In 1959, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which proclaims that every child, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status, whether of the child or of the child's family, shall enjoy special protection and be given opportunities and facilities to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. Every child shall be entitled from birth to a name and nationality and shall enjoy the benefits of social security. The child who is physically, mentally, or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education, and care required by his or her particular condition. Every child is entitled to receive education that shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. Every child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty, and exploitation and from practices that may foster racial, religious, or any other form of discrimination.
The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples The Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in 1960, declares that the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination, and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights, is contrary to the Charter, and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation. The declaration proclaims that all peoples have the right to self-determination.
In 1961, the General Assembly established a Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration. (See also the chapter on Independence of Colonial Peoples.)
The Declaration on Territorial Asylum, adopted by the General Assembly in 1967, supplements Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and provides that asylum granted by a state, in the exercise of its sovereignty, to persons entitled to invoke Article 14 of the Universal Declaration, including persons struggling against colonization, shall be respected by all other states. It rests with the state granting asylum to evaluate the grounds for asylum. Where a state finds difficulty in granting or continuing to grant asylum, states individually or jointly or through the UN shall consider, in the spirit of international solidarity, appropriate measures to lighten the burden on that state. No person entitled to invoke Article 14 of the Universal Declaration shall be subjected to measures such as retention at the frontier or, if he has already entered the territory in which he seeks asylum, expulsion or compulsory return to any state where he may be subjected to persecution.
In 1969, the General Assembly solemnly proclaimed the Declaration on Social Progress and Development, which sets forth the principles, objectives, means, and methods to eliminate obstacles to social progress, particularly inequality, exploitation, war, colonialism, and racism. The declaration shows the close connections between social development policies and endeavors to promote respect for human rights. Article 1 provides that all peoples and all human beings, without distinction as to race, color, sex, language, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, family or social status, or political or other conviction, shall have the right to live in dignity and freedom and to enjoy the fruits of social progress and should, on their part, contribute to it.
On 24 October 1970, the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Charter, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. One of the principles thus proclaimed is that states "shall cooperate in the promotion of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights, and fundamental freedoms for all, and in the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination and all forms of religious intolerance."
The Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons, adopted in 1971, proclaims that the mentally retarded person has, to the maximum degree of feasibility, the same rights as other human beings: the right to proper medical care and physical therapy, education, training, rehabilitation, and guidance; the right to economic security and to perform productive work; and the right, when necessary, to a qualified guardian and to protection from exploitation, abuse, and degrading treatment. Whenever mentally retarded persons are unable to exercise all their rights in a meaningful way or if it should become necessary to restrict or deny them, the procedure used must contain proper safeguards against abuse.
In 1974, the General Assembly proclaimed the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflicts. The declaration states that attacks on civilians, "especially on women and children, who are the most vulnerable members of the population," shall be prohibited and condemned and that states involved in armed conflicts shall make all efforts "to spare women and children from the ravages of war."
The Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons was confirmed and expanded by the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons, adopted in 1975. The term "disabled person" means any person unable to ensure by himself or herself wholly or partly the necessities of a normal individual and/or social life, as a result of a deficiency in his or her physical or mental capacities. While the formulation of some of the rights set forth in the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons occasionally differs from that contained in the earlier instrument, there are no differences as regards the principles and purposes, except that the later declaration applies also to persons who are physically, not mentally, handicapped.
The Declaration on the Use of Scientific and Technological Progress in the Interests of Peace In 1975, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Use of Scientific and Technological Progress in the Interests of Peace and for the Benefit of Mankind. The declaration provides that all states shall promote international cooperation to ensure that the results of scientific and technological developments are used in the interests of strengthening international peace and security, freedom, and independence and that they are also used for economic and social development and the realization of human rights and freedoms. The declaration calls on all states to help prevent the use of scientific and technological developments to limit or interfere with the enjoyment of the human rights of the individual.
The Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion and Belief, prepared by the Commission on Human Rights and adopted by the General Assembly in 1981, states that everyone shall have the right of freedom of thought, conscience, and religion and that no one shall be subject to discrimination on the grounds of religion or other beliefs.
In 1985, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Human Rights of Individuals Who Are Not Nationals of the Country in Which They Live. The declaration defines the term "alien" as any individual who is not a national of the state in which he or she is present. It declares that all aliens shall enjoy a wide range of civil rights, as well as the right to safe and healthy working conditions, fair wages, and equal remuneration for work of equal value; the right to join trade unions and other associations; and the right to health protection, medical care, social security, education, rest, and leisure. No alien shall be deprived of his or her lawfully acquired assets, and aliens shall be free at any time to communicate with the consulate or diplomatic mission of the state of which they are nationals.
The Declaration on the Right to Development was adopted by the General Assembly in 1986. In the declaration, the right to development is proclaimed as an inalienable human right by virtue of which every person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural, and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized. The right to development also implies the full realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, including their inalienable right to exercise full sovereignty over all their natural wealth and resources.
In December 1992, the General Assembly reaffirmed that one of the basic aims of the United Nations was to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. The Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities invites states to protect the identity of minorities within their respective territories, in particular through appropriate legislation.
In December 1992, the General Assembly also adopted the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which urges states to contribute by all means to the prevention and eradication of this gross offense to human dignity and flagrant violation of human rights. Acts of enforced disappearance should be considered offenses under criminal law punishable by appropriate penalties that take into account their extreme seriousness. The victims of acts of enforced disappearance, and their families, have the right to obtain redress and adequate compensation, including complete rehabilitation.
In December 1998, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which acknowledged the role of individuals, groups, and associations in contributing to the elimination of violations of human rights. The declaration is designed to protect the rights of human rights defenders from summary executions, forced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary detentions, and to support the rights of those who have exercised legitimately and peacefully their freedom of opinion and expression.