International Conventions & World Politics

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  • 0:01 Conventions
  • 0:39 Conventions of the UN
  • 1:45 Geneva Convention
  • 2:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson explains the use of conventions in world politics. It highlights the Geneva Convention, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, and the United Nations Convention against Torture.


Throughout modern history, nations have come together to pursue a certain course of action or to rid the world of some sort of injustice. These meetings, or conferences, often result in what are called conventions. Conventions are agreements, which are less formal than treaties, and pertain to particular matters of global importance. In today's lesson, we'll take a look at some of the most well-known of these conventions. In doing this, we'll give special attention to one of the most famous conventions of our modern world, the Geneva Convention. However, before we get to it, let's take a look at some of the other world conventions.

Conventions of the UN

Going only a very few years back in history is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Being drafted in Brazil in 2012, this convention seeks to renew the world's commitment to sustainable global economic development. Not solely concerned with first world development, the main goal of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development was to eradicate poverty for all.

With the United Nations holding many conferences concerning human rights, another convention we can discuss is the United Nations Convention against Torture. This convention strives to end torture and inhumane treatments or punishments. Within the parameters of this convention, which were adopted in 1984, participating nations are required to take measures to prevent torture within their borders. Not only this, they are required to refuse to return any person to a nation where they might possibly be tortured. Since its inception, the United Nations Convention against Torture has gained over 150 participants.

Geneva Convention

With this, we'll dedicate the rest of our time to the modern world's most famous convention, the Geneva Convention.

Actually comprising four different treaties, the Geneva Convention established a standard of international law for humanitarian conduct pertaining to war. Usually referring to the agreements established in 1949 after World War II, the Geneva Convention formed protections for wounded soldiers, wartime rights for prisoners, and protection for civilians in war zones.

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