. (1966). Core provisions include the right to physical integrity, liberty and security of person, individual liberties such as freedom of expression, religion and association. There are two Optional Protocols to the ICCPR. The first establishes an individual complaints mechanism and the second abolishes the death penalty.

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Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW)

The Convention was adopted in 1979 and came into force in 1981. The Convention has 189 state parties. It is the most important instrument for the protection of women’s human rights. The convention includes a definition of discrimination and state parties commit to de jure and de facto equality between women and men in all areas of life, including the private sphere.

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International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

The convention was adopted in 1989 by the UN General Assembly and entered into force on September 2, 1990. It describes the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of children. Three Optional Protocols complement the Convention. The first regulates the involvement of children in armed conflict, the second prohibits child prosecution and the latest establishes a complaints mechanism.

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UN General Assembly Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women

The declaration was adopted in 1993 and is seen as a complement and a strengthening of CEDAW. It is the first international instrument with a broad definition of violence. It establishes that violence against women is a violation of human rights. State parties are obliged to prevention and prosecution of crimes. 

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UN Security Council Resolution 1325

In 2000, the UN Security Council adopted the Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325). The resolution has for pillars that support the objectives of the resolution, namely participation, protection, prevention, relief and recovery. These reaffirm women’s important role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction. Thereby, UNSCR 1325 stresses the importance of women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. It also urges all actors to increase women’s participation and the incorporation of a gender perspective in the UN peace and security efforts. UNSCR 1325 also calls on all conflict parties to take special measures to protect women and girls from sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflicts.

The resolution calls upon all UN member states to develop national actions plans outlining specific lines of national activity.

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Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

The convention was adopted in 2006 and came into force in May 2008. The conventions supplements and adds to existing human rights conventions with a focus on persons with disabilities. It establishes their right of self-determination, participation and anti-discrimination and demands an inclusive and accessible society for all.   

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