Learn About Human Rights
This section contains links to a variety of important human rights documents. In the Primary Documents section, you will find the Charter of the United Nations, and a variety of other core international human rights instruments. There is also a selection of regional human rights instruments from Africa, Europe and the Americas.
The Document Archives section contains links to some of the most comprehensive online archives, including the UN treaty collection in the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and the University of Minnesota Human Rights Library.
Includes the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other core global and regional international human rights instruments.
Core International Human Rights Documents
In addition to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are seven core international human rights treaties. Each of these treaties has established a committee of experts to monitor implementation of the treaty provisions by its States parties. Some of the treaties are supplemented by optional protocols dealing with specific concerns.
- Charter of the United Nations
- The International Bill of Human Rights
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
- International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
Regional Human Rights Documents
In addition to the core human rights treaties that apply worldwide, the African Union, the Organization of American States, and the Council of Europe have all implemented human rights treaties that apply to countries within their region. A non-exhaustive list follows.
- African Charter on Human and People's Rights
- Protocol establishing an African court on human and people's rights
- Protocol on the rights of women in Africa
- African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
- American Convention on Human Rights
- Additional Protocol in the area of economic, social and cultural rights
- Protocol to abolish the death penalty
- Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture
- Inter-American Convention on International Traffic in Minors
- European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- European Social Charter (revised 1996)
- Protocol extending the protection of social and economic rights
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
- Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings
Other Universal Human Rights Documents
In addition to the International Bill of Rights and the core human rights treaties, there are many other universal instruments relating to human rights. In addition to the ones lsited below, a sizable though non-exhaustive selection can be found at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Links to online document archives including the United Nations Treaty Collection and the documentary collections of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States, the African Union, and a comprehensive archive maintained by the University of Minnesota.
- Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Country status pages have information about a country's status of ratification for various human rights instruments, its reporting status, and any special procedures, as well as the most recent concluding observations from the human rights treaty committees.
- UN Treaty Collection
- African Union
- Council of Europe
- Organization of American States
- University of Minnesota Human Rights Library