Principal Human Rights Conventions

CONVENTION: Binding agreement between states; used synonymously with TREATY and COVENANT. Conventions are stronger than DECLARATIONS because they are legally binding for governments that have signed them. When the UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY adopts a convention, it creates international norms and standards. Once a convention is adopted by the UN General Assembly, MEMBER STATES can then RATIFY the convention, promising to uphold it. Governments that violate the standards set forth in a convention can then be censured by the UN.

 

·      Convention Concerning Forced or Compulsory Labor, ILO No. 29, 1932

·      Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1949*

·      Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, 1949

·      Four Geneva Conventions on the Protection of Victims of Armed Conflict, 1949*

·      Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951*

·      Slavery Convention of 1926, Amended by Protocol, 1953*

·      European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Eight Protocols, 1950

·      Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, 1961

·      International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1966*

·      Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, 1968

·      Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1976

·      Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1979

·      Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1984*

·      African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 1986

·      Charter for the Organization of American States, 1988*

·      Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989

·      Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and the Members of their Families, 1990

·      Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1991

·      Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Adopted 2000

 

Note: Date refers to the year of adoption by the UN General Assembly or particular regional body.

*Conventions ratified by the United States.