What Are Human Rights?
Human rights are universally accepted norms for the basic human rights of individuals and are practiced every day in the workplace, in education and society in general. However human rights have sometimes been challenged on different fronts, for example in the Middle East where some argue that it is not human rights but religious law which has precedence over universal human rights principles. When we talk of human rights we refer to the right to human dignity, freedom, security and a decent standard of life. These rights originate from the universal human rights declared at the international human rights conferences with reference to the human dignity of the person, the right to peaceful expression, freedom of speech and religion and the right to work, and protection against bodily harm and violence. They are also reflected in the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights and the declaration on the Rights of the Child.
Many people argue that human rights are dependent upon the universal moral rights, and that those universal moral rights cannot be modified because once you add a particular right it automatically entails the others. This is not so because the human rights were stated so that everybody could enjoy them. The universal moral rights exist to be freedoms of speech, religion, press, public opinion, fair trial and protection from bodily harm and violence. These are the fundamental rights that guarantee equal right to an equal degree of social protection. In other words, they protect your human rights against discrimination, harassment and violence based on race, sex, age, disability, national origin or any other criterion.
So what do human rights actually mean? The universal moral rights imply the human rights of freedom, privacy, security, equal rights, responsibility, respect, etc. These rights in themselves are not enough to establish human rights, they are dependent upon other conditions that are observed in the society, for example the social institution like marriage and family, rules of the country, the legal system, etc. If these conditions are not satisfied then these rights do not mean anything.
So as we can see human rights originate from universal moral laws and then human rights are individual rights that come according to the condition of the society in which they are protected. Every human right is dependent on these other individual rights. Now let us discuss how these rights can be violated. For example, the right to privacy is violated when your data is collected by third parties. When the government starts using its power to collect personal information about its citizens then the right to privacy is violated.
Another way is to physically violate these human rights. In addition, certain countries and cultures do not accept certain types of behaviors. For example, most of them do not tolerate homosexuality. Therefore, if a person, who belongs to such a culture, is found committing gay marriage then he can be penalized.
However, the greatest threat to human rights is the ignorance of people. We are living in a world where television, internet and mass media has created a world where everything is possible. If something is happening somewhere on earth, then you can find out about it at any point of time. Human rights are supposed to be universal but it seems that this right is getting endangered very fast. Time to stand up and defend these values!