The UN Human Rights Framework
The member states of the United Nations draft human rights treaties known as Conventions. This means states voluntarily make their own international obligations. Once a Convention is drafted it is then up to the states to ratify it within their own system. This means that they are required to comply with the treaty Articles.
The Articles contained within the Conventions set the international standard, while leaving individual states to implement the standards according to their own legal and policy processes.
Some states incorporate the Conventions into their legal systems.
So far, the UK, has incorporated one international Convention into its legal systems - the European Convention of Human Rights, through the Human Rights Act 1998.
UN Human Rights Treaties
These are the nine core human rights treaties developed by the UN. The UK has ratified the first seven.
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
- Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
- Convention against Torture (CAT)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- Convention on the Rights of Migrants and their Families (ICMW)
- Convention on the Protection of All Persons for Enforced Disappearance (CPED)
The United Kingdom is reviewed regularly for its compliance with most of these treaties by UN Committees of special experts.
Every four to five years, the United Kingdom is subject to Universal Periodic Review (UPR). This process means the UK's compliance with all treaties is reviewed by other countries based on international human rights standards. This happens at the UN Human Rights Council based in Geneva.
Find out more about the Commission's treaty monitoring work.
We the Peoples of the United Nations, determined to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small...United Nations Charter