Human rights are the rights that we basically have for existing as human beings; they are not guaranteed by any state. These universal rights are inherent to all of us, regardless of nationality, gender, ethnic or national origin, colour, religion, language or any other status. They range from the most fundamental —the right to life— to those that give value to our lives, such as the rights to food, education, work, health and freedom.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, was the first legal document to establish universal protection of fundamental human rights turned 70 in 2018, it remains the foundation of all international human rights law. Its 30 articles offer the principles and blocks of current and future human rights conventions, treaties and other legal instruments.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, together with the two covenants – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – make up the International Bill of Human Rights.
Universal and Inalienable
The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This assumes that we all have the same right to enjoy human rights. This principle, as first emphasize in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is repeat in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations and resolutions.
Human rights are inalienable. They should not be remove, except in specific situations and in accordance with an appropriate procedure. For example, the right to liberty may be restrict if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law.
Indivisible and Interdependent
All human rights are indivisible and interdependent. This means that one set of rights cannot be fully enjoy without the others. For example, advancing civil and political rights facilitates the exercise of economic, social and cultural rights. Similarly, the violation of economic, social and cultural rights can have a negative impact on many other rights.
Fair and Non-Discriminatory
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes that: “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The absence of discrimination, established in article 2, is what guarantees this equality.
Non-discrimination transcends all international human rights law. This principle is present in the main human rights treaties. Likewise, it is the central theme of two fundamental instruments: the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Rights and Obligations
All States have ratified at least 1 of the 9 basic human rights treaties, as well as 1 of the 9 optional protocols. 80% of States have ratified 4 or more. This means that States have obligations and duties under international law to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.
- The obligation to respect them means that States must refrain from interfering with or limiting the enjoyment of human rights.
- The obligation to protect them requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights violations.
- The obligation to fulfill them implies that States must adopt positive measures to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights.
Meanwhile, as individuals, while we are entitle to enjoy our human rights, we must also respect and uphold the human rights of other people.
Observation and Care of Human Rights
At present, despite the fact that specific intergovernmental institutions have been create to ensure these tasks, such as the UN Human Rights Council; There are also International Non-Governmental Organizations whose purpose is the protection of Human Rights. And it is that, the work carry out by organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) or Amnesty International in the defense and protection of human rights, as well as in the study of the state of the rights of men and women throughout the world, has come to convert them as a reference for knowledge of the current situation.
We must clarify here that the existence and proliferation of these non-governmental organizations is due in large part to non-compliance by States in various parts of the world with the agreements proposed by the UDHR. This can be clearly seen in regions such as Africa or the Middle East where civil wars have cause millions of deaths and conflicts involve a permanent struggle for better living conditions. For example, it is estimate that in Syria the death toll from the civil war in which the government is involve exceeds 500,000.
Thus, we can explain the importance of human rights, going a step further, as the fundamental value of the World Society, on which the rest of the rights rest and are structure. It is from them and their fulfillment that we can approach healthier, more humane and respectful ways of life, with greater tolerance and harmony among nations. For this reason, and for the system to have meaning and form, we must safeguard among all, the continuity of the rights where they are recognize through their Constitutions, but above all, the mission of these institutions must seek the extension and effective application of these rights there where even today their existence is not known.
In conclusion, we highlight Human Rights, not only from the relevance that they have acquire at the legal level in Western democracies, but also as the substrate on which humanity must be nurture, trying to preserve them, for those who were lucky enough to be born where They are not recognize or respect.