International Bill of Human Rights

The International Bill of Human Rights consists of:
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its two Optional Protocols.

The ICESCR focuses on food, education, health and shelter. The ICCPR focuses on issues such as the right to life, freedom of speech, religion and voting.  Both covenants proclaim these rights for all people and forbid discrimination.

In addition to the covenants in the International Bill of Human Rights, the United Nations has adopted more than twenty principal treaties further elaborating human rights. These include conventions to prevent and prohibit specific abuses such as torture and genocide and to protect specific vulnerable populations such as refugees (Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951), women (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1979), and children (Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989). Other conventions cover racial discrimination, prevention of genocide, political rights of women, prohibition of slavery and torture.

Each of these treaties has established a committee of experts to monitor implementation of the treaty provisions by its State parties.