Human Rights – Concept, origin and list of rights

We explain what human rights are and what their origin is. In addition, its importance and a list of these rights.

Human rights
Human rights are enshrined in the laws of all nations.

What are human rights?

When we speak of human rights or the fundamental rights of the human being, we refer to the set of inherent rights of the human condition. In other words, to the rights with which they are born and to every person, regardless of their race, nationality, social class, religion, gender or any other type of possible distinction.

Human rights are enshrined in the laws of all nations and international treaties, they are indivisible, interdependent, inalienable and universal. This means that they must be fulfilled in their entirety (and not partially), that they must all always be fulfilled, that they cannot be taken from anyone for any reason and that they apply to all human beings without distinction. These rights, moreover, would be above any type of legal system.

In fact, there are international institutions of global reach that ensure the preservation of human rights and can promote sanctions for countries where they are not given due attention. The violation of human rights is considered a crime that it does not prescribe and that it must be pursued worldwide.

However, the theory of human rights is not always fully complied with, and in today’s complex political world there are many situations that prevent it. Cultural resistance, political expediency or loss of faith in the values ​​behind these rights are some of those reasons.

Currently, all the states of the world have signed at least one of the numerous treaties regarding universal human rights, and 80% of the countries have signed around four of them. If this trend increases, a more equal and just future could be assumed for human generations to come.

Origin of human rights

Human rights
More recent treaties address specific issues such as the rights of the child.

Human rights were first proclaimed during the French Revolution of 1789, under the title “Declaration of the rights of man in society”; although in reality they were the first firm step in a long cultural process that has roots in the different conceptions of “human dignity” rooted in Western and Eastern cultures.

The American Revolution subsequently followed the “liberty, equality, fraternity” guidelines of the French revolutionaries in order to found a more egalitarian nation, although black slavery remained a pending item on the list.

The birth of the United Nations (UN), at the end of the Second World War, gave way to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), an attempt to lay the foundations of a world social order.

Subsequently, various treaties on the subject were approved, such as the European Convention on Human Rights (1950), the International Covenants on Human Rights (1966) and the American Convention on Human Rights (1969). More recent treaties address specific issues such as the rights of children and adolescents, or of people with disabilities.

List of human rights

Human rights
Every individual has the right to life, liberty and personal security.

There are thirty rights enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights. Some of the main ones are:

  • All human beings are born free and equal, in dignity and rights. Endowed as they are with reason and conscience, they should behave fraternally with one another.
  • Everyone has all the rights and freedoms proclaimed in this Declaration, without distinction as to race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic position, birth or any other condition.
  • Every individual has the right to life, liberty and personal security.
  • No one may be subjected to slavery or servitude. Slavery and the slave trade are prohibited in all their forms.
  • No one shall be subjected to torture or harassment, punishment or treatment that is cruel, inhuman or degrading.
  • All human beings have the right to recognition of their legal personality wherever they are.
  • All human beings are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law, without distinctions of any kind.
  • All human beings have the right to equal protection against all forms of discrimination that violate the provisions of this Declaration and against any provocation to such discrimination.
  • Everyone has the right to the protection of the competent national courts, and to legal protection against acts that violate their fundamental rights recognized in the constitution or in the law.
  • No human being may be arbitrarily detained, imprisoned or exiled.
  • Every person has the right to be heard publicly and fairly by an independent and impartial court, for the determination of his rights and obligations or for the examination of any accusation against him in criminal matters.