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2 The Agenda (1946)

From: The United Nations Commission on Human Rights: 'A Very Great Enterprise'

John P. Pace

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 28 February 2021

Religion — Minorities — Race — Right to education — Right to work

This chapter examines the issues that the Commission on Human Rights took up in the decades following the drafting of the International Bill of Human Rights. The work of the Commission reflected international, political and social developments, largely propelled by a vital civil society. Thus, the period of decolonization brought the first issues to the agenda of the Commission, as did the Cold War and the emergence of the Non-aligned Movement between the 1950s and the mid-1970s, with the focus on racism and self-determination. This influenced the character of the Commission from that of a largely technical drafting body to a forum where situations were taken up. The Commission’s agenda thus widened in scope and with it, the challenges that are considered in these chapters. The challenges that emerged for the Commission related to the appreciation by states of their human rights obligations at the domestic level as a result of their becoming parties to international human rights law; and the realization of economic, social and cultural rights as an integral component of international human rights law, consistent with the Charter of the United Nations. These two challenges were to dominate the further evolution of the Great Enterprise for the rest of the existence of the Commission and that of the Human Rights Council after 2006.

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