Democratic Security Sector Governance

International legislation on Human Rights, also called the International Human Rights Law, is formed by a series of legal documents, treaties, and conventions which are accompanied and expanded by protocols, guidance, declarations, and recommendations and are adopted on an international level. There are also legal tools that are adopted on a regional level. Additionally, International Human Rights Law is often reflected and reinforced in national legislations and constitutions.

States that are parties to Human Rights Treaties are obliged to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. States that have ratified Human Rights Treaties are obliged to adapt their national legal systems in order to implement, respect, and protect human rights on a local level.

Moreover, there are regional and international complaints mechanisms accessible to states, groups, and individuals that complement the International Human Rights Law system and ensure its efficiency. Such as:

National complaints mechanisms often take the form of Ombudsman Institutions, Human Rights Defenders, National Human Rights Institutions and Human Rights Committees.

law-symbol-of-chapiter-of-a-columnFUNDAMENTAL LEGISLATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

The fundamental international legislative document on Human Rights is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved in December 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly.

Charter of the United Nations outlines the basic principles of human rights law in its preamble and articles 1, 55, and 56.


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is included in The International Bill of Human Rights, which also includes:

The International Bill of Human Rights constitutes the core legal foundation for human rights protection worldwide. Since its establishment, the International Bill of Human Rights has been expanded and developed further via additional HR legal instruments and their respective protocols.



In addition to the International Bill of Human Rights and the accompanying treaties and legal instruments stated above, there is a multitude of other legal tools that support the protection of Human Rights worldwide. These are listed below as they appear on the Office Of The United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights’ (OHCHR) web portal on Universal Human Rights Instruments.

earth-gridWorld Conference on Human Rights and Millennium Assembly

directional frrpkThe Right of Self-Determination

multiple-users-silhouetteRights of Indigenous Peoples and Minorities

stopPrevention of Discrimination

women-symbolRights of Women

medical-insurance FREEPIKRights of the Child

elderly-couple-silhouettes-with-canesRights of Older Persons

disabledRights of Persons with Disabilities

pair-of-handcuffsHuman Rights in the Administration of Justice: Protection of Persons Subjected to Detention or Imprisonment

the-atomSocial Welfare, Progress and Development

hand-holding-a-stalk freepikPromotion and Protection of Human Rights

icon freepikMarriage

child-with-umbrella freepikRight to Health

file by Gregor CresnarRight to Work and Fair Conditions of Employment

group freepik (2)Freedom of Association

ball-and-chain FREEPIKSlavery, Slavery-Like Practices and Forced Labour

group FREEPIKRights of Migrants

control freepikNationality, Statelessness, Asylum, and Refugees

voluntary-serviceWar Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, Including Genocide

familiar-insurance-symbol freepikHumanitarian Law


In addition to international legislation on Human Rights listed above, there are regional legal initiatives to protect Human Rights and reinforce the implementation of international law on a regional level.

Examples of Regional Legislation on Human Rights:

world-search-interface-symbol-of-earth-under-a-magnifier-tool freepikINTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS

Key links and resources:

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Rights Info

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Youth for Human Rights

United for Human Rights

[1] See Rights Info.

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