International cooperation for the promotion and encouragement of human rights and fundamental freedoms is one of the very purposes of the United Nations, according to article 1 of the Organization's Charter. The mandate is clear. In order to live up to this purpose, much work has been undertaken by establishing international human rights standards and by encouraging and persuading states to comply with these same standards.
This presentation, by way of an overview, briefly describes the international human rights instruments and the classification and contents of the standards contained therein. The methods employed by the United Nations and non-governmental organization (NGOs) for the realization of the standards are also outlined, including monitoring procedures, technical assistance and other activities concerned with the protection and promotion of human rights. Finally, the presentation identifies UN institutions where human rights issues and procedures are debated and decided upon.