Human rights for everyone

When in 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it set a common standard of human rights for all nations. By this Declaration, Governments are expected to accept their obligation to ensure that all human beings, rich and poor, strong and weak, male and female, of all races and religions, are treated equally.

Since then, the UN has adopted numerous international treaties on human rights, covering such issues as women’s rights, racial discrimination and children’s rights. When Governments become parties to these treaties, they accept an obligation to honour them. When violations occur, specially created treaty bodies review them and make recommendations to rectify the situation. The UN can also censure a country for not honouring its obligations under an international human rights treaty.

The Human Rights Council established in June 2006 is the primary global forum for dialogue and cooperation on human rights. A subsidiary of the General Assembly, it is directly accountable to the full membership of the Organization and is administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.