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What are Human Rights?

Human Rights are essential to every human being, in all aspects of daily life. They are not “extra” rights conferred by a supranational body of organizations and treaties, rather they are the most fundamental rights required for each and every individual’s survival.


It is true, there is no set-standard of Human Rights across the globe. However, the international community has worked hard to define them. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is generally considered the benchmark document and has aided the understanding, as well as the creation, of a broader framework on Human Rights. The UDHR, along with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, have formed a solid bedrock of diverse international Human Rights treaties, each reinforcing and protecting different types of Human Rights (for example, the prohibition against torture is articulated in the above-mentioned treaties, but the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is specifically dedicated to it).  All of these rights are not only found in the supranational system of international law, but are found in domestic Constitutions, laws and codes. Human Rights are based upon the principles of human dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence.


Upon these rest true Human Rights. They include different “sets” of rights that vary from being political (non-exhaustively, the freedoms of thought, of opinion, of religion and of peaceful association), to social (non-inclusively, the right to life, education, housing, family) and legal (again non-exhaustively, the rights to a fair trial, to be represented and to be judged before the law).






Hence, Human Rights are an overarching concept that includes diverse “types” of rights.  All of these are an intrinsic spiderweb of rights that ought to be respected and promoted, to support not only each individual’s well-being but the fostering of the international community.

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