Charter of the United Nations

Article 1. The Purposes of the United Nations are: (…)

(3) To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and

(4) To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Article 55. With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:

(a) higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;

(b) solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and educational cooperation; and

(c) universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.

Article 56. All Members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the Organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55.

  • Human rights

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All UN member states are bound by the Charter, the foundational document of the UN.

Article 1 set out the purposes and principles of the UN within which encouraging respect for human rights is central

Article 55 elaborates upon article 1, again clarifying the central character of promotion of human rights as a aim of the UN

Article 56 establishes the legal obligation on states to collaborate to achieving those ends.

The Commission is a ‘Charter-based’ body, created as a functional commission of ECOSOC. As a Charter-based body the CND is established to pursue these aims.

See also CND resolution 51/12 ( in which these provisions of the Charter are invoked in the context of human rights

  • Human rights