21 of the most important human rights milestones in the last 100 years

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  • The last 100 years saw many changes in the way of human rights
  • Widespread women’s suffrage, the end of segregation in the United States, and regulations on working conditions are a few examples. 
  • The gay rights movement in the United States has seen huge progress in the last century.
  • Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the first woman to be elected head of government in the world in 1960 in Sri Lanka.

Widespread women’s suffrage, the end of segregation in the United States, and regulations on working conditions are a few milestones that today’s society can credit to the last 100 years.

In the early 1900s, change was brewing amidst the violence and devastation of World War I and World War II. In the wake of the Holocaust, the creation of the United Nations on October 24, 1945, cast a new lens on the idea of universal human rights for every individual.

According to the UN, these rights were inherent to all human beings, including „the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more,“ and they are still a cornerstone of foreign policy and human rights law in 2018.

Of course, it’s worth noting that there is still a long way to go in ensuring human rights for everyone. 

Here are 21 of the most important human rights milestones in the last 100 years that continue to shape the world today.

February 6, 1918: Representation of the People Act gave women over age 30 the right to vote in the UK.

Although New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote in 1893, women’s suffrage in Europe didn’t gain momentum until after World War I.

Post-conflict, women’s contributions to the war effort were credited with changing the tide of popular opinion in favor of women’s suffrage. And in 1918, the Representation of the People Act finally gave UK women over the age of 30 who owned property the right to vote.

However, it wasn’t until 1928 that all women in the United Kingdom over 21 were granted universal suffrage.

August 18, 1920: Women won the right to vote in the United States.

In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott held the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls where they shared a „Declaration of Sentiments“ proclaiming women’s rights to the same freedoms enjoyed by men.

However, it wasn’t until 72 years later that the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the United States, was signed into law.

October 11, 1933: The League of Nations adopted the International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women of Full Age.

The League of Nations, an international organization created after World War I and ceased operations in 1946, aimed to more completely secure the suppression of trafficking in women and children.

Although the original treaty concluded in Geneva in 1933, it wasn’t amended and signed by the United Nations General Assembly until 1950, under the title „The Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Other.“

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Source: Business insider

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