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Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Drafting History

Drafting Committee - 1st Session

Drafting Committee on International Bill of Rights General view of the Drafting Committee on International Bill of Rights of the Human Rights Commission, taken during its second session on 11 June 1947. At center is Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, USA, Chairman. Third from rights is Dr. Charles Malik of Lebanon, Rapporteur, and fourth from left is Dr. P.C. Chang of China, Vice-Chairman. 11 June 1947 United Nations (Lake Success), New York

Drafting Committee on an International Bill of Human Rights, 1st session
9 June - 25 June 1947
New York

The preliminary draft, prepared by the Secretariat, was presented to the Committee as document E/CN.4/AC.1/3, Draft Outline of International Bill of Rights. This document contains forty-eight articles outlining individual human rights.

The first addendum (E/CN.4/AC.1/3/Add.1) included other documents submitted by the Secretariat for consideration of the Drafting Committee. It consisted of a list of individual rights and observations from members of the Commission of Human Rights. The paper draws relationships with drafts of other international declarations and proposals submitted to the Commission and outlines the relationship between the individual human rights and constitutions of Member States. It finally relates each human right to the proposals submitted from non-governmental organizations.

The second addendum (E/CN.4/AC.1/3/Add.2)  is a listing of the forty-eight proposed articles divided into four chapters:

  • Liberties,
  • Social Rights,
  • Equality
  • General Dispositions.

The United Kingdom proposed a draft International Bill of Human Rights in the form of a legal instrument (E/CN.4/AC.1/4). This proposal was also submitted to the Drafting Committee and the proposal was considered in their discussions.

At this session the Drafting Committee established a temporary working group consisting of the representatives of France (René Cassin), Lebanon (Charles Malik) and the United Kingdom (Geoffrey Wilson) and the Chairman, (Eleanor Roosevelt) (E/CN.4/AC.1/SR.6).

The temporary working group's task was to suggest a logical rearrangement of the articles of the Draft Outline supplied by the Secretariat; to suggest a re-draft of the various articles in the light of the discussions of the Drafting Committee; and to recommend to the Drafting Committee the division of the substance of the articles between a "Manifesto and a Convention". Within the temporary working group, the task of re-drafting a declaration based upon the draft outline of the Secretariat, was given to René Cassin (France).

A report of the Drafting Committee, submitted to the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/21), included drafts for an international declaration on Human Rights (Annex F) and draft articles to be considered for inclusion in a Convention (Annex G), as well as Memorandum on Implementation prepared by the Division of Human Rights at the request of the Drafting Committee (Annex H).


Meeting Records

Reports and Actions