There is still much debate about human rights, but fortunately, we all agree on the definition and some defining characteristics of the term. In the following few paragraphs, we bring you the answers to all the most important questions, as answered by the United Nations representatives.
All human beings have their basic human rights, regardless of sex, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or any other defining characteristic. These human rights are universal, inalienable, interdependent, indivisible, equal and non-discriminatory. But what does all this mean?
The fact that human rights are universal and inalienable means that we all possess them and that they cannot be taken away from us. This is the basis of our international law that was devised in 1948 and that can be read as part of the well-known Universal Declaration.
Interdependency and indivisibility of human rights rest on the claim that we cannot respect any one human right while ignoring the rest. This means that we have to keep in mind all the basic rights, as well as social, economic and cultural rights. For example, we have the right to life, the right to work, the right to freedom of expression and many others.
Our human rights also guarantee that we aren’t discriminated against based on any of the categories that define us, such as sex or race. But human rights in general presuppose some obligations as well. As individuals, we have the right to be treated just as any other individual would be, but we also have the obligation to do the same for others.
The Universal Declaration is one of the most important documents dealing with human rights in general. As we’ve already mentioned, it was adopted in 1948. It was devised by people with different social backgrounds so as to avoid any discriminating tendencies in the Declaration itself. Since 1948, it has been translated into over 500 different languages, and remains the authoritative text on human rights in general.