What Are Human Rights?

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Human rights are a fundamental human right. They are not just any set of rights; they are the most fundamental set of values that are applicable to all people, no matter what their nationality, religion, or ancestry. The American Anthropological Association issued the Statement on Human Rights in 1947, and it has remained an important reference point ever since. It is important to remember that the idea of human rights is not about equality but about respect for differences and the effort to achieve them.

While this attribution to God might give human rights a metaphysically secure status, it does not guarantee practical security. This is because billions of people do not worship the God of Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. To convince people of the rights-supporting theological view, a legal framework is necessary. A legal framework, however, provides more security for human rights. So, attributions of human rights to God may not be necessary, but they are helpful.

While a majority of human rights treaties focus on protecting the rights of individuals, some treaties focus on protecting vulnerable groups. Indigenous peoples, children, and minorities often face a number of challenges. While many people may agree with these values, they may not understand the implications of enacting them. Some countries have a clear policy that tries to protect these groups. A major concern about human rights is the possibility of enslavement, and slavery is not the only example of abuse.

While some political movements, political parties, and social and economic players use the language of human rights without a commitment to achieving their objectives. These actors often criticise human rights violations committed by others while failing to uphold their own standards. Some may argue that a double standard is the case, and in fact, the lack of adherence to human rights standards is problematic. In addition to the agnostic use of language to justify human rights, some governments misrepresent them.

Some human rights are not feasible to achieve. For example, social rights, such as the right to education and protection for health and equality, are expensive to implement. Most governments will not be able to provide these rights. This is why rights are not magically supplied. Despite the positive impact of human rights, the right to protect one’s own personal liberty cannot be fully achieved. So, what rights do we have in place? They are not a guarantee of a better life.

The universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Bill of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have become essential foundations of modern human rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR were signed in 1976. These human rights treaties are ratified by a majority of countries. By signing these treaties, countries are voluntarily bound to follow their obligations under international human rights law.