Probably the most important document that was approved to protect human rights is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration, as it's commonly known, was signed in 1948 in the framework of the UN. This Declaration showed the commitment of all members of the UN to promote and protect all human rights for everybody. It constitutes the fist step on the universal protection of human rights.
Additionally, there are 9 human rights treaties, which are considered the main instruments that protect human rights. As treaties, these are binding obligations for those countries that sign them. These treaties are special because they have a number of rights that they protect. They also create a body, called a Committee, composed by independent experts that are in charge of making sure that States Parties (signatories of the treaty) comply with their obligations. States Parties have to send periodic reports to each of these Committees, showing the laws and public policy that they have implemented so far to make the treaty a reality in their country. They also explain the challenges and obstacles they face in the implementation. This dialogue also involves civil society becoming a good tool to create bridges between the different actors that work to improve human rights in each country. IF the State Party has accepted that mechanisms, cases can also be brought before these Committees.
These treaties bodies, and they respective treaties, are:
- Human Rights Committee (CCPR) monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)
- Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) monitors implementation of the
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)
- Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965)
- Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979)
- Committee against Torture (CAT) monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984)
- Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)
- Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (1990)
- Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) monitors implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006)
- Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) monitors implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (2006)
The treaty bodies meet in Geneva, Switzerland. All the treaty bodies receive support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Ms. Michelle Bachelet from Chile, is the Current High Commissioner.
Is your country part these treaties? Find our here: http://indicators.ohchr.org/