China (later replaced by the People's Republic of China), France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (later replaced by the Russian Federation), the United Kingdom, and the United States — and a majority of the other signatories. As a charter, it is a constituent treaty, and all members are bound by its articles. Furthermore, the Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations. Most countries in the world have now ratified the Charter. One notable exception is the Holy See, which has chosen to remain a permanent observer state and therefore is not a full signatory to the Charter. International Bill of Human Rights The International Bill of Human Rights is an informal name given to two international treaties and one General Assembly resolution established by the United Nations. It consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted in 1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) with its two Optional Protocols and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966). 1 The two covenants entered into force in 1976, after a sufficient number of countries had ratified them. In the beginning, different views were expressed about the form the bill of rights should take. In 1948, General Assembly planned the bill to include UDHR, one Covenant and measures of implementation. The Drafting Committee decided to prepare two documents: one in the form of a declaration, which would set forth general principles or standards of human rights; the other in the form of a convention, which would define specific rights and their limitations. Accordingly, the Committee transmitted to the Commission on Human Rights draft articles of an international declaration and an international convention on human rights. At its second session, in December 1947, the Commission decided to apply the term "International
Page 13 of 24 Bill of Human Rights" to the series of documents in preparation and established three working groups: one on the declaration, one on the convention (which it renamed "covenant") and one on implementation. The Commission revised the draft declaration at its third session, in May/June 1948, taking into consideration comments received from Governments. It did not have time, however, to consider the covenant or the question of implementation. The declaration was therefore submitted through the Economic and Social Council to the General Assembly, meeting in Paris. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.
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