South Korean Human Rights Monitor

Treaties and Committees

Daniel Corks August 21, 2014

The UN has passed a large number of treaties related to human rights. These treaties are agreements between countries in international law and are essentially a set of rules that each government promises to follow. These treaties have various names, such as ‘bill’, ‘declaration’, ‘convention’, ‘covenant’, and ‘protocol’, depending on how they were passed and the level of significance they have. The UN collectively refers to them as ‘instruments’.

This page lists the major treaties related to human rights and the committees that are responsible for overseeing them.

Contents

  1. International Bill of Rights
  2. Core Treaties
  3. Areas Covered by Other Treaties

United Nations General Assembly

United Nations General Assembly
Image from Wikipedia

International Bill of Rights

The very core of these treaties is known as the International Bill of Rights, which has three parts.
Further reading: OHCHR – The International Bill of Human Rights (pdf)

  • UDHR – Universal Declaration of Human Rights (English | Korean)
  • ICESCR – International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    • Monitoring body: CESCR – Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • ICCPR – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    • ICCPR-OP1 – Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
    • ICCPR-OP2 – Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty
    • Monitoring body: CCPR – Human Rights Committee

Core Treaties

In additional to the treaties above, various others deal with various areas of human rights, such as rights of the child or disability rights. There are eight that are particularly important, and the table below lists each of them, the extensions (“protocols”) that have been made to them, and the committee in the UN that is responsible for overseeing the treaty.
Further reading: OHCHR – The Core International Human Rights Instruments and their monitoring bodies

  • ICERD – International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
    • Monitoring body: CERD – Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • CEDAW – Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
    • OP-CEDAW – Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
    • Monitoring body: CEDAW – Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
  • CAT – Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
    • OP-CAT – Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
    • Monitoring body: CAT – Committee against Torture
  • CRC – Convention on the Rights of the Child
    • OP-CRC-AC – Optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict
    • OP-CRC-SC – Optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
    • Monitoring body: CRC – Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • ICMW – International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
    • Monitoring body: CMW – Committee on Migrant Workers
  • CPED – International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
    • Monitoring body: CED – Committee on Enforced Disappearance
  • CRPD – Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    • OP-CRPD – Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
    • Monitoring body: CRPD – Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • OP-ICESCR – Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    • Monitoring body: CESCR – Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Areas Covered by Other Treaties

There are still many other human rights treaties. Grouping them by category lets us see what some of the important specific human rights issues are. The full list is available at on the OHCHR’s webpage.
Further reading: OHCHR – Universal Human Rights Instruments

  • Right to self-determination
  • Rights of indigenous peoples and minorities
  • Prevention of discrimination
  • Rights of women
  • Rights of children
  • Rights of older persons
  • Rights of persons with disabilities
  • Rights in the administration of justice
  • Social welfare, progress and development
  • Marriage
  • Right to health
  • Right to work and fair conditions of employment
  • Freedom of association
  • Slavery, slavery-like practices and forced labour
  • Rights of migrants
  • Nationality, statelessness, asylum, refugees
  • War crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide
  • Humanitarian law
  • Armed conflict

Most of the rights treaties that the UN oversees were drafted and passed by the UN itself, but there are a small number which were created before the UN’s formation. These mostly relate to armed conflict.

  • Geneva Conventions of 1864, 1906, 1926, 1949 and the 1977 Protocols
  • Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907

 

About Author

Daniel Corks

Daniel worked as an HRM intern before becoming a research fellow at KHRF and taking on the role of editor on the HRM project. He is currently an assistant professor at Dongshin University. View all posts by Daniel Corks →

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