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From Individual Rights to National Development: The First UN International Conference on Human Rights, Tehran, 1968

Roland Burke
Journal of World History
Vol. 19, No. 3, New Histories of the United Nations (Sep., 2008), pp. 275-296
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40542616
Page Count: 22
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From Individual Rights to National Development: The First UN International Conference on Human Rights, Tehran, 1968
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Abstract

This article examines the first International Conference on Human Rights, held in Tehran in April and May 1968. At Tehran, a powerful bloc of Asian, African, and Arab states successfully asserted their control over the UN's Human Rights Program. Their aggressive conference diplomacy was the culmination of a major transition in UN politics, with supposedly Western notions of individual freedom rejected in favor of an agenda that privileged economic modernization and the rights of peoples and nations. Twenty years after the iconic image of Eleanor Roosevelt holding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the residual elements of the program she presided over were repudiated in a storm of insistent demands from the new anticolonial order.

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