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

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The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

1990-1991 CE


The "Highway of Death"

After the UN imposes sanctions on Iraq, the U.S. enters the Gulf War to protect the sovereignty of Kuwait and to maintain human rights in the area.

1990 CE

The Americans With Disabilities Act is signed into law, establishing "a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability."

The World Summit for Children of the World adopts the Declaration on the Survival, Protection, and Development of Children and the Plan of Action for Implementing the World Declaration.

The UN adopts the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

After 27 years of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela is released from Robben Island Prison on February 11 after President F.W. de Klerk lifts the ban on the ANC and other anti-apartheid organizations on February 2, 1990.

1991 CE

Aung San Suu Kyi wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

1992 CE

The U.S. Congress ratifies the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The UN Security Council adopts a resolution to deploy the United Nations Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia.

A UN Security Council resolution condemns "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Another Security Council resolution demands that all detention camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina be closed.


Rigoberta Menchu Tum

The UN adopts the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The UN adopts the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious, and Linguistic Minorities.

Rigoberta Menchu Tum wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

1993 CE

A Criminal Tribunal on the Former Yugoslavia is established in the Hague as an ad hoc international tribunal to prosecute persons responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes since 1991.

The Second World Conference on Human Rights Convenes in Vienna, where the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action is adopted.

The United Nations General Assembly creates the post of High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The UN adopts the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.


Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa."

The U.S. adopts the policy "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" which gives the government the right to remove open homosexuals from military service.

1994-2004 CE

The UN declares a Decade for Human Rights Education on December 23, 1994.

1994 CE

An emergency session of the Commission on Human Rights convenes to respond to genocide in Rwanda.

The first UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jose Ayala Lasso, takes his post.

The U.S. Congress ratifies the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The U.S. delegation to the UN supports the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which remains unratified by the U.S. Congress. The Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography are ratified by the U.S. Congress in 2002.

From April 26-29 South Africa holds the first election in the country where all races could vote. Nelson Mandela is elected president and the ANC wins 252 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly.

1995 CE

The Beijing Declaration at the World Conference on Women declares that "Women's rights are human rights." The Platform for Action designed at the conference contains dozens of references to human rights pertaining to women.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is set up by the South African Government to address human rights violations under apartheid.

Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest in Burma.

1996 CE

Jose Ramos Horta and Bishop Carlos Belo win the Nobel Peace Prize.

President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, denying the right of marriage to same-sex couples by defining marriage "only as a legal union between one man and one woman."

1997 CE

Mary Robinson, former President of the Republic of Ireland, becomes the second UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

1998 CE

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Francis M. Deng, the UN Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons, and a group of legal experts write the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which establish important guidelines concerning how governments can assist their displaced populations. However, the guidelines are not ratified or signed by any state.

General Augusto Pinochet is arrested for murder in London on a warrant from Spain requesting his extradition. The Spanish authorities issue the warrant pursuant to their investigation of allegations of murder, torture and disappearances of Spanish nationals in Chile between 1973 and 1990.

1999 CE


Prime Minister John Howard

John Howard, Australian Prime Minister, refuses to offer a formal national apology for Australia's mistreatment of aborigines.

The International Labour Organisation adopts the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

2000 CE

The International Labour Organisation adopts the revised Maternity Protection Convention.

2001 CE


Bush signing the Patriot Act

The U.S. Congress ratifies the Patriot Act reducing the rights and freedoms of many Americans.

2003-2004 CE

In November 2003 the Massachusetts high court ruled that it would allow same sex marriage and the first gay marriages in the U.S. were performed on 17 May 2004.

2003 CE

The International Court of Justice rejects Yugoslavia's second challenge to the Bosnian Genocide claim, paving the way for oral hearings for the first time since the case was brought to the Court in 1993.

2004 CE

Press reports describe the U.S. torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison during and after the 2003 Iraq War.

President George W. Bush reacts to the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts by supporting a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.


Children sitting in an IDP camp

Genocide begins in the Darfur region of the Sudan as the Janjaweed have displaced millions. UN efforts thus far have been largely unsuccessful.

2005 CE

Two years after the invasion of Iraq by Coalition Forces to remove Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi people hold their first free election.

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