Volume 132, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



The 1970s have often been indicated as the decade when human rights rose to significance in the international arena. In the period before, states supposedly showed little genuine interest in them. In this article, it is shown that the Dutch government was already committed to establishing a far-reaching, binding human rights regime during the first post-war decade. Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has traditionally been critiqued for shying away from establishing legal obligations, the Netherlands and other states in fact expected a binding treaty to follow swiftly. International supervision to compliance was deemed important too. Already during the 1950s the Netherlands and various other countries allowed individuals to file applications against states under the European Convention on Human Rights. This period should therefore not be overlooked when studying the origins of our modern day human rights system.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): ECHR; EVRM; foreign policy; human rights; the Netherlands; United Nations
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