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Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Drafting History

Commission on Human Rights - 2nd Session

Commission of Human Rights of the United Nations Economic and Social Council  At portion of table during the first meeting of the Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations Economic and Social Council are: left to right: Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, United States, chairman; Prof. John P. Humphrey, Canada, Director of the Division of Human Rights of the UN Department of Social Affairs and Secretary of the Commission; Dr. Charles Malik, Lebanon, Rapporteur; Charles Dukes, United Kingdom; Valentin F. Topliakov, USSR, and General Carlos P. Romulo, Philippine Republic. (27 January 1947 United Nations, Lake Success, New York)

Commission on Human Rights,  2nd Session
2 December - 10 December 1947

During the second session of the Commission on Human Rights the concept of an international bill of human rights comprised of three parts, a declaration, a convention and measures for implementation. Discussions revealed that many Member States were ready to accept a draft declaration if it would precede, and not replace, a convention. At its 29th meeting on 8 December 1947 (E/CN.4/SR.29), the Commission set up three separate working groups to consider, respectively, the Declaration, the Convention or Conventions, and the Implementation aspects.

These Working Groups submitted their reports to the Commission on Human Rights as documents: E/CN.4/56, Working Party on an International Convention on Human Rights; E/CN.4/57 and E/CN.4/57/Add.1, Working Group on the Declaration on Human Rights; E/CN.4/53, Working Group on Implementation. The report of the second session is contained in document E/600. Its Annex A, Part I, contains Draft Articles for the International Declaration of Human Rights and Annex A, Part II, contains Comments on the Draft articles.

As noted in paragraph 13 of the Commission's report on its 2nd session (E/600): Taking into consideration the necessity for the Drafting Committee to be fully informed of the replies from Governments before its next meeting on 3 May 1948, the Commission requested the Secretary-General:

(a) to transmit this report to the Governments during the first week of January 1948;

(b) to fix the date of 3 April 1948 as the time limit for the reception of replies from Governments on the draft International Bill of Human Rights; and

(c) to circulate these replies to the members of the Commission as soon as they are received.


Meeting Records

Reports and Actions