History of human rights law
Several nations documented human rights at turning points in their history. For example:
- 1215 - The Magna Carta, England
- 1688 - The Bill of Rights, England
- 1789 - The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, France
- 1791 - Bill of Rights, United States of America.
Present-day international protection of human rights started with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was passed by the United Nations in 1948. The preamble starts with this justification:
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world...
In the early days of the United Nations, Australia was involved in leading the development of the United Nations Organization and in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, Australia's own human rights have not been enshrined in either a Bill of Rights or mentioned in the Constitution.
Since 1948, the United Nations and associated bodies, such as the International Labour Organization, have adopted a large number of human rights principles, many of which have formed the basis for Australian laws.