What are human rights?

Topic Selected: Human Rights

General Article icon Type: General Article

Human rights belong to every member of the human family regardless of sex, race, nationality, socio-economic group, political opinion, sexual orientation or any other status.

Human rights are universal. They apply to all people simply on the basis of being human.

Human rights are inalienable. They cannot be taken away simply because we do not like the person seeking to exercise their rights. They can only be limited in certain tightly-defined circumstances and some rights, such as the prohibition on torture and slavery, can never be limited.

Human rights are indivisible. You cannot pick and choose which rights you want to honour. Many rights depend on each other to be meaningful – so, for example, the right to fair trial would be meaningless without the prohibition on discrimination, and the right to free speech must go hand in hand with the right to assemble peacefully.

Human rights are owed by the State to the people – this means public bodi

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