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Human Rights - In Depth

What are Human Rights?

There are several key concepts that underpin human rights. Firstly, everyone, everywhere is equally entitled to human rights, meaning that human rights are universal.


Secondly, human rights should not be taken away from people, which makes them inalienable. There are exceptions in specific situations, but any restriction must be determined and implemented according to due process; for example the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law.


Thirdly, the enjoyment of one or several human rights also depends on the enjoyment of other human rights, for example being able to access decent work is also linked with access to adequate housing. The concept means that human rights are indivisible and interdependent. Therefore, making progress in access to certain rights (such as the right to freedom of assembly) can facilitate the exercise of other rights, while the violation of some rights (for example, the right to education) can negatively impact the exercise of many other rights.


Additionally, under international law, States have obligations and duties to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.


  • The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or
    curtailing the enjoyment of human rights.
  • The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against
    human rights abuses.
  • The obligation to fulfill means that States must take positive action to facilitate the
    enjoyment of basic human rights.


Meanwhile, as individuals, while we are entitled to our human rights, we should also respect and stand up for the human rights of others.

Where Do Human Rights Come from?

A short video on the history, content and ongoing significance of the UDHR is available below in English.