The Human Rights Team
by Kathleen Montgomery
LWVUS UN Delegates Human Rights Team is a group of League members from across the country, who are inspired by the League’s history of human rights advocacy to start a fresh dialogue about the impact today of historical UN conventions on the League’s principle of Empowering Voters ~ Defending Democracy. Democratic principles respecting human rights are enshrined in the United Nations conventions we review here. The team is led by UN Observer Jill Follows (VA). Members are CSW63 Delegates Savanna Jackson Mapelli(PA), Kathleen Montgomery(CA), Sheila Denn(NC), Anu Sahai(VA), Susan Sherer(PA), and ErinLeigh Darnley(NY).
Read the Team's Reviews:
- The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the first United Nations convention to set forth aspirational goals for universal and inalienable rights and freedoms afforded to human beings. The convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948, just three years after the founding of the United Nations. This day is celebrated yearly as Human Rights Day. It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is one of the most impactful documents ever written, and women took a leading role in drafting the convention.
- The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) was adopted by the UN General Assembly in March 1966, nearly 20 years after the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Twenty years may seem like a long time but the wait was worth it. The ICCPR went a long way toward strengthening the international human rights movement because it operationalized the philosophies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The ICCPR intends that political and civil rights will be respected strictly and without any reservations by the Member States. The Preamble to the treaty sets forth the ideal of human beings living free and enjoying civil and political rights.
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) comprise the International Bill of Human Rights. The ICESCR was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1966. The rights set out in the ICESCR include labor rights, and the rights to health, education, housing, food, water, social security, the right to work, the right to just and favorable conditions at work, and the right to an adequate standard of living.
- The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. It serves as an International Bill of Rights for Women. CEDAW defines discrimination against women as "...any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.
- The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in the world. In 1989 the UN General Assembly adopted CRC, after having declared that 1979 would be the International Year of the Child. The CRC defines a child as a human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. The CRC establishes the standard of the best interests of the child as the primary consideration in all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by institutions, courts, legislative bodies or administrative authorities.
- The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is intended to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2006, the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21 st century. The CRPD reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. CRPD identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.