1953- The European Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is entered
into force with the goal of defending human rights and
individual freedoms on the European Continent.
Additionally, the Convention created the European Court
of Human Rights to adjudicate violations of human rights
in the EU.
1970- In order to foster increased cooperation and
coordination on foreign policy, the European Political
Cooperation (EPC) is established. The EPC aims to
institute norms in the international community with
regards to human rights protections.
1993- The Treaty of Maastricht renames and reorganizes
the European Political Cooperation as the Common
Foreign and Security Policy. The goal of this
restructured policy is similar to that of the EPC: preserve
human rights through intergovernmental mechanisms.
1993- Countries intending to join the EU need meet the
so-called “Copenhagen criteria” outlined by the
Copenhagen European Council. Included in these
criteria is the idea that the formation of a stable
democracy necessitates placing high importance on
eliminating human rights abuses.
2009- The Lisbon Treaty outlines certain fundamental
rights, which all citizens of the European Union are
entitled to and all member states must protect.
1919- Following World War I, the need for an international
governmental organization with the ability to coordinate trade
unionization is recognized as necessary to political and social
stability throughout the world. This need is addressed through
the creation of the ILO as an agency of the League of Nations.
1934- The United States famously declined membership in the
League of Nations, but eventually becomes a part of the ILO
during the Great Depression Era. In the midst of difficult
economic conditions, the United States’ involvement in ILO is a
signal to other countries that matters of labor rights demand
1969- After World War II, the ILO’s budget and membership
grow rapidly, including the addition of more countries from the
developing world. With this change in makeup comes a shift of
focus as the ILO takes on social justice initiatives to promote
peace. The ILO is awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for its
work reducing poverty and discrimination in the workplace.
1989- The ILO continues its transition from an organization
initially centered around trade unions to an organization
focused on social justice in the international economic sphere.
Michel Hansenne of Belgium takes over the Director-General
position at the ILO following the Cold War, making a strong
push to retain and fortify this new emphasis.
1998- The ILO adopts the Declaration on Fundamental
Principles and Rights at Work to ensure that all member states
abide by certain core principles advocating freedom of
association and collective bargaining, as well as the elimination
of workplace discrimination, forced labor, and child labor.
1948- Twenty-one nations from the Americas meet and
sign the Charter of the Organization of American States
(thus creating the OAS) and the American Declaration of
the Rights and Duties of Man, an international human
rights document that predates the Universal Declaration of
1959- The OAS creates The Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights (IACHR), an independent wing of the
organization, which is tasked with investigating human
rights abuses in the Americas.
1969- The American Convention on Human Rights is
adopted by member states with the express purpose of
unifying the Americas under a specified framework related
to human rights. This framework includes fundamental
determinations about the protection of individual and
1979- The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is
created to monitor compliance with the American
Convention on Human Rights, which went into effect in
1978. The court functions not only as an adjudicatory
body that hears and rules on cases of human rights
violation, but also as an advisory body to member states.
2009- The OAS condemns the Honduran coup during
which members of the military and supporters of Roberto
Micheletti ousted President Manuel Zelaya. The OAS
responds by suspending Honduras' membership after
Zelaya is not reinstated.
1949- European Treaty of Brussels to counter the Soviet Union is
replaced by the North Atlantic Treaty, bringing in the United
States, as well as several others. Created as a unified military
command structure organization that would standardize
terminology and technology among member states.
1991- Dissolution of the Warsaw Pact demands an ongoing
reevaluation of the purpose and role of NATO. The initial result
is a reduction of arms, formation of a rapid response
organization, and rejoining of France.
1995- When Serbian air forces target civilians in violation of UN
designated Bosnian safety zones, known as the Markale
massacres, NATO responds in its first major foray into
humanitarian intervention, running hundreds of sorties against
Serbian targets and deploying artillery. The two massacres
together were responsible for the deaths of over 100 civilians
and many more wounded.
1999- 11 Nations of NATO respond to allegations of a campaign
of ethnic cleansing called Operation Horseshoe by Serbian
policemen and Yugoslavian Armed Forces. They launch an
extensive bombing campaign, ultimately forcing a Yugoslav
withdrawal from Kosovo and ending the Yugoslav wars of the
Post-2001- The War on Terror redirects NATO efforts towards
security in Afghanistan and strategic readiness towards the
Middle East and away from the question of humanitarian
intervention. Furthermore, the International Convention on
Intervention and State Sovereignty released a document
outlining a "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine, which outlines the
conditions for valid application of humanitarian intervention.