International Bill of Human Rights | Wikipedia audio article
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International Bill of Human Rights | Wikipedia audio article

October 14, 2019


The International Bill of Human Rights was
the name given to UN General Assembly Resolution 217 (III) and two international treaties established
by the United Nations. It consists of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (adopted in 1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR,
1966) with its two Optional Protocols and the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1966). The two covenants entered into force in 1976,
after a sufficient number of countries had ratified them. In the beginning, different views were expressed
about the form the bill of rights should take. In 1948, General Assembly planned the bill
to include UDHR, one Covenant and measures of implementation. The Drafting Committee decided to prepare
two documents: one in the form of a declaration, which would set forth general principles or
standards of human rights; the other in the form of a convention, which would define specific
rights and their limitations. Accordingly, the Committee transmitted to
the Commission on Human Rights draft articles of an international declaration and an international
conventions on human rights. At its second session, in December 1947, the
Commission decided to apply the term “International Bill of Human Rights” to the series of documents
in preparation and established three working groups: one on the declaration, one on the
convention (which it renamed “covenant”) and one on implementation. The Commission revised the draft declaration
at its third session, in May/June 1948, taking into consideration comments received from
Governments. It did not have time, however, to consider
the covenant or the question of implementation. The declaration was therefore submitted through
the United Nations Economic and Social Council to the General Assembly, meeting in Paris. Later the draft covenant was divided in two
(decided by the General Assembly in 1952), differing with both catalogue of rights and
degree of obligations – for example, the ICESCR refers to the “progressive realisation”
of the rights it contains. In 1998 it was hailed as “A Magna Carta for
all humanity

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