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Nevertheless, oppressed people throughout the world have drawn on the principles these documents express to support revolutions that assert the right to self-determination.Contemporary international human rights law and the establishment of the United Nations (UN) have important historical antecedents.
In 1919, countries established the International Labor Organization (ILO) to oversee treaties protecting workers with respect to their rights, including their health and safety.Although a declaration is not a legally binding document, the Universal Declaration has achieved the status of customary international law because people regard it "as a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations."With the goal of establishing mechanisms for enforcing the UDHR, the UN Commission on Human Rights proceeded to draft two treaties: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its optional Protocol and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).Together with the Universal Declaration, they are commonly referred to as the International Bill of Human Rights.The League floundered because the United States refused to join and because the League failed to prevent Japans invasion of China and Manchuria (1931) and Italys attack on Ethiopia (1935).It finally died with the onset of the Second World War (1939).The idea of human rights emerged stronger after World War II.The extermination by Nazi Germany of over six million Jews, Sinti and Romani (gypsies), homosexuals, and persons with disabilities horrified the world.The belief that everyone, by virtue of her or his humanity, is entitled to certain human rights is fairly new.Its roots, however, lie in earlier tradition and documents of many cultures; it took the catalyst of World War II to propel human rights onto the global stage and into the global conscience.Throughout much of history, people acquired rights and responsibilities through their membership in a group a family, indigenous nation, religion, class, community, or state.Most societies have had traditions similar to the "golden rule" of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Hindu Vedas, the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, the Bible, the Quran (Koran), and the Analects of Confucius are five of the oldest written sources which address questions of peoples duties, rights, and responsibilities.