Regarding the establishment of a universal legal framework, the UN has done a good job in the creation of an international standard for human rights. First of all, it showed great concern over the respect for human rights by incorporating the subject in its charter. Specifically, Article 1 of the UN charter states that all human rights and basic freedoms should be respected without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. Also, the UDHR is the most successful task done by the UN through its General Assembly in 1948 which gave a universal standard of human rights.
Furthermore, two other important documents are the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which was signed in 1966 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1966. These three documents together instituted a wide range of human rights norms wherein most of which are based on the notion that governments are responsible for applying fundamental freedoms to protect and promote their people. Moreover, the UN adopted various methods to help states know their obligations regarding human rights.
It provides technical support programs to encourage and protect human rights within states. Also, it uses advisory services and training courses to run its programs. These methods are beneficial for many sectors, such as lawyers, judges and the legal enforcement agencies. To achieve the purpose of maintaining the human rights, the UN established the Commission on Human Rights in 1947. This commission aims to promote human rights by examining, monitoring, and reporting human rights violations from all over the world.
Even the commission failed, but it did some great efforts in the period of its existence such as the draft of the UDHR. Later in 2006, the Human Rights Council is replaced by the commission. Therefore, the protection of human rights norms is considered as a main goal of the UN for the international community. In fact, this goal has taken place in every process and institution in the UN. All these developments were asserted by Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the UN who has played a significant role in reorganizing the UN system.
After the events that took place, the establishment of a legal universal framework to deal and protect human rights was visible. It was done through the signing of many relevant international treaties under the supervision of the UN. That task was aimed at building an international standard for human rights. However, the enforcement of human rights norms that was stated in the UDHR, the two mentioned covenants and other relative international treaties is considered the most genuine task for the UN to follow. Therefore, the following section will discuss and examine the challenges that hinder the UN in performing this task.
The UN has created a legal framework with respect to the international system of human rights, but practically, it is insufficient in protecting all human rights from being violated. Even the UN was unsuccessful in dealing with some human rights violations, such as, the case of East Timor in 1999. There are many other cases of human rights contraventions where the UN was unsuccessful such as the Kurdish in Iraq, the Darfur in Sudan, and others. There are a several reasons which reduce the effectiveness of the UN and it will be examined in the next section.