United Nations Landmarks in Human Rights
A Brief Chronology

26 June 1945 - Signing of the Charter of the United Nations and Statute of the International Court of Justice, in San Francisco.

21 June 1946 - The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) establishes the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on the Status of Women.

9 December 1948 - The General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (entered into force 1951).

10 December 1948 - The General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

12 August 1949 - The Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of International Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War adopts four Geneva Conventions, relating to the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded and Sick Members of Armed Forces in the Field and at Sea, the Treatment of Prisoners of War and the Protection of Civilians in Wartime (into force 1950).

20 December 1952 - The General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Political Rights of Women (into force 1954).

1 August 1956 - ECOSOC calls for periodic reports (every three years) on human rights and studies of specific rights or groups of rights. This resolution represents the first call for reports from Member States, and was a precursor to the reporting requirements contained in the many subsequent human rights covenants.

20 November 1959 - The General Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (see also 20 November 1989).

21 December 1965 - The General Assembly adopts the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (into force 1969). This Convention provides for the establishment of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

16 December 1966 - The General Assembly adopts the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (into force 3 January 1976) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights with an Optional Protocol (into force 23 March 1976). This Covenant provides for the establishment of the Human Rights Committee (see also 28 May 1985).

6 June 1967 - ECOSOC adopts resolution 1235 (XLII), authorizing the Commission on Human Rights and the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to examine information relevant to gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

7 November 1967 - The General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

13 May 1968 - The International Conference on Human Rights adopts the Proclamation of Tehran.

26 November 1968 - The General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes against Humanity (into force 1970).

11 December 1969 - The General Assembly adopts the Declaration on Social Progress and Development.

30 November 1973 - The General Assembly adopts the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (into force 1976).

9 December 1975 - The General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

23 March 1976 - With entry into force of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 10 years after being originally opened for signature (see 16 December 1966), the International Bill of Human Rights becomes a reality (see also 10 December 1948).

18 December 1979 - The General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (into force 1981). The Convention provides for the establishment of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

25 November 1981 - The General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

10 December 1984 - The General Assembly adopts the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (into force 1987). The Convention provides for the establishment of the Committee against Torture.

28 May 1985 - ECOSOC establishes the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, responsible for monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

4 December 1986 - The General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Right to Development.

9 December 1988 - The General Assembly adopts the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.

24 May 1989 - ECOSOC adopts the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extralegal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions.

20 November 1989 - The General Assembly adopts the Convention on the Rights of the Child (into force 1990). The Convention provides for the establishment of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

18 December 1990 - The General Assembly adopts the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

18 December 1992 - The General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

25 May 1993 - The Security Council adopts resolution 827 (1993), establishing an International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, with its seat at The Hague in the Netherlands.

25 June 1993 - The World Conference on Human Rights adopts the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

20 December 1993 - The General Assembly adopts resolution 48/141, establishing the post of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

5 April 1994 - Mr. José Ayala Lasso of Ecuador assumes the post of first United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

8 November 1994 - The Security Council adopts resolution 955 (1994), establishing an International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Crimes against Humanitarian Law Committed in Rwanda during 1994, with its seat in Arusha, Tanzania.

23 December 1994 - The General Assembly proclaims the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004).

12 September 1997 - Ms. Mary Robinson of Ireland becomes the second United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

17 July 1998 - The Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries adopts the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, establishing the International Criminal Court, with its seat at The Hague.