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History of the United Nations

1981 - 1990

Date Milestones
Nobel Peace Prize
UN High Commissioner for Refugees is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the second time, for its assistance to Asian refugees.
25 November 1981
General Assembly adopts Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
10 December 1982
A fisherman and his fishnet
New UN Convention on the Law of the Sea is signed by 117 States and two entities — the largest number of signatures ever affixed to a treaty on its first day.
December 1984
A humanitarian worker distributes food to children in Africa
Secretary-General Javier Perez De Cuellar sets up a UN Office for Emergency Operations in Africa to help coordinate famine relief efforts.
10 December 1984
General Assembly adopts the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
July 1985
Women at the podium of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the UN Decade for Women
Thousands gather in Nairobi to attend the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the UN Decade for Women, marking the end of the UN Decade for Women.
September 1987
Sun and clouds

Efforts of UNEP lead to the signing of the Treaty on the Protection of the Ozone Layer, known as the Montreal Protocol — a follow-up to the 1985 Vienna Convention on the Ozone Layer.


Nobel Peace Prize
United Nations Peacekeeping Forces are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At the time there were seven peacekeeping or observer missions in operation.
April 1989
A woman casts casts her ballot at the polling station at Odangwa in Ovamboland.
The UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) is deployed throughout Namibia to monitor South Africa's withdrawal and provide electoral assistance.

Elections were held in November 1989; Namibia becomes independent on 21 March 1990.
2 September 1990
Convention on the Rights of the Child comes into force.
29 - 30 September 1990
UNICEF convenes the World Summit for Children, attended by 71 Heads of State and Government. A Plan of Action is adopted.

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