Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998)

Editor’s Note:   This declaration was adopted in 1998 in Geneva, at the 86th session of the International Labor Conference, the declaration of the International Labor Organization — a United Nations agency that focuses on labor issues and that received in 1969 the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to achieve social and economic just […]

Universal Declaration of Non-Violence (1990)

Editor’s note: The genesis of this declaration was a series of conversations between the Dalai Lama and Bro. Wayne Teasdale, a Catholic monk and noted author and social justice activist. Over time, as the late Bro. Teasdale describes it, they “examined the possibility of a statement formally separating religion from any relationship with organized violence, […]

Declaration of Montréal on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Human Rights (2006)

Editor’s Note: This declaration was approved on July 29, 2006 at the International Conference, the largest ever gathering, on LGBT Human Rights in Montreal. It is described by organizers as a conference “attended by 1500 people from more than hundred countries in the world.” The declaration itself “was drafted by the Co-Presidents of the Conference…and unanimously […]

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2009)

Editor’s Note: On September 13, 2007, this ground-breaking declaration was approved by the UN General Assembly, with 144 states voting in favor, with four — the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia, which have large indigenous populations — voting against, and with 11 states abstaining. Australia endorsed the document, which is not legally binding, on […]

Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, 1928

Editor’s Note: A precursor to the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, this 1928 document was adapted by the members of the League of Nations. It is unprecedented in that it sets forth for the first time in a formal international accord that children have rights and that adults have responsibilities towards assuring […]

Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

Editor’s Note:  This convention, a binding treaty endorsed by 176 nations (referred to in this document as “state parties”), was adopted by the UN General Assembly on the 30th anniversary of 1959 UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Convention on the Rights of the Child U.N. General Assembly (12 December 1989) with AnnexThe General […]

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Editor’s Note: Adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was crafted in less than two years’ time — an amazing feat, especially given how divided among Eastern and Western factions the world was at the time as it emerged from World War II. Yet uncommon common […]

Palestinian Declaration of Independence (1988)

Editor’s note:  Composed by poet Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian Declaration of Independence was approved at an Algiers gathering of the Palestinian National Council on November 15, 1988. The declaration calls for an independent State of Palestine, which is described in the document as “the state of Palestinians wherever they may be.” Declaration of Independence (1988) (UN Doc) […]

Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (1960)

Editor’s Note: Adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 14, 1960, this declaration was largely considered a watershed in the movement towards the end of colonialism.  Eighty nine member states voted to approve the declaration; none opposed it, though there were nine abstentions, including the U.S. Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries […]

Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959)

Editor’s Note: Approved by all 78 member states of the United Nations, this declaration is a first in the formal global agreement on children’s rights and the principles on which they are based. This declaration is a follow-on to the unprecedented 1924 declaration by the League of Nations (see image) endowing children the world over with […]