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International Human Rights

Charter Bodies

                     OHCHR logo

The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principle person responsible for coordinating all human rights affairs at the United Nations. This Office provides substantive and technical support to the human rights bodies and mechanisms. 

This website contains a lot of valuable information, and is a good place to start when looking for UN documentation on human rights issues.

Human Rights by Country - includes reports and findings issues by UN charter and treaty bodies, as well as treaty ratification information. 

Human Rights Databases - list of databases maintained by OHCHR, including the Universal Human Rights Index and the Special Procedures Database. 

Human Rights Issues - Topical list, with links to additional relevant resources. 

OCHCR News Database - Searchable news database, with materials back to 2014. Includes press releases and official statements. 

OCHCR Publications - Fact sheets, policy materials, and in-depth studies. 

 

The Human Rights Council is responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. 

Treaty Bodies

Treaty-based bodies:

  • Derive their existence from provisions contained in a specific legal instrument
  • Hold more narrow mandates: the set of issues codified in the legal instrument
  • Address a limited audience: only those countries that have ratified the legal instrument; and
  • Base their decision-making on consensus. 

Each of the UN's nine core human rights instruments has an assigned treaty body, which is responsible for implementing the treaty or optional protocol and monitoring the compliance of state parties. The monitoring process resembles that used by the Human Rights Council for its Universal Periodic Review, but does vary slightly among treaty bodies. 

After a State ratifies a treaty, it must submit an initial self-assessment of its compliance to the relevant treaty body. The treaty body then solicits feedback and information from relevant NGOs and civil society organizations before issuing a state party report. This process is then repeated on a regular basis. State party reports (country reports) can be located using the Treaty Body Database. Alternatively, these reports can be found on the monitoring body's website (see links in table below). 

Each of these instruments also contains a mechanism for bringing a complaint of violations of provisions of the human rights treaties before the monitoring bodies. The three main procedures are: individual communications, state-to-state complaints, and inquiries. Individual complaints is the most common mechanism, and is authorized in all nine instruments (but has not entered into force in all nine). 

Use the UN's Treaty Body Jurisprudence database to locate decisions on admissibility and on the merits issued by treaty bodies authorized to consider individual complaints against state parties. 

    Date Monitoring Body
ICERD International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 21 Dec 1965 CERD
ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 16 Dec 1966 CCPR
ICESCR International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 16 Dec 1966 CESCR
CEDAW Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women 18 Dec 1979 CEDAW
CAT Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 10 Dec 1984 CAT
CRC Convention on the Rights of the Child 20 Nov 1989 CRC
ICMW International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families 18 Dec 1990 CMW
CPED International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 20 Dec 2006 CED
CRPD Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 13 Dec 2006 CRPD
ICESCR-OP Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 10 Dec 2008 CESCR
ICCPR-OP1 Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 16 Dec 1966 CCPR
ICCPR-OP2 Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty 15 Dec 1989 CCPR
OP-CEDAW Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women 10 Dec 1999 CEDAW
OP-CRC-AC Optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict 25 May 2000 CRC
OP-CRC-SC Optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography 25 May 2000 CRC
OP-CRC-IC Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure 14 Apr 2014 CRC
OP-CAT Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 18 Dec 2002 SPT
OP-CRPD Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 12 Dec 2006 CRPD
 

UN Resources

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