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Following the Second World War and the horrific experiences of that struggle, many nations set to creating the United Nations. The original Charter of the United Nations contained a general statement on human rights. The need for a more detailed and substantial statement on human rights was seen and a Commission was established to create such a document. This commission wrote the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (drafted largely by a Canadian)which was adopted by General Assembly of the United Nation on December 10, 1948. This document was described as humanity's response to the death camps of the Nazis, the countless refugees and the tortured prisoners-of-war. In 1966 the United Nations adopted two further documents on human rights: the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These covenants contain many of the rights asserted in the Universal Declaration but they differ in that they are legally binding on those nations signing the covenants. The first of these covenants declares that everyone has the right to: life; freedom of thought; equal treatment in the courts; freedom of assembly; and no one shall be subject to torture, slavery or forced labour. The second declares that everyone has the right to: the enjoyment of just and favorable work conditions; to form trade unions; an adequate standard of living; education; and to take part in cultural life and enjoy the progress of science. In 1989 a third covenant was added, the Convention of the Rights of the Child. These four documents together comprise what is call the International Bill of Rights.

Last updated 2002--0-9-

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Athabaca University ICAAP

© Robert Drislane, Ph.D. and Gary Parkinson, Ph.D.
The online version of this dictionary is a product of
Athabasca University and

*This social science dictionary has 1000
entries covering the disciplines of sociology, criminology, political
science and women's study with a commitment to Canadian examples and
events and names