The Universal Human Rights Index (UHRI)

Conferences | Human Rights

A REVIEW IN 1968 AND A HISTORIC CONFERENCE IN 1993

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a foundational document of the United Nations and of international law. Proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations, the Declaration set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. 

Twenty years after that historic document was created, the General Assembly convened, in 1968 in Teheran, an International Conference on Human Rights. The purpose of the conference was to review human rights progress, evaluate the effectiveness of methods used by the UN (especially with respect to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination and the practice of apartheid), and to formulate measures to be taken subsequent to the celebration of the International Year of Human Rights in 1968. The outcome document of the International Conference on Human Rights was its Final Act.

Twenty-five years later, in 1993, the historic World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna produced the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which strengthened the human rights monitoring capacity of the UN system by calling for the establishment of the post of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, supporting the creation of a new mechanism, a Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, recommending the proclamation of an International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, and calling for the universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by 1995.

THE VIENNA DECLARATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION

Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states, among other things, that "Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms". 

The outcome document of the World Conference on Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action  highlighted the importance of incorporating the subject of human rights into education programmes, which, it stated, "should promote understanding, tolerance, peace and friendly relations between the nations and all racial or religious groups".

Following this suggestion the UN General Assembly proclaimed the 10-year period beginning on 1 January 1995 the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education.

A HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

One of the most important results of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights was the establishment of a High Commissioner for Human Rights, a post called for in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and then approved by the UN General Assembly on 20 December 1993.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (also known as United Nations Human Rights) is part of the UN Secretariat, and is the lead UN office for human rights. The work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights  includes the following:

  • Giving priority to addressing the most pressing human rights violations, both acute and chronic, particularly those that put life in imminent peril;
  • Focusing attention on those who are at risk and vulnerable on multiple fronts;
  • Paying equal attention to the realization of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights, including the right to development;
  • Measuring the impact of its work through the substantive benefit that is accrued, through it, to individuals around the world.

Operationally, OHCHR works with governments, legislatures, courts, national institutions, civil society, regional and international organizations, and the United Nations system to develop and strengthen capacity, particularly at the national level, for the protection of human rights in accordance with international norms.

Institutionally, OHCHR is committed to strengthening the United Nations human rights programme and to providing it with the highest quality support. OHCHR is committed to working closely with its United Nations partners to ensure that human rights form the bedrock of the work of the United Nations.

Four Iraqi children. A boy in the foreground. Another boy is at left. Two girls are at right.

The Universal Human Rights Index (UHRI), an online search portal available in all six official languages of the United Nations, provides easy access to country-specific human rights information emanating from international human rights mechanisms of the United Nations system.

A central repository of human rights information, the UHRI aims at raising awareness of the human rights recommendations coming from these mechanisms and at assisting States, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, and UN partners with their implementation. The Index allows the user to find out about human rights issues worldwide, and to see how the legal interpretation of international human rights law has evolved over the past years.

The unique feature of the Index is to enable the user to access and search Treaty Body, Special Procedure and UPR recommendations through several categories: State, right, body, affected person and, for the UPR, the State that made the recommendation, the position of the State under Review, and the session.

The tool allows you to explore over 170,000 observations and recommendations made by the international human rights protection system by facilitating access to human rights recommendations issued by three key pillars of the UN human rights monitoring system: the treaty bodies established under the international human rights treaties; Special Procedures; and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council.

Users can produce overviews of recommendations by region, country, human rights themes, concerned groups and by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, as well as to perform text searches and advanced searches by using filters.