John P. Humphrey, after practicing law, became a Professor at McGill University and lectured at the universities of Gale, Western Ontario and Toronto. In 1946, Professor Humphrey was appointed as the first Director of the Human Rights Division in the UN Secretariat, where he was the Principal Drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He remained with the UN for 20 years, and during this period he oversaw the implementation of 67 international conventions and the constitutions of dozens of countries. In 1988, on the 40th anniversary of the Declaration, Professor Humphrey was awarded the UN’s Human Rights Award. He retired from the UN in 1966 and resumed his teaching career at McGill University. Professor Humphrey remained active in the promotion of human rights in Canada and internationally, including participating in international commissions of inquiry, until his death in March 1995. He worked as a Director of the International League for Human Rights and served as a Member of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. He was part of the team that launched Amnesty International Canada and, with colleagues from McGill, was instrumental in creating the Canadian Human Rights Foundation. Among his many honours, Professor Humphrey was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974, “in recognition of his contributions to legal scholarship and his world-wide reputation in the field of human rights.”
- The Canadian Encyclepedia
- "Historica Minute" Video on John P. Humphrey and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- The Hampton John Peters Humphrey Foundation
Partial Bibliography of John Peters Humphrey
Here are four lists of information on John Humphrey:
List of Publications
Courses taught at McGill
Membership in Professional Associations
Honours and Awards.
1 - List of Publications
- “Canadian-American Friendship (Review Article)”, (1938-39), 8 University of Toronto Quarterly 242-246.
- “The Twenty-Second Chair: Is it for Canada?” (1941), 3 Inter-American Quarterly 5-13 (No. 4).
- “The Inter-American System, a Canadian View”. Toronto:MacMillan of Canada, 1942.
- “On the Foundations of International Law”(1945), 39 American Journal of International Law 231-243.
- “Definition and Nature of Laws” (1945) 8 Modern Law Revue 194.
- “The Theory of the Separation of Functions” (1946) 6 University of Toronto Law Journal 331.
- “Les fonctions gouvernementales dans la société internationale " (1946), 16 Revue de l’Université d’Ottawa 172-186.
- “The Parent of Anarchy ” (1946) I International Journal 11 – 21.
- “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (1949), 27 Canadian Bar Review 203-210.
- “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (1949), 4 International Journal 351-361.
- “Human Rights: New Directions in the U.N. Program” (1958), 4 New York Law Forum 391-397.
- “The United Nations and Human Rights” (1963-64), 23 Behind the Headlines No. 1, 26pp.
- “The United Nations and Human Rights” (1965), 11 Howard Law Journal, 373-378.
- “Human Rights Committee – Interim Report” (1966), 52 International Law Association, Report of Conference 758-764.
- “The U.N. Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” in Luard, Evan, ed., The International Protection of Human Rights (London, 1967) pp. 30-58.
- “Human Rights, the United Nations and 1968”, (1968) 9 Journal of the International Commission of Jurists 1-13.
- “The United Nations Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities” (1968), 62 American Journal of International Law 869-888.
- “International Committee on Human Rights Report” (1968), 53 International Law Association, Report of Conference 437-458.
- “The World Revolution and Human Rights” in Gotlieb, Allan E., ed., Human Rights and Minorities (Toronto, 1970), pp. 147-179.
- “Human Rights and Authority”, (1970), 20 University of Toronto Law Journal 412-421.
- With Florence Bird and Jacques Henripin, Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada, 1970
- “The Right of Petition in the United Nations” (1971), 4 Revue des Droits de l’Homme 463-475.
- “The United Nations Commission on Human Rights and Its Parent Body” in René Cassin Amicorum Discipulorumque Liber (Paris, 1969-1971), vol. I, pp. 108-113.
- “The Main Fonctions of the United Nations in the Year 2000 A.D.” (1971), 17 McGill Law Journal 219-231.
- “International Committee on Human Rights Report” (1972), 55 International Law Association, Report of Conference 571-583.
- “International Law of Human Rights: Present Realities and Future Prospects (La protection internationale des droits de l”homme, réalité présente et perspective de l’avenir) " (1973), 2 Canadian Council on International Law, Proceedings 7-30.
- “The International Law of Human Rights in the Middle Twentieth Century”, in Bos, Maarten, ed., The Present State of International Law and Other Essays (Deventer, 1973), pp. 75-105
- “A United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: the Birth of an Initiative (1973), 11 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 220-225.
- “International Committee on Human Rights Report” (1974), 56 International Law Association, Report on Conference 205-216.
- “The Role of Canada in the United Nations Program for the Protection of Human Rights in Macdonald, Ronald St. J. et al., Canadian Perspectives on International Law and Organization (Toronto, 1974), pp. 612-619.
- “The Revolution in the International Law on Human Rights”(1974-75), 4 Human Rights, 205-216.
- “The International Bill of Rights: Scope and Implementation” (1975-76), 17 William and Mary Law Review 527-541.
- “International Committee on Human Rights Report” (1976), 57 International Law Association, Report of Conference 507-518.
- With Ronald St. J. Macdonald (eds), The Practice of Freedom: Canadian Essays on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Toronto: Butterworths, 1979, XX, 460 p.
- “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Its History, Impact and Juridical Character”, in Ramcharan, B.G., ed., Human Rights: Thirty Years after the Universal Declaration (The Hague, 1979), pp. 21-37.
- “La nature juridique de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme" (1981), 12 Revue Générale de Droit 397-400.
- Human Rights and the United Nations : A Great Adventure, Debbs Ferry, N.Y.: International Publishers, 1984.
- Macdonald, Ronald St. J., “Leadership in Law: John P. Humphrey and the Development of the International Law of Human Rights” (1991) 29 Canadian Yearbook of International Law 3-91.
- Hobbins, A.J. (ed.), On the Edge of Greatness: The Diaries of John Humphrey, First Director of the United Nations Human Rights Division. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, Vol. I (1948-1949) 1944; Vol. 2 (1950-1951) 1996; Vol.3 (1952-1957) 1997.
2- Courses taught at McGill
- Roman Law
- Administrative Law
- Introduction to Public Law
- International Law and Organization
(2) After return from UN in 1966:
- “Special Problems in International Law and Organization”.
Description in Calendar: “An analytical examination of the Charter of the United Nations and a study of the development of international law and organization by and through the various organs of the United Nations and of special agencies” (quoted by R. St. J. Macdonald in his article on John Humprey, 29 CYIL 3-91 (1991), at 82).
- “The International Protection of Human Rights”.
Description in Calendar: “The development of an international law on human rights by and through the United Nations, the specialized agencies and regional inter-governmental organizations” (quoted by R. St. J. Macdonald, ibid.)
- International Law of Human Rights.
- Problems of International Law and Organizations
- Comparative and International Protection of Minorities’ Rights.
3- Membership in Professional Associations
- International Law Association, Rapporteur of its International Committee on Human Rights, 1966 – 1976.
- International Commission of Jurists, Member of numerous ICJ missions abroad.
- Amnesty International (Canada), Past President.
- Canadian Institute of International Affairs, Member and Officer.
- Canadian Human Rights Foundation, President (1978-85) and President Emeritus.
- Canadian Council on International Law, Founding member and lifetime honorary member and recepient of the John E. Read Medal (1973).
- United Nations Association in Canada, President (1968-70)
4 - Honours and Awards
- At least 10 honorary doctoral degrees, by Canadian and foreign universities.
- World Legal Scholar Award, by the World Peace through Law Center, 1973.
- John E. Reid Medal, by Canadian Council on International Law, 1973.
- Officer of the Order of Canada, 1974.
- World Federalists of Canada Peace Award, 1981.
- Saul Hayes Human Rights Award, by Canadian Jewish Congress, 1983.
- Officer of the Order of Quebec, 1985.
- Citation, by Amnesty International (Canada), 1988.
- United Nations Human Rights Prize, for outstanding achievements in the field of human rights, 1988.