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What are human rights?

Human rights are the rights a person has simply because he or she is a human being. They are basic standards without which people cannot live in dignity and which provide a common standard by which people should treat each other.

To violate someone’s human rights is to treat that person as though she or he were not a human being. To advocate human rights is to demand that the human dignity of all people be respected.

Human rights are held by all persons equally, universally, and forever.

Human rights are inalienable: you cannot lose these rights any more than you can cease being a human being.

Human rights are indivisible: you cannot be denied a right because it is “less important” or “non-essential.”

Human rights are interdependent: all human rights are part of a complementary framework. For example, your ability to participate in your government is directly affected by your right to express yourself, to get an education, and even to obtain the necessities of life.

In claiming these human rights, everyone also accepts the responsibility not to infringe on the rights of others and to support those whose rights are abused or denied.