United Nations Human Rights System

  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

  3. International Covenant on Economic and Cultural Rights

  4. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

  5. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

  6. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 

  7. Soft Law (guidelines, declarations, or principles)

  8. International Mechanisms

  9. Special Procedures

 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Relevant Provision(s):

Article 19:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Place/Date of Conclusion: Paris, 10 December 1948
Legal Citation: Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 Dec. 1948), U.N.G.A. Res. 217 A (III) (1948).

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Relevant Provision(s):

 Article 19:
  • Paragraph 1:
    Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
  • Paragraph 2:
    Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
  • Paragraph 3:
    The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
Article 20:
  • Paragraph 1:
    Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.
  • Paragraph 2:
    Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

Place/Date of Conclusion: New York, 16 December 1966
Entry into Force: 23 March 1976
Status: Signatories: (74) Parties: (168)
Legal Citation: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (New York, 16 Dec. 1966) 999 U.N.T.S. 171 and 1057 U.N.T.S. 407, entered into force 23 Mar.1976.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Relevant Provision(s):

Article 1:
  • Paragraph 1:
    All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
Article 2:
  • Paragraph 2:
    The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to guarantee that the rights enunciated in the present Covenant will be exercised without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Place/Date of Conclusion: New York, 16 December 1966
Entry into Force: 03 January 1976
Status: Signatories: (70) Parties: (164)
Legal Citation: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (New York, 16 Dec. 1966) 993 U.N.T.S. 3, entered into force 3 Jan. 1976.

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Relevant Provision(s):

Article 5:
  • States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: . . . (vii) The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; (viii) The right to freedom of opinion and expression . . .

Place/Date of Conclusion: New York, 07 March 1966
Entry into Force: 04 January 1969
Status: Signatories: (87) Parties: (177)
Legal Citation: International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (New York, 7 Mar. 1966) 660 U.N.T.S. 195, 5 I.L.M. 352 (1966), entered into force 4 Jan. 1969.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Relevant Provision(s):

Article 3:
  • States Parties shall take in all fields, in particular in the political, social, economic and cultural fields, all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men.

Place/Date of Conclusion: New York, 18 December 1979
Entry into Force: 03 September 1981
Status: Signatories: (99) Parties: (189)
Legal Citation: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (New York, 18 Dec. 1979) 1249 U.N.T.S. 13, 19 I.L.M. 33 (1980), entered into force 3 Sept. 1981.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 

Relevant Provision(s):

Article 21:

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and through all forms of communication of their choice, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, including by:

(a) Providing information intended for the general public to persons with disabilities in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost;

(b) Accepting and facilitating the use of sign languages, Braille, augmentative and alternative communication, and all other accessible means, modes and formats of communication of their choice by persons with disabilities in official interactions;

(c) Urging private entities that provide services to the general public, including through the Internet, to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities;

(d) Encouraging the mass media, including providers of information through the Internet, to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities;

(e) Recognizing and promoting the use of sign languages.

Place/Date of Conclusion: New York, 13 December 2006
Entry into Force: 03 May 2008
Status: Signatories: (159) Parties: (155)
Legal Citation: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (New York, 13 Dec. 2006) 2515 U.N.T.S. 3, entered into force 3 May 2008.

Soft Law (guidelines, declarations, or principles)

International Mechanisms

1. Charter-based Mechanisms

2. Treaty-based Mechanisms

Special Proceedures