What are human rights and what do they mean?

Each of us, regardless of our gender, race, religion, or nationality are entitled to 25 human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As Article 1 in the declaration states, we are all born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Your right to life means that nobody has the right to end your life.

Everyone has freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. No matter what the circumstances are, you are free from any form of torture. It also means that you may not be treated in a manner that is extremely humiliating and degrading.

Freedom from slavery and servitude means that nobody may enslave you or hold you in servitude where you have no freedom. This also means that people cannot be treated as property as slaves were in the past, nor can people be forced to do labour by the use of violence or other punishment.

The right to recognition as a person before the law entitles every person to legal protection.

Being equal before the law means that we are all to be treated equally in the eyes of the law.

You should have access to justice or legal help to seek effective remedy if your rights have been violated.

You also have freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile which means that nobody may wrongfully arrest or force you to leave your country.

We all enjoy the right to a fair and public hearing for trials.

The legal principle of being assumed innocent until proven guilty is in fact a human right. Further, you are protected from retroactive laws that holds you guilty or impose a heavier penalty for an act that occurred before the law existed.

We each enjoy the right to privacy which means that nobody may enter our homes without permission and it also includes the right to protect our reputation and name.

Everyone has the freedom of movement – we are all allowed to move freely within our country or to leave our country and be allowed to return later.

The right to asylum from persecution allows everyone who are being persecuted in their country to seek asylum in another country.

Everyone has the right to nationality as well as to change nationalities.

We have the right to marriage as long as there is full informed consent between the adults to be wed. We also have the right to divorce our spouses.

The right to own property means that we may own things and they may not be taken away from us without a reason.

The freedom of thought, conscience and religion refers to our right to freely practice and manifest our religion.

The freedom of expression allows everyone to say what they would wish to say. However, this right is subject to limitations which is why hate speech is not protected under the freedom of expression.

You have the freedom of peaceful assembly which means that you may organise and participate in peaceful demonstrations.

The right to take part in the government means that you have the right to get involved in your country’s political affairs, such as by voting at the elections or by writing to your representative.

Your right to social security allows you access to gain access to assistance or aid that is provided by your government.

The right to work is your right to work at a job and to freely choose your employer. It also protects your rights to a fair and equal wage, to freely join trade unions, and protects you from unemployment.

Your right to leisure entitles you to breaks, rest days and holidays.

The right to an adequate standard of living means that everyone has the right to have food, clothing, housing, medical care, and access to other social services.

Everyone has the right to education regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality, or any other status. This also means that parents have the right to choose where their children are to be educated.

The right to participate in the cultural life of the community is your right to be a part of your community’s culture, arts, and sciences.

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