Universal Human Rights Instruments By Category


In addition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the nine core human rights treaties, there are many other universal instruments relating to human rights. Some of these are provided below. The legal status of these instruments varies: declarations, principles, guidelines, standard rules and recommendations have no binding legal effect, but such instruments have an undeniable moral force and provide practical guidance to States in their conduct; covenants, statutes, protocols and conventions are legally-binding for those States that ratify or accede to them.


The Rights of Women

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women [Word]   [PDF]

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [Word]  [PDF]

Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women [Word]   [PDF]

Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict [Word]   [PDF]

Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women [Word]   [PDF]

Convention on the Political Rights of Women [Word]   [PDF]

Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others [Word]  [PDF]

Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime [Word]   [PDF]

Maternity Protection Convention [Word]   [PDF]

Convention on the Nationality of Married Women [Word]  [PDF]


The Rights of People with Disabilities

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [Word]  [PDF]

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities [Word]  [PDF]

Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons [Word]  [PDF]

Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons [Word]  [PDF]

Principles for the protection of persons with mental illness and the improvement of mental health care [Word]  [PDF]

Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities [Word]  [PDF]

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention C159 [Word]  [PDF]

World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons [Word] [PDF]

Tallinn Guidelines for Action on Human Resources Development in the Field of Disability [Word] [PDF]


The Rights of the Child

Convention on the Rights of the Child [Word] [PDF]

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict [Word] [PDF]

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography [Word] [PDF]

Declaration of the Rights of the Child [Word] [PDF]

Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) [Word] [PDF]

Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) [Word] [PDF]

Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime [Word] [PDF]


The Rights of Older Persons

United Nations Principles for Older Persons [Word Version] [PDF Version]


The Rights of Indigenous Peoples & Minorities

Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169) [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities [Word] [PDF]


Prevention of Discrimination

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination [Word] [PDF]

United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination [Word] [PDF]

Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100) [Word] [PDF]

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111) [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice [Word] [PDF]

Convention against Discrimination in Education [Word] [PDF]

Protocol Instituting a Conciliation and Good Offices Commission to be responsible for seeking a settlement of any disputes which may arise between States Parties to the Convention against Discrimination in Education [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief [Word] [PDF]

International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid [Word] [PDF]

International Convention against Apartheid in Sports [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on Fundamental Principles concerning the Contribution of the Mass Media to Strengthening Peace and International Understanding, to the Promotion of Human Rights and to Countering Racialism, Apartheid and Incitement to War [Word] [PDF]

World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (Durban Declaration and Programme of Action) [Word] [PDF]


The Rights of Migrants

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families [Word] [PDF]

Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime [Word] [PDF]


Social Welfare, Progress & Development

Declaration on Social Progress and Development [Word] [PDF]

Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on the Use of Scientific and Technological Progress in the Interests of Peace and for the Benefit of Mankind [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on the Right to Development [Word] [PDF]

Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights [Word] [PDF]

Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity [Word] [PDF]

Guidelines for the Regulation of Computerized Personal Data Files [Word] [PDF]


Freedom of Association

Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87) [Word] [PDF ]

Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98) [Word] [PDF]

Worker’s Representatives Convention Convention (No. 135) [Word] [PDF]

Labour Relations (Public Service) Convention (No. 151) [Word] [PDF]


Right to Work and Fair Conditions of Employment

Employment Policy Convention [Word] [PDF]

Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention (No. 187) [Word] [PDF]

Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100) [Word] [PDF]

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111) [Word] [PDF]

Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98) [Word] [PDF]

Convention concerning Employment Promotion and Protection against Unemployment (No. 168) [Word] [PDF]

Maternity Protection Convention [Word] [PDF]


Marriage, Family & Youth

Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages [Word] [PDF]

Recommendation on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on the Promotion among Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding between Peoples [Word] [PDF]


Right to Health

Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS [Word] [PDF]


Nationality, statelessness, asylum and refugees

Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness [Word] [PDF]

Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons [Word] [PDF]

Convention relating to the Status of Refugees [Word] [PDF]

Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on the Human Rights of Individuals Who are not Nationals of the Country in which They Live [Word] [PDF]

Convention on the Nationality of Married Women [Word] [PDF]

Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on Territorial Asylum [Word] [PDF]


Slavery, Slavery-Like Practices and Forced Labour

Slavery Convention [Word] [PDF]

Protocol amending the Slavery Convention signed at Geneva on 25 September 1926 [Word] [PDF]

Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery [Word] [PDF]

Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) [Word] [PDF]

Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105) [Word] [PDF]

Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others [Word] [PDF]

Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime [Word] [PDF]


Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

Principles relating to the status of national institutions (The Paris Principles) [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [Word] [PDF]


Freedom of Information

Convention on the International Right of Correction [Word] [PDF]


Right to enjoy culture, international cultural development and co-operation

Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Co-operation [Word] [PDF]

Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [Word] [PDF]


Human rights in the administration of justice

Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners [Word] [PDF]

Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners [Word] [PDF]

Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment [Word] [PDF]

United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [Word] [PDF]

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [Word] [PDF]

Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [Word] [PDF]

Principles on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [Word] [PDF]

Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment [Word] [PDF]

Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty [Word] [PDF]

Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials [Word] [PDF]

Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials [Word] [PDF]

Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary [Word] [PDF]

Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers [Word] [PDF]

Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law [Word] [PDF]

Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors [Word] [PDF]

United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (The Tokyo Rules) [Word] [PDF]

United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules) [Word] [PDF]

United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (The Riyadh Guidelines) [Word] [PDF]

Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System [Word] [PDF]

Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power [Word] [PDF]

Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions [Word] [PDF]

Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance [Word] [PDF]

Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance [Word] [PDF]

Model Treaty on the Transfer of Proceedings in Criminal Matters [Word] [PDF]

Model Treaty on the Transfer of Supervision of Offenders Who Have Been Conditionally Sentenced or Conditionally Released [Word] [PDF]


The Right of Self-Determination

United Nations Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples [Word] [PDF]

General Assembly resolution 1803 (XVII) of 14 December 1962, “Permanent sovereignty over natural resources” [Word] [PDF]

International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries [Word] [PDF]


War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, Including Genocide

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide [Word] [PDF]

Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity [Word] [PDF]

Principles of international co-operation in the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment of persons guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity [Word] [PDF]

Statute of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [Word] [PDF]

Statute of the International Tribunal for Rwanda [Word] [PDF]

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court [Word] [PDF]


Humanitarian Law

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War [Word] [PDF]

Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War [Word] [PDF]

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I) [Word] [PDF]

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II) [Word] [PDF]

Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field [Word] [PDF]

Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea [Word] [PDF]


World Conference on Human Rights and Millennium Assembly

Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action [Word] [PDF]

United Nations Millennium Declaration [Word] [PDF]

Proclamation of Teheran [Word] [PDF]