What are human rights?

We explain what human rights are and what their origin is. In addition, its importance and a list of these rights.

  1. What are human rights?

When we talk about human rights or the fundamental rights of the human being, we refer to the set of inherent rights, proper to the human condition . In other words, to the rights with which any person is born and regardless of race, nationality, social class, religion , gender or any other possible distinction.

Human rights are enshrined in the laws of all nations and international treaties, they are indivisible, interdependent, inalienable and universal . This means that they must be fully fulfilled (and not partially), that all must always be fulfilled, that they cannot be taken away from anyone for any reason and that they apply to all human beings without distinction. These rights, in addition, would be above any type of legal system.

In fact, there are international institutions of global scope that ensure the preservation of human rights and can promote sanctions for countries where they are not given due attention. The violation of human rights is considered a crime that does not prescribe and must be prosecuted worldwide.

However, the theory of human rights is not always fully complied with, and in today’s complex political world there are many situations that prevent it. Cultural resistance, political convenience or loss of faith in the values behind these rights are some of those reasons.

Currently, all the states in the world have signed at least one of the numerous treaties regarding universal human rights, and 80% of the countries have signed about four of them. If this trend increases, a more egalitarian and more just future could be assumed for human generations to come.

  1. Origin of human rights

Human rights
More recent treaties address specific issues such as children’s rights.

Human rights were proclaimed for the first time during the French Revolution of 1789 , under the title “Declaration of the rights of man in society”; although in reality they were the first firm step of a long cultural process that has roots in the different conceptions of “human dignity” rooted in western and eastern cultures.

The American Revolution, subsequently, followed the guidelines of “freedom, equality, fraternity” of the French revolutionaries, in favor of founding a more egalitarian nation, although the slavery of blacks remained an outstanding item on the list.

The birth of the United Nations Organization (UN) , at the end of World War II , gave way to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), an attempt to lay the foundations of a world social order.

Subsequently, various treaties on the subject were approved, such as the European Convention on Human Rights (1950), the International Covenants on Human Rights (1966) and the American Convention on Human Rights (1969). More recent treaties address specific issues such as the rights of children and adolescents, or persons with disabilities.

  1. List of human rights

Human rights
Every individual has the right to live, to freedom and personal security.

The rights enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights are thirty. Some of the main ones are:

  • All human beings are born free and equal, in dignity and rights. Gifted as they are of reason and conscience, they must behave fraternally with one another.
  • Everyone has all the rights and freedoms proclaimed in this Declaration, without distinction of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic position, birth or any other condition.
  • Every individual has the right to live, to freedom and personal security.
  • No one may be subject to slavery or servitude. Slavery and the slave trade are prohibited in all its forms.
  • No one will be subjected to torture or harassment, punishment or treatment that is cruel, inhuman or degrading.
  • All human beings have the right to recognition of their legal personality wherever they are.
  • All human beings are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection of the law, without distinctions of any kind.
  • All human beings have the right to equal protection against any form of discrimination that violates the provisions of this Declaration and against any provocation to such discrimination.
  • Everyone has the right to the protection of the competent national courts, and to legal protection against acts that violate their fundamental rights recognized in the constitution or in the law.
  • No human being may be arbitrarily detained, imprisoned or banished.
  • Everyone has the right to be heard publicly and fairly by an independent and impartial tribunal, for the determination of their rights and obligations or for the examination of any accusation against them in criminal matters.

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