Human Rights Basics

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Human Rights - Declarations and Conventions

Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Spanish 09 2456M originalEleanor Roosevelt and the UDHR in 1948

Human Rights are simple.  

    • Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status.

    • We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination.

    • Human Rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

    • Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law , general principles and other sources of international law.

    • International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.


Adapted from website the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights


Declarations and Conventions

While there are many Human Rights Declarations and Conventions*,  the key Human Rights documents are:

HRLogo   The Universal Declaration of Human Rights    

The Text of the UDHR

HRLogo    Convention on the Rights of the Child     

HRLogo    Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Wome

HRLogo    Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 

HRLogo    Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

HRLogo   International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families

HRLogo  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

HRLogo   International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


 * A Declaration is not a legally binding document, but a Convention or Covenant are upon the signatory countries, once they have been ratified by their national parliament.  Governments then have to put the convention or covenant into their national laws from that point on.  There is no time limit or prescribed way to do this.  In the UK we tend to put different aspects of conventions into the relevant legistation.