Home > Human Rights > How are Human Rights Protected?

How are Human Rights Protected?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 31 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
Human Rights basic Rights human

Human rights, the rights attributed to human beings simply because they are human beings, are an internationally recognised concept. These rights are acknowledged as universal (that is, shared by all people regardless of age, race, sex, religion, location, or any other factor) and include such basic rights as life, free speech, freedom of religion/worship, freedom from torture or inhumane treatment, education and work, an adequate standard of living and housing, fair trials and the ability to participate in social, cultural and political activities. Human rights are protected in a variety of ways, including in international treaties, national legislation and by watchdog organisations.

Human Rights and International Treaties

The foundation of most international human rights law is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which was passed unanimously by the United Nations in December, 1948. This document was reaffirmed, again unanimously, at the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights in 1993. In addition to the UDHR, the United Nations also works a treaty system on human rights which includes seven other treaties:
  1. the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1969)
  2. the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976)
  3. the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1976)
  4. the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1981)
  5. the Convention Against Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1987)
  6. the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990)
  7. the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (2003)
In Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) was adopted by the Council of Europe in 1950.

Human Rights and United Kingdom Legislation

In the United Kingdom, the Human Rights Act of 1998 was adopted to reinforce the UK's commitment to human rights and to make it possible for cases concerning human rights to be heard in UK courts rather than having to be taken to Strasbourg before the European Court of Human Rights. The Human Rights Act of 1998 is in force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Scotland Act 1998 also guarantees that the Scottish Executive and Scottish Parliament can not do anything contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Human Rights Organisations

Unfortunately, treaties and legislation do not always protect human rights as they should. In response to breaches of human rights across the world, a variety of organisations have developed to help watch over international practices and to raise the alarm when human rights are not respected. Amnesty International, Liberty and Justice are just a few such organisations which operate in the United Kingdom. Though these groups are unable to actually enforce human rights laws, or to stop breaches of human rights when they occur, they can document the breaches, increase public awareness of the situations and even create media attention on certain matters. For further information on the work done by a particular organisation, how to assist a particular organisation or how to become a part of any such organisation, please visit the official website.

Human rights are acknowledged as universal around the world, though unfortunately they still need protecting. International treaties, national legislation and a variety of watchdog organisations all help to protect human rights around the globe.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • mics
    Re: Questionnaire: Experienced Discrimination School?
    hello Good morning my name is Mico john Hernander 17 years old from manila. Im so happy to make comment…
    12 August 2019
  • Lala
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    Senior management.. often scream and shout at the team. Things not investigated before the blame game starts. Staff behaviours…
    13 July 2019
  • Ali
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    I work at M&S Distribution Centre in the East Midlands and only started working there since the beginning of May 2019, previously…
    8 July 2019
  • Jas
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    Hey I have had trouble at my work I had my manger pull down my shorts at work I then put a grievance in about because I wasn’t…
    18 June 2019
  • Jas
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    Hey I have had trouble at my work I had my manger pull down my shorts at work I then put a grievance in about because I wasn’t…
    18 June 2019
  • Jake250
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    Is my boss aloud to swear and shout down the phone at me? He was quite foul and threatened my job , I’ve worked for the company…
    5 June 2019
  • Donna
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    My area manager in my chemist where I work never felt so disgusted in my life and to be treated in that way is just shocking. I'm…
    13 May 2019
  • Coley
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    Are managers legally aloud to scream shout at people making them feel scared and uneasy, and are they allowed to push and pester…
    3 August 2018
  • Mickey
    Re: Confronting Indirect Racism
    Hectoring jus because you have ethnic minorities in your extended family does not make you less racist. Just as much as a man being…
    31 March 2018
  • Nikki84
    Re: Your Rights in the Workplace
    I am a mobile care and support worker my supervisor rang me to ask a question I was polite she was polite 1 minute later my…
    27 February 2018