Universal Declaration on Human Rights
The Universal Declaration on Human Rights (the Universal
Declaration) was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1948. Click
What role did Australia play?
Australia was a founding member of the UN and played a
prominent role in the negotiation of the UN Charter in 1945. Australia was also
one of eight nations involved in drafting the Universal Declaration.
This was largely due to the influential leadership of Dr
Herbert Vere Evatt, the head of Australia’s delegation to the UN. In 1948,
Dr HV Evatt became President of the UN General Assembly. That same year he
oversaw the adoption of the Universal Declaration.
Who was Dr HV Evatt?
Dr HV Evatt was a prominent figure in Australia politics
during the middle of the 20th century. Prior to coming to the UN, he
had been a judge of the High Court, Attorney-General and Minister for External
Affairs. Dr HV Evatt was renowned for being a champion of civil liberties and
the rights of economically and socially disadvantaged people.
What is Australia’s current role in
international human rights?
Australia has remained a supporter of human rights
throughout international treaty negotiations. Australia has ratified almost all
of the major international human rights instruments.
Most recently, in 2008, the federal government took a
number of steps towards improving Australia’s protection of human rights,
- ratifying the Convention
on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- holding consultations about ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Optional Protocol
to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT)
- expressing commitment to formally support the Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- issuing a standing invitation to UN human rights experts
to visit and report on Australia.