Home page > Understand > Timeline

[English] [français]

Timeline

26 June 1945
Founding of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice at the San Francisco Conference

21 June 1946
Establishment of the Human Rights Commission, until 2006 the main United Nations human rights body

9 December 1948
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, whose architect and chief author is Raphael Lemkin, an American lawyer of Polish/Jewish descent who first coins the term "genocide" in the latter years of World War II

10 December 1948
The General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Modelled directly on the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, the Universal Declaration sets out the basic rights of the individual and the recognition of and respect for those rights under the law

12 August 1949
The Geneva Conventions define the rules governing protection for persons in armed conflict, especially troops from certain actions, the wounded and prisoners of war, together with civilians and their property. Article 3 states that (…)

3 September 1953
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms seeks to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms by providing for judicial scrutiny of respect for these individual rights

1955
The UN adopts the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners on the living conditions and treatment of prisoners

1959
Creation of the European Court of Human Rights, a supranational court responsible for ensuring compliance with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

16 December 1966
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, composed of five parts relating to the right of peoples to self-determination, the equal right of men and women to enjoy the rights set forth in the Covenant, the right to work, the right to just and favourable conditions of work, the right to join a trade union, the right to strike, the right to social security, and so forth
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which, inter alia, sets up the Human Rights Committee
The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for a mechanism to pursue complaints relating to violations of the Covenant by a State Party

22 November 1969
The American Convention on Human Rights (also known as the Pact of San JosÚ), an inter-American agreement signed by 21 of the 31 member states of the Organization of American States (OAS), guaranteeing 22 fundamental civil and political rights and freedoms and containing a federal clause enabling federal states to take on more limited obligations than unitary states

29 February 1980
The Human Rights Commission establishes a working group of five independent experts to investigate issues around cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances and to gather the information required to locate people who have disappeared through dialogue with the governments concerned and the families of the victims

27 June 1981
Adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, providing inter alia for the establishment of an African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)

10 December 1984
Adoption of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which requires the States Parties to take specific measures to prevent torture within their borders, forbids them to send persons back to their country of origin if they face being tortured and provides for the establishment of a Committee against Torture

1985
The post of Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is created

26 November 1987
The European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the Council of Europe, which establishes European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

15 December 1989
The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, presented as a universal instrument specifically banning the death penalty "in all circumstances" – i.e. also in wartime

1991
The UN establishes a Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to help victims of arbitrary arrest and their parents by submitting individual cases to the government concerned

18 December 1992
The General Assembly issues the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, marking the commencement of work to draw up a convention

9 June 1994
The General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) adopts the Inter-American Convention on Enforced Disappearance of Persons

17 July 1998
Adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), defining the powers and obligations of the ICC, an independent body of the UN Security Council

1998
Adoption of EU guidelines on the death penalty, specifically designed to promote the protection of human rights in the EU’s relations with the rest of the world

2001
Adoption of EU guidelines on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment, reflecting the EU’s strong political commitment to prevent and eradicate the use of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment worldwide

1 July 2002
Entry into force of the International Criminal Court, a permanent court with the mandate to try persons accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes

October 2002
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopts the Guidelines and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa, commonly referred to as the "Robben Island Guidelines"

18 December 2002
The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, dealing with how the Subcommittee on Prevention is organised and how enforcement is monitored

May-June 2004
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights establishes the Follow-up Committee on the implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines

May 2005
Establishment of the Working Group on Death Penalty in Africa of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights

15 March 2006
Establishment of the United Nations Human Rights Council to replace the Human Rights Commission, one of the main changes being the introduction of a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism with regard to human rights in all countries

20 December 2006
Adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance which, inter alia, obliges States parties to make enforced disappearance a criminal offence and establishes the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, a monitoring body with investigatory powers

November 2009
Establishment of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to succeed the Follow-up Committee on the implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines

23 December 2010
Entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, following its twentieth ratification

About us
Our team
ACAT Network
Statutes
Finances
Understand
Torture
The death Penalty
Enforced Disappearances
International Criminal Justice
International organizations
Position of Churches
Timeline
Table of Ratification by country
Act
Before International Forums
With Coalitions
Representation before the Churches
Training sessions
How to get involved?
Get informed
Annual reports
Reports
"FIACAT.News" liaison bulletin
Resources
Theological ressources
Links
Media

Contact Links
FIACAT - 27, rue de Maubeuge - 75009 Paris — France - TÚl.: +33 (0)1 42 80 01 60 -