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Purpose of the Convention

  • To bring attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on it’s 75th anniversary 

  • To strengthen collective action

  • To commit to advancement of human rights

Convention Objectives

  • Give space to share work among human rights advocates and defenders 

  • Strengthen connection, collaboration, and action among human rights advocates and defenders

  • Strengthen skills in taking action on human rights

  • Create learning opportunities and strategizing on how to actualize and advance human rights


We aim to ensure the convention is accessible for all participants:

  • Captions will be enabled for all virtual events.

  • ASL interpreters will be available for plenary spaces.

  • Recorded events will be shared with transcripts and captions.

  • Panelists, keynotes, facilitators, moderators, and other speakers will be provided with instructions for accessible presenting and moderating online.

  • If costs are a barrier, we encourage people to email us and we will work with you to ensure you are able to attend with reduced or no cost.

If you have any questions or concerns about access needs for this event, please email us.

From December 1-10, 2023, partners will host a series of online events to bring together civil society, academics and decision makers in dialogue, learning and action on human rights. This ten day campaign will profile and facilitate public discourse on the principles and values instilled within the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our hope is that we will walk away with a strengthened commitment, confidence and capacity for a movement of action towards the advancement of dignity, justice, peace, and freedom.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages. The UDHR is widely recognized as having inspired, and paved the way for, the adoption of more than seventy human rights treaties, applied today on a permanent basis at global and regional levels (all containing references to it in their preambles).

John Humphrey

John Thomas Peters Humphrey, OC, lawyer, diplomat, scholar (April 1905 ~ March 1995). John Humphrey was the director of the United Nations Human Rights Division (1946 ~ 1966) and was instrumental in drafting the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. He taught law and briefly served as dean at McGill University. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974 and received the United Nations' Prize for human rights advocacy in 1988.


John Humphrey with his collaborator on the Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt.

The Declaration of Human Rights

In 1946, Humphrey was appointed director of human rights for the United Nations' Secretariat. With the assistance of others, he authored the original draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was passed as a resolution of the General Assembly on 10 December 1948. The declaration was referred to as the “Magna Carta of all mankind” by Eleanor Roosevelt, committee chairperson. The document has been translated into 321 languages and dialects. It is probably the most cited international legal document drafted by a Canadian.

The declaration brought a revolutionary change in the theory and practice of international law because it recognized that human rights are a matter of international concern. Although the principles of the declaration are routinely violated, it is one of the UN’s most important achievements. It has become part of the customary law of nations.

John Humphrey's Legacy

In 1998, the largest international conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights “Universal Rights and Human Values: A Blueprint for Peace, Justice and Freedom” was held in Edmonton Alberta Canada bringing together over 700 delegates from 34 countries. This effort brought together notable guests including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson to name a few. 


The John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights was founded the following year in 1999 under the leadership of Gurcharan Singh Bhatia, Jack O’Neill and Gerald L. Gall.  The Centre evolved out of the Human Rights Education Foundation originally founded by John Peters Humphrey, Canadian lawyer and original drafter of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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