human rights

Human Rights

This section provides links to formal human rights instruments and to informal right to communicate resolutions. The question of whether or not there ought to be a convention on the right to communicate is examined here.

Instruments on Human Rights

The main website for Human Rights instruments and related resources is maintained by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at

The various human rights instruments consitute a network of international standards. Three of these instruments are sometimes known collectively as the International Bill of Human Rights; they contain elements of the right to communicate. Each of these instruments is described briefly below. Links are provided.

Perspectives on communication rights

A few concepts appear in most sustained discussions of specific communication rights and of a comprehensive right to communicate. These concepts -- or ideas or models or equivalent terms -- serve as building materials for papers, theories or instruments. Importantly, these concepts can provide starting places for an examination of the rights of communication. ITU on communication needs, rights and means Description of the right to communicate

Resolutions on the right to communicate

At this time, there are no formal United Nations instruments directly on the right to communicate. However, there are a number of 'non-binding resolutions' that contribute to a common understanding of the right to communicate and, usually, propose a course of action. As used here, 'resolution' includes non-binding descriptions, recommendations, declarations, charters and similar terms. Note the strong similarities among these 'resolutions.'

For the most part, these right to communicate 'resolutions' were drafted, discussed and voted on during conferences of various international organizations; there are, of course, other patterns. Some of these resolutions may provide content for more formal instruments. They also signal when two or more existing rights may be merging and when new rights may be emerging. Taken together, these resolutions contribute to a common understanding of the right to communicate.

Convention on the right to communicate?

Before the question of whether or not there ought to be a formal Convention on the right can be answered, a great deal of careful preparatory work will need to be done. The guidelines for developing a convention specify a number of steps that need to be taken. These same guidelines can also help focus other activities including research and education.

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