Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The declaration sets out a comprehensive common standard for the rights that every person should enjoy, regardless of sex, religion, nationality or other status.

The declaration was made in the form of a General Assembly resolution and is thus not legally binding or enforceable, but some of its provisions are considered to be part of customary international law. The declaration reinforces the underlying principles of human rights and has since its proclamation influenced the writing of constitutions of most democracies.


Human rights in times of crises: Resistance and concrete utopias


Looking back at our 2021 event series: Human rights are a concrete utopia worth defending, but what does this entail during times of profound, global transition? Can we use today’s unprecedented, multiple crises as an opportunity? And what alliances and strategies do we need to effectively include decolonial, feminist and environmental perspectives?


Nestlé precedent case: Murder of trade unionist Romero in Colombia

Trade unionists

ECCHR filed a criminal complaint against Nestlé and some of its top managers in 2012. The complaint accuses the managers of being in breach of their obligations by failing to prevent crimes of Colombian paramilitary groups and failing to adequately protect trade unionists from these crimes.


The path to justice leads through Europe – e.g. Austria


The path to justice for war crimes and torture in Syria also leads through Europe. After Germany, Sweden and France, Austrian authorities have initiated investigations into the Syrian intelligence services’ role in systematic torture. This followed a criminal complaint submitted by 16 Syrians, ECCHR, and its partners to the public prosecutor in Vienna in May 2018.


Torture under the Assad regime


The Syrian government led by president Bashar al-Assad is responsible for systematic and widespread torture. This is why in March 2017, ECCHR, seven Syrian torture survivors and lawyers Anwar al-Bunni and Mazen Darwish submitted the first criminal complaint against high-level officials of the Syrian military intelligence service to the German Federal Prosecutor.


The Rumsfeld torture cases


Between 2004 and 2007, three complaints were filed in Germany and in France against members of the US Government, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and members of the military forces in connection with war crimes, torture and other criminal acts in the military prisons of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib.