Tribute to John Peters Humphrey, father of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission unveiled a plaque in honour of native son John Peters Humphrey during its 2006 Human Rights Award ceremony, held on June 16 at the New Brunswick legislative assembly in Fredericton.

A McGill graduate, John Peters Humphrey (BCL'28) taught at the Faculty from 1936 to 1946. He was then appointed as the founding Director of the Human Rights Division in the United Nations Secretariat, where he was the principal drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Eleanor Roosevelt. In December 1948, the General Assembly unanimously adopted the Declaration.

After working 20 years at the United Nations, John Peters Humphrey returned to Montreal to take up teaching once more at McGill and continue his work in human rights. He was part of the team that launched Amnesty International Canada and, with his McGill colleagues, was instrumental in creating the Canadian Human Rights Foundation.

He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974, "in recognition of his contributions to legal scholarship and his worldwide reputation in the field of human rights."

Press clipping (PDF)
Short biography of J.P. Humphrey
2006 New Brunswick Human Rights Award
John Peters Humphrey Lecture Series