Humphrey was a principal drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After consulting with the executive group of the Commission, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, Professor Humphrey prepared the first preliminary draft of what was to become the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt Referred to it as “the international Magna Carta of all humankind.”
During his career at The United Nations, Humphrey oversaw the implementation of 67 international conventions and the constitutions of dozens of countries. He worked in areas including freedom of the press, status of women, and racial discrimination. In 1988, on the 40th anniversary of the Declaration, the UN Human Rights Award was bestowed on Professor Humphrey.
In 1963, he put forth the idea of a United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. While the idea was initially received quite positively, it was only after more than thirty years, that the office became a reality.