Declaration of Human Rights

1900 to 1949
Montreal, Québec
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The precursor to peace on earth.

McGill University professor of law John Humphrey believed “there will be peace on earth when the rights of all are respected.” He backed up this profound and noble sentiment with the best attempt made so far to identify the inalienable rights of all. Professor Humphrey’s achievement is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—a preamble and thirty brief clauses that encapsulate the rights to which each and every human being is entitled. He wrote the declaration in his capacity as first director of the United Nations division of human rights. The then-fledgling international organization adopted the Canadian’s moral and intellectual handiwork in1948. Two-thirds of a century has passed and Humphrey’s formal statement on behalf of the world remains Canada’s greatest contribution to international law and the precursor to peace on  earth.