human rights | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: General Term

Human rights are universal, inalienable, indivisible entitlements that recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every human being and are enforceable through legal means.

Human rights are a set of inherent and inalienable entitlements that are universally applicable to all individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, or any other characteristic. These rights are considered fundamental because they recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every human being and protect their essential interests and freedoms. They are not privileges granted by the government or society but are inherent to all individuals by virtue of their humanity.

The concept of human rights is rooted in the idea of natural law, which holds that every human being possesses inherent rights that cannot be taken away. The idea of human rights has evolved over time, with various legal and ethical frameworks developing to codify and protect these rights. These frameworks include international treaties, national constitutions, and judicial decisions.

Human rights can be categorized into civil and political rights, economic, social, and cultural rights, and collective rights. Civil and political rights include the right to life, freedom from torture, the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, and freedom of association. Economic, social, and cultural rights include the right to work, education, healthcare, and social security. Collective rights are those held by groups, including minority rights and the rights of indigenous peoples.

The concept of human rights is founded on several core principles. First, they are universal and apply to all individuals without exception. Second, they are interdependent and indivisible. This means that civil and political rights are equally important as economic, social, and cultural rights and that the violation of one right can have a cascading effect on other rights. Third, they are inalienable and cannot be taken away or surrendered by individuals. Fourth, they are non-discriminatory and apply to all individuals regardless of their characteristics or circumstances. Finally, human rights are enforceable through legal and other means.

The protection and promotion of these rights are the responsibility of both governments and individuals. Governments have the obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill these rights, including through the enactment and enforcement of laws and policies that ensure the realization of these rights. Individuals have the responsibility to respect the human rights of others and to hold their governments accountable for the protection and promotion of these rights.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 04/26/2023


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