In December 1948, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris. It was drafted by representatives from different legal and cultural backgrounds from all over the world. It is a milestone document in the history of human rights and states for the first time in the history of human rights that fundamental human rights are to be universally protected. Why? Because we are all human beings.
The first three articles read:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or another status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person
The core human rights documents are generally regarded to be the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) together with the nine UN Human Rights Conventions listed here below. The different years within brackets represent the year it was adopted, and then the year it came into force:
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (1948)
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) (1965/1969)
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (1966/1976)
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (1966/1976)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1979/1981)
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) (1984/1987)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1989/1990)
- International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW) (1990/2003)
- International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CPED) (2006/2010)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (2006/2008)
In the world that we live in today, it is of the utmost importance to be reminded of, over and over again, that we are all human beings, and we deserve to be treated as such, no matter what. Together we can (at least try) to work for peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet.