Every year on the 10th of December, the world marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which was adopted on December 10 1948 in Paris. It was the world’s first clear expression of the need to protect the rights of every human and it came on the heels of the atrocities perpetrated during World War II.

Thanks to @iamashiwel for the design

Ever since then, treaties, protocols, declarations and other legal instruments have been enacted, promoted and brought into force. The United Nations has especially touted the need for a free and just world where everyone is equal.

Below is a list of some key mandates or legal instruments set up by the UN between the year 2000 and now:


April 17, 2000

Mandate on the right to food is established


April 26, 2000

Mandate on the situation of human rights defenders is established


December 22, 2000

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Discrimination against Women enters into force


April 24, 2001

Mandate on the rights of indigenous peoples is established


January 18, 2002

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography enters into force


February 12, 2002

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict enters into force


April 20, 2002

Mandate on the right to health is established


July 1, 2002

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court enters into force


April 19, 2004

Mandate on trafficking in persons, especially in women and children is established


April 20, 2005

Mandate on business and human rights is established


June 22, 2006

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment enters into force


September 13, 2007

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is adopted


March 28, 2008

Mandate on human rights and water and sanitation is established


September 30, 2010

Mandate on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association is established


May 5, 2013

Optional Protocol to Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights enters into force


We now share with you a video which highlights major events that shaped the human rights sphere over the past two decades: from South Africa's victory over the apartheid regime, to September 11, the Arab Spring and so much more

1 Comment