Human Rights

What are Human Rights?

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Human rights are universal principles or norms that govern the relationship between individuals and their governments.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty, freedom of speech, equality before the law, non-discrimination and justice. Therefore, if these rights are ignored, it leads to violations of human rights.


Human Rights
Human Rights


Life is a basic human right. No one should be deprived of his or her life through murder or suicide. It is also illegal to kill an unborn baby inside its mother’s womb during pregnancy.

Human Rights: Liberty

Every individual has the right to choose how to live his or her own life in all aspects including religion, work, home, family etc.

This includes the right to follow any career of choice as long as this does not harm another person or society.

Human Rights: Freedom

To add on, Freedom means having control over your body and the choices you make about what happens to your body; for example, whether you have an abortion or not, whether you marry someone you love or someone else if you can smoke or not, and whether you will have children or not.

People who do not want to have children cannot be forced to have them against their will. All people have the same freedom to learn, read, write, speak out, move around, go to school and earn a living.

All citizens also need equal access to health care, housing, food, water, education, security, employment, legal aid and an environment free from pollution.

Human Rights: Equality

Equality means treating everyone equally like a member of the same community without discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, disability, social status, economic power, marital status, political beliefs, place of origin, or nationality.

For example, no one may be discriminated against because he or she belongs to a particular religious group. Individuals have the right to be protected by legislation from unfair treatment, such as racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination.


Justice means fairness and impartiality – every citizen receives the same treatment under the law irrespective of his or her gender, race, class, caste, creed, sexuality, or wealth.

There must be an independent judiciary to protect and promote human rights. The courts must ensure that laws are applied fairly and impartially so that everyone gets a fair trial.

A just system ensures that punishment fits the crime. In cases where there has been a violation of human rights by an individual or by government officials, there must be compensation and reparation for victims.


Security means protecting against threats to individual freedoms, safety and physical integrity. This requires that the government must take reasonable steps to prevent violence, terrorism and unlawful attacks on individuals.

Moreover, the government must respect the privacy of its citizens.


Participation means giving everyone the ability to influence decisions affecting him or her. Everyone has the right to participate fully in society through democratic processes.

Participatory practices include participation at the local level in decision-making, especially in matters concerning local development and planning. Civic organizations and associations allow individuals and communities to express themselves freely.


Accountability means holding people responsible for what they have done. Governments must be held accountable for what they do following international standards and national laws.

They must cooperate with international institutions to improve accountability. Institutions like the United Nations, the European Union and local governments can assist in this process.


Accessibility means ensuring equal opportunities to participate in public life. This includes accessible transportation, communication networks, information technology, libraries, healthcare facilities, places of worship, educational institutions and business centers.

Hence, governments have to provide adequate services to meet these requirements. People with disabilities also need to be able to access public buildings and facilities without discrimination.


Transparency means being open about what happens. Citizens must know how their tax dollars are spent so that they have confidence in the efficiency of government programs.

Members of the press play an essential role in enhancing transparency by reporting on issues related to human rights, including corruption and abuse.


Human rights require no one to accept his or her fate passively. There is always something each person can do to protect himself or herself from violations of human rights.

The key is to understand your responsibilities. Furthermore, you may not be able to control other people’s actions, but you can make sure that you don’t violate other peoples’ rights yourself.