The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter was signed by China, France, the then Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States and by a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated every year on October 24.
The United Nations is made up of 193 Member States, after the admission of South Sudan on July 14, 2011 as the 193rd Member.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights around the world.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not a law, but a statement of ideals. It was created by the United Nations and has been translated in over 500 languages. It presents a common standard for all states and individuals and lists fundamental human rights to be universally protected. These rights apply to all human beings.
Following the end of the Second World War, and the creation of the United Nations, the international community vowed to never again repeat the atrocities of the Holocaust, which led to the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on December 10, 1948 by the UN General Assembly. Since then, December 10 is International Human Rights Day.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights inspired the foundation of international human rights. There are 30 articles in the document, covering six categories of human rights: political, civil, equality, economic, social and cultural rights.
John Peters Humphrey, a law professor at McGill University born in Hampton, New Brunswick, was an expert in international law, and was asked to direct the UN's Human Rights Division after the Second World War. He was in that position for 20 years.
Humphrey was the main author of the first version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing up to 400 pages himself. At the time, the document contained 48 articles.
John Humphrey is remembered for his humanitarian work all over Canada: The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and for Human Rights, for example, is an educational institute based in Edmonton, which promotes understanding of human rights. Humphrey is also remembered with the John Humphrey Freedom Award, presented each year to an individual or non-governmental organization working in the promotion of human rights.
All of these are human rights, which are reflected in the following articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change their religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest their religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
There are 9 core international human rights treaties. Each of these has established a committee of experts to monitor implementation of the treaty provisions by countries that are a party to the treaty. Some of the treaties are supplemented by optional protocols dealing with specific concerns.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not a treaty, but a statement of ideals. Canada’s Human Rights laws are informed by the document. Conventions, on the other hand, are international treaties.
True. Becoming party to a treaty is understood to be the country’s commitment to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights obligations and duties under international law. This commitment includes the responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights outlined in those treaties.
True. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process in which Member States of the United Nations review the human rights situation in all Member States.
Countries go through the UPR reporting process every 4.5 years. Canada’s latest review took place in 2018.
True. With 524 translations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most translated document in the world.
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