Types of Human Rights
Human rights belong to every person on the planet. They are inherent to people and cannot be lost, though some may be temporarily suspended in particular circumstances.
People can disagree about what should be included on a list of human rights and about universal moral rights, but almost everyone agrees that not all actions are acceptable.
Freedom of Religion
The freedom of religion is one of the most important human rights and is guaranteed by international law. It protects people from being forced to believe or practise a particular religion and also from being coerced into leaving their own faith.
It is considered to be a fundamental right for all people and is not subject to derogation (an exception allowed in human rights law). However, the freedom of religion does not prevent governments from taking action to protect life or property in cases of emergency or in the interests of national security.
Human rights belong to each individual and are indivisible – meaning that denying a person one right can affect all of their other rights. This is because human rights are interdependent and connected, as outlined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This means that civil and political rights cannot be taken away without affecting other rights such as the right to live with dignity.
Freedom to Love
On the surface, it might seem that love has little to do with human rights. After all, we have a right to freedom of speech, religion and assembly. We also have a right to private property, fair trial and education.
However, the core international human rights treaties – the UDHR and its related Geneva Conventions – make reference to family life and love as part of a person’s fundamental human dignity. For example, the preamble to the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children should grow up ‘in an atmosphere of love and understanding’.
It is important to remember that while human rights are universal and indivisible, they cannot be taken for granted. Some human rights are contested by proponents of cultural relativism, such as female genital mutilation and the death penalty. Nevertheless, these should not interfere with the broader human rights of all people. For this reason, it is vital to work together to protect all of our rights and freedoms.
Freedom to Assemble
The right to freedom of assembly, which includes the right to protest peacefully, is one of our most fundamental human rights. It’s guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties. Governments can restrict your rights to free assembly and association when action is ‘proportionate to protect national security, public safety, health, ethics or the rights and freedoms of others’.
Effective protection of the right to freedom of assembly strengthens democracies and enables non-violent debate on important issues, such as government policies and actions. It also enables people to hold those with power to account.
As humans, we all share the same basic human rights – they are inalienable, indivisible and interdependent. These rights belong to every person, and are only valid when they’re respected by everyone else. They’re a standard of respect for humanity, and governments have an obligation to uphold them. This means that all citizens have the right to call governments to account when they don’t live up to this standard.
Freedom from Corruption
In the foundational rights theory of John Locke, as in cross-cultural intellectual traditions such as Chinese Confucianism and Islamic Jurisprudence, freedom from official corruption is regarded as a fundamental obligation owed by governments to their citizens. It trumps other policy considerations and its violation is a grave affront to justice.
However, this right is often contested with relativistic arguments – as are others, such as the right to be free of female genital mutilation (defended by some in the name of culture but broadly condemned) and the death penalty.
Many states have made formal commitments to respect human rights by ratifying the major international treaties and conventions – thereby agreeing to be bound by the general principles they set out. Yet, in practice, there are significant obstacles to achieving human rights standards. They range from an impoverished understanding of what rights mean to the deliberate misrepresentation of commitments in order to achieve political goals or gain advantage.