This is My Home A Minnesota Human Rights Experience
What are Human Rights?

What are Human Rights?

Human rights are the rights a person has
simply because he or she is a human being.

Human rights are held by all persons equally, universally, and forever.

Human rights are inalienable: you cannot lose these rights any more than you can cease being a human being.

Human rights are indivisible: you cannot be denied a right because it is "less important" or "non-essential." Human rights are interdependent: all human rights are part of a complementary framework. For example, your ability to participate in your government is directly affected by your right to express yourself, to get an education, and even to obtain the necessities of life.

Another definition for human rights is those basic standards without which people cannot live in dignity. To violate someone's human rights is to treat that person as though she or he were not a human being. To advocate human rights is to demand that the human dignity of all people be respected.

In claiming these human rights, everyone also accepts the responsibility not to infringe on the rights of others and to support those whose rights are abused or denied.

Human Rights as Inspiration and Empowerment

Human rights are both inspirational and practical. Human rights principles hold up the vision of a free, just, and peaceful world and set minimum standards for how individuals and institutions everywhere should treat people. Human rights also empower people with a framework for action when those minimum standards are not met, for people still have human rights even if the laws or those in power do not recognize or protect them.

We experience our human rights every day in the United States when we worship according to our belief, or choose not to worship at all; when we debate and criticize government policies; when we join a trade union; when we travel to other parts of the country or overseas. Although we usually take these actions for granted, people both here and in other countries do not enjoy all these liberties equally. Human rights violations also occur everyday in this country when a parent abuses a child, when a family is homeless, when a school provides inadequate education, when women are paid less than men, or when one person steals from another.

Foundations of Human Rights

Defining Human Rights

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Human Rights: A History

Human Rights Resource Center, University of Minnesota

"Rights" As a General Topic

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Human Rights and International Communities

Human Rights Resource Center, University of Minnesota

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights

Human Rights Timelines and Movements

National Center for Human Rights Education

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Human Rights Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

United Nations Association in Canada

United Nations

Further Human Rights Resources

Human Rights Library, University of Minnesota

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Human Rights Glossaries

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln