Key Treaties and Texts

The international human rights system is based on the seven major United Nations human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). While all provisions in CEDAW refer directly to women, the other six international treaties can also be used to promote and protect the rights of women and girls. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) cover a broad range of rights. The other treaties are thematic in focus and address racial discrimination, torture, children's rights, and migrant workers.

In addition to the international human rights system, there are regional human rights systems in Europe, Africa and the Americas. In some instances, the regional systems have specific agreements that address the rights of women, but the general regional human rights treaties can also be useful in advancing women's rights. Search Tip: To find key treaties and texts for a particular region, limit your search to the key treaties and texts topic and enter the region (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America) into the keyword field on the search form.

This section of the WHRR database is intended to provide information about the range of treaties and texts, both international and regional, available to promote and protect women's rights.

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The list of documents includes key international and regional human rights treaties, other human rights declarations and agreements (such as the Beijing Platform for Action from the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women), as well as General Comments and General Recommendations which interpret treaty rights and are issued by the UN bodies that monitor compliance with human rights treaties. Resources that explain or illustrate treaty rights, such as documents from governmental and nongovernmental organizations, are also included.

The links section includes sites that provide information on using the international and regional human rights systems as well as sites for organizations that applying human rights law in their work. Search Tip: To locate resources related to Canada's international human rights treaty obligations, limit your search to the key treaties and texts topic and enter Canada into the keyword field on the search form.

The section of the database that explores how these rights are applied in practice also provides useful information about treaty rights: Applying International Human Rights Law.

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