|Celebrating arrival of the book. Cambridge editorial director Finola O'Sullivan came down to London with an advance copy, where we met at the Parcel Yard to toast the birth of the new baby. From left: Penelope Soteriou, myself, the book, and Finola.|
There is also, on the website of the United Nations, a collection of scanned documents related to the drafting of the Declaration. But it too is not really complete, and there is no way of searching the materials by keyword or article.
For the first time, then, the relevant materials are assembled in a comprehensive and systematic way, and they are thoroughly indexed. There are also detailed annotations to assist the reader.
My belief is that this will make the drafting history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights much more accessible to scholars and researchers. And this may lead to new understandings and insights.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a hugely important document whose significance has often been understated by statements like 'it's not binding'. The Declaration is one of the bases of the Universal Periodic Review undertaken by states at the Human Rights Council. It is also a source of common understandings of human rights that contributes to our appreciation of customary international law and 'fundamental principles of humanity'. These ideas are developed in the lengthy introduction to the three volumes.
Besides the bound volumes, Cambridge will issue this soon in an electronic version.