The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project is a university-chartered research center associated with the Department of History of The George Washington University

The George Washington University

The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

1964 CE

Nelson Mandela and seven other leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) are convicted of sabotage and sentenced to life in prison by the South African government for protesting the apartheid policies in South Africa.

1965 CE

 


President Lyndon B. Johnson

 

The U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Immigration Act of 1965, eliminating the ethnic quotas established under the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952.

The UN adopts the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

1966-1976 CE

 


Mao Zedong

 

Mao Zedong begins a "purification" of leftist ideas known as the Cultural Revolution in China, resulting in a decade of internal unrest and violence as thousands of Chinese citizens are killed by their own government.

1966 CE

The UN adopts and opens for signature the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Together these documents further developed the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The UN sets up the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, allowing individuals to charge violations of human rights.

1968 CE

(The original document claimed this happened in 1967) The UN adopts the Convention on Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.

The First World Conference on Human Rights is held in Tehran. The United Nations convened member states to evaluate the failures and successes of human rights promotion since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to work toward the elimination of racial discrimination and apartheid.

René Cassin wins the Nobel Peace Prize for drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The U.S. Congress passes the Architectural Barriers Act, requiring that all facilities supported with federal funding be designed in such a way as to be fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

1969 CE

 


The OAS Seal

 

The Organization of American States (OAS) adopts the American Convention on Human Rights.

The Stonewall Riots in New York City begin a movement for gay rights.

 


Stonewall Inn
(site of Stonewall Riots)

 

The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) is founded; the Gay Activists Alliance breaks away from the GLF.

Homosexuality is decriminalized in Canada.

A Committee for Homosexuality is formed in the UK. (no web documentation)

The Campaign Against Moral Persecution is founded in Sydney, Australia.

1971 CE

The U.S. federal government stops automatic dismissal of gay federal employees. (no web documentation)

1972 CE

Title IX is passed, guaranteeing that "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

The Equal Rights Amendment passes both the House of Representatives and the Senate but not enough states ratify it before the seven year deadline for ratification expires.

1973 CE

Roe v. Wade establishes the right to privacy for women in the United States.

The UN adopts the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

 


Augusto Pinochet

 

On September 11, a bloody military coup overthrows Chilean President Salvador Allende and a junta, led by General Augusto Pinochet, takes power. Pinochet quickly dissolves the Congress, suspends the constitution, criminalizes opposition political parties, and places strict limits on the media. During his seventeen-year dictatorship, Pinochet presides over the repression, torture, disappearance, and death of thousands of Chilean citizens who opposed his rule.

1974 CE

(date is uncertain) Women gain the right to vote in China.

1975 CE

The Final Act of the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) affirms the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The conference establishes an on-going forum for East-West communication on human rights and humanitarian issues. This framework for international communication inspires the creation of many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and citizens' groups that will help monitor human rights and demand compliance with standards set by the UN and its member states.

The UN adopts the Declaration on Rights of Disabled Persons.

 


Andrei D. Sakharov

 

Andrei D. Sakharov wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his promotion of human rights in the Soviet Union.

Portugal becomes the last major power to relinquish its substantial colonial holdings in Africa. Many colonies, including Angola, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde and Mozambique were finally freed of colonial rule. However, Portugal's abrupt departure left a power vacuum, which resulted in great upheaval and poverty in these places.

1976 CE

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights takes effect after ratification of enough UN Member states. The U.S. delegation to the UN supports the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. (The U.S. Congress ratified the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1992 and has yet to ratify the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.)

1977 CE

A human rights bureau is created within the U.S. Department of State. Its first reports on human rights are issued this year.

Amnesty International wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

 


President Jimmy Carter

 

U.S. President Jimmy Carter begins to institutionalize human rights agendas into American foreign policy.

1978 CE

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is founded in the United States.

Helsinki Watch is established to monitor the Soviet Union's compliance with the Helsinki Accords. This organization later merges into Human Rights Watch.

 


Anwar Sadat, Jimmy Carter, and
Menachem Begin, Sept. 6, 1978

 

The Camp David Peace Accords help pave the way for more negotiations between Egypt and Israel and is one of the first steps toward peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

1979 CE

The UN adopts the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The Organization of American States establishes the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

1980 CE

The U.S. Supreme Court orders the federal government to pay some $120 million dollars to eight tribes of Sioux Indians in reparation for American Indian land that the government seized illegally in 1877.

The U.S. delegation to the UN supports the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which the U.S. Congress has yet to ratify.

1981 CE

The African Charter of Human Rights is adopted by the Organization for African Unity (OAU).

The UN adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief after nearly 20 years of drafting.

The International Labour Organisation adopts the Convention Concerning the Promotion of Collective Bargaining.

1982 CE

The UN adopts the Principles of Medical Ethics.

1983 CE

The Arab Organization for Human Rights is formed.

1984 CE

The UN adopts the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

 


Reverend Desmond Tutu

 

Desmond Tutu wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

1985 CE

The Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights is established within the United Nations.

The UN adopts the International Convention against Apartheid in Sports.

The U.S. Senate votes to impose economic sanctions on South Africa in protest against the government's apartheid policy.

The UN adopts the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women.

1986 CE

The UN adopts the Declaration on the Right to Development.

1988 CE

After 40 years of lobbying by non-governmental organizations, the U.S. Congress ratifies the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The UN ratifies the Body of Principles for Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention of Imprisonment.

African governments create the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.

1989 CE

In Tiananmen Square, Chinese authorities massacre student demonstrators struggling for democracy.

The UN adopts both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aimed at the abolition of the death penalty.

 


Dalai Lama, 2003

 

The Dalai Lama wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

The International Labour Organisation adopts the Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries.

 


Germans dancing on the Berlin Wall

 

The Berlin Wall is dismantled.

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