Human rights

Human rights

Human rights are essential to democracy and development. One of our key roles is protecting the rights of ordinary citizens and those representing them in parliament.

Democracy and development cannot flourish if human rights are not safeguarded, as clearly stated in our Universal Declaration on Democracy. Similarly, our work on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underscores the idea that a development agenda with people at its centre must be rooted in human rights standards.

We are guided by this rights-based approach, which underpins our efforts to help parliaments play a central role as guardians of human rights through their legislative and oversight responsibilities. We do this by protecting MPs' rights and providing them with information, knowledge and training to improve the protection and promotion of rights—including those of women, children, minorities and indigenous peoples—and help them implement recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council and UN human rights treaty bodies.

We ensure that countries, through their parliaments, sign up to Human Rights Conventions, adopt and implement relevant laws.

Our Committee on Democracy and Human Rights spearheads our work on key issues such as freedom of expression, youth participation and children’s rights.
Our Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians takes up the cases of individual MPs whose rights have been violated, from murder to exclusion from public life.
Our International Humanitarian Law Committee’s work centres on protecting refugees and other civilians caught up in conflict or disaster.

Parliaments have a critical role in protecting people's human rights. We take action to strengthen their work protecting the rights of all citizens, as well as those of MPs themselves.
The landmark UN Convention on the Rights of the Child transforms children from passive objects to active right-holders.
Spotlight on

Colombian senator and presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galán Sarmiento was murdered at a political rally in 1989. His death was ordered by drugs baron Pablo Escobar and apparently plotted by high-level members of the security forces.

Related events
23 Jan - 3 Feb 2017
Geneva, Switzerland
152nd session of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians
1 - 5 Apr 2017
Dhaka, Bangladesh
16 - 17 Nov 2017
Valletta, Malta
International Conference on Promoting better regional cooperation toward smart and humane migration across the Mediterranean
Sustainable Development Goals

Our work to promote and protect human rights for all supports Goals 5, 10, 16 and 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals.