Unity, Diversity and Justice

a virtual exhibition from the Diefenbaker Center Canada

Canada in the United Nations

Canada in the United Nations
The first session of the Commission on Human Rights.
The first session of the Commission on Human Rights.
John Peters Humphrey
John Peters Humphrey

The United Nations was formed in 1945 when 51 nations came together to ratify the United Nations Charter. The purpose of the UN is to maintain world peace and to promote human rights. Today the six official languages used by the UN — English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Russian — reflect only part of the cultural diversity of the 193 countries that are its current members.

"Civilization has progressed slowly, through centuries of persecution and tyranny, until, finally, the present Declaration has been drawn up. It is not the work of a few representatives in the Assembly...it is the achievement of generations of human beings."

(Abdul Rahman Kayaly, Representative for Syria, United Nations, 1948)

In 1948, the UN officially adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration affirms that the protection of international human rights is a global responsibility. It was Canadian law professor and activist John Peters Humphrey, the Director of the Division of Human Rights within the United Nations Secretariat, who wrote the first draft of the UDHR.


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