The Big Picture

Government of Liberia Bureau of Immigration officials register asylum-seekers from Côte d’Ivoire in the town of Loguatuo, in Nimba County. © UNICEF/NYHQ2010-2753/Bill Diggs


What are human rights? 

Human rights are fundamental rights and freedoms to which every human being is entitled. These rights include individual, political, civil, spiritual, social, economic and cultural rights that help us to develop to our fullest potential.

Human rights are universal – they apply to all people, everywhere. You do not have human rights because of your citizenship, race, sex, language, or religion, but because you are a human being. They are also indivisible – no rights are more important than others. You cannot be granted only some rights, while others are denied.

How did rights come about? 

The concept of human rights has been around for a long time, and we can trace ideas about universal human rights back to ancient cultures, the world’s major religions, and many philosophers. But it was not until 1948 and the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that we got an internationally recognized definition of these rights.

In 1945, after the Second World War, world leaders gathered in San Francisco with the goal of creating a global organization that would work for peace and promote cooperation between countries. There, the United Nations was founded with a Charter (a guiding document) that committed all member states to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion."

However, many people felt that a better definition of human rights was needed – something that would make it clear for to governments, the United Nations and all people what having human rights actually are. In 1946, the United Nations established a committee to look into this, and after two years of drafting and negotiating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted.

What rights do people have? 

The Declaration contains a preamble and 30 articles that spell out the rights of all people. They cover: 
  • Individual rights – you have the right to life and liberty, to be free from slavery and torture, and equality before the law. 
  • Civil and political rights – you have the right to a nationality, to freedom of movement, to form a family and to own property. 
  • Spiritual and public rights – you have the right to freedom of thought and religion, to freedom of opinion and expression, and to access public services. 
  • Economic, social and cultural rights – you have to the right to an adequate standard of living, to get an education, to work and to participate in cultural activities. 

The Declaration in itself is not a legally binding document, but it has become what is known as “customary international law”. That is, when enough states begin to behave as though something is law, it becomes law "by use." The Declaration is also the foundation for a number of human rights treaties that have been adopted since 1948, for example the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

You can read more about the Declaration and other human rights treaties on the website of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/

The word feminist

Over time the word feminist has gained a different definition in many people's eyes. Some think feminism means man hating, but the definition in Merriam- Webster Dictionary is "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities". That is saying we do not...

read more

Talking About A Revolution Currently Does Sound Like A Whisper

3 days ago I was having a conversation with 2 friends(A and B); and in typical gossip fashion, a particular guy's name pops up... friend A blurts out that she found out he was gay from another friend; then friend B says she had a feeling he was. She went on to say (friend B), that it's very...

read more


You Are A Miracle

MIRACLES! How many people did you touch today? How many people did your eyes see today?...

read more

Police Brutality in New york

In recent years there has been an increase in cases pertaining to police brutality and the mistreatment of citizens of color and of particular descent. This shines a light upon the social standards of today and the morals of the men and women that protect our streets and neighborhoods. These...

read more


This Should Be the Norm

Imagine: you're sitting in first period when you realize that you really have to pee. Your teacher...

read more

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xaf1/t31.0-8/10604691_10152750727419002_2884826097121166830_o.jpg

Source: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xaf1/t31.0-8/10604691_10152750...

25 years of children's rights

Next Thursday, 20 November 2014, marks the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the C...

read more


Human Rights in 2014

Human Rights are the principles that should be guaranteed to every person regardless of sex, age, income level, or race. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was ratified on December 16, 1949 by the UN, after the atrocities committed during World War II. It was the first global e...

read more

Minimum Wage

A minimum wage is an hourly wage rate that is set by law. As of early 2010, the minimum wage in th...

read more


Youth (un)employment

Employment is an essential topic in public policy because for many a job is much more than a salar...

read more

A Lack of Cultural Understanding

With the international tensions that are going on these days, I feel the need to write this article. These days, I feel like people pay more attention to politics a little more than culture. People pay more attention to any governments' bad actions, thinking that it reflects people's beliefs. Peopl...

read more


show more