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The promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the UN stems directly from the realization by the international community that "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world", and from the resultant pledge of States Members of the United Nations "to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms."

Today, the United Nations works to promote and protect human rights through a variety of approaches. At their request, the UN provides technical assistance to states in the promotion and protection of human rights. Technical cooperation projects are undertaken in specific countries and also at the regional and international levels. Financed mainly by voluntary contributions, technical cooperation is a quickly expanding area of the United Nations Human Rights Program.

Monitoring Implementation of Treaties:

In order to monitor implementation of treaties, six committees established under the principal international human rights treaties are currently in operation. The treaty bodies endeavor to assist states in fulfilling their treaty obligations and to offer suggestions and recommendations for the future.
Three of the treaty bodies (Human Rights Committee, Committee against Torture, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) also address individual complaints of human rights violations by States parties.

Extra-Conventional Mechanisms
& Filing Complaints:

There are also mechanisms outside the treaty framework of the UN (referred to as the extra-conventional mechanisms) that include special reporters appointed by the Commission on Human Rights, working groups, special representatives, and mandates entrusted to the Secretary-General.
Anyone may bring a human rights problem to the attention of the United Nations and thousands of people around the world do so every year.
Treaty-based complaints procedures are operational under the Protocol of international covenants. These procedures are applicable to states parties that have ratified the covenants or have made a declaration under certain articles recognizing the legitimacy of the relevant treaty monitoring body to receive and consider complaints.

Complaints may also be directed to the extra-conventional mechanisms or to the Working Group on Communications of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, which can act with respect to all States.

Some of the activities undertaken by the United Nations in the field of human rights are financed by contributions to voluntary or trust funds. These funds also enable the United Nations to provide financial support to the human rights activities of governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Better Understanding the General Purpose of the United Nations:

Read the Charter of the United Nations

Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights The most basic document of the International Human Rights Regime.
(A must read)

Information concerning the United Nations was gathered from the official United Nations website.

Please visit the United Nations home page for more information about current issues within the organization.

Copyright © Laura Rowe.