70 Years Ago - How Universal Rights Were Being Made

Video date: 
Wednesday, 6 December, 2017
Video speaker(s): 
James Michael, Senior Associate Research Fellow, IALS; Chair, Advisory Board, Information Law & Policy Centre at IALS
Chair: Professor Graham Zellick CBE QC FAcSS, Formerly Vice-Chancellor of the University of London. Master of the Bench and former Reader of the Middle Temple.


In 1947 the United Nations was in the process of drafting what became the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies was founded. Getting agreement on what those rights would be was not easy. For example, on 6 December 1947, 70 years before this lecture, the Working Group on the Declaration considered whether the right to life began at conception. On 11 June 1948, when IALS opened in its first building at 25 Russell Square, the Commission on Human Rights rejected a French proposal that human rights should include intellectual property (which re-emerged later) and postponed discussion on a right to social security. There was nothing at all about discrimination and sexual orientation.

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