Skip to main content
What We DoOur ImpactOur HistoryDream TeamCommunity PartnersFAQsVideos
Calendar of EventsVolunteersDonateNewsEducator Resource Center
Service Hub

Service Hub

Human Rights

What are human rights? 

Human rights are rights that belong to all people, regardless of their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status .  All people are entitled to certain things, simply because they are human.  Being able to have and share your own opinions, to live in a safe place and to have an education are all examples of human rights.  Human rights apply to all people, without discrimination.

When did human rights become an issue?

From the beginning of early human societies, human rights were not considered important.  Most people in the world lived as slaves and had no rights.  Over many centuries, human civilizations began to see things differently and leaders began to provide more rights to the people in their nations.  An important step for human rights occurred after World War II, when the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created.  This document provides a list of 30 different rights that are to be guaranteed to all humans across the world.

Why do human rights exist?

These rights exist for your protection against people who might want to hurt you or take away these rights.  They are also there to help us get along with each other.  Human rights are the building blocks for a world with freedom, justice, and peace.

What happens when people ignore human rights?

Unfortunately, there are many examples across the world and in America where human rights are not being honored.  When people ignore human rights, problems can occur such as discrimination, unfair or harmful treatment of others, and even slavery can occur.  It is important that everyone is aware of their human rights so they can stand up for their own rights as well as the rights of others. 

Learn More

Video: What Are Human Rights?The Universal Declaration of Human RightsThe United Nations Office on Human Rights(PDF) Books on this topic