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What Are Human Rights?

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Written By: Lindsay H. | SOS International

 

Regardless of the things that make us different such as ethnicity or gender, human rights are given freely to every person. The complexity of this topic does not go unnoticed and it cannot be understated. However, there is a simple truth that always remains, life matters. Full stop. For all of the complex definitions that exist with the phrase “human rights,” it boils down to this: As a human, your life is valuable. You are born with certain rights, basic truths that cannot be taken away from you. 

This begs the question, “why do these rights matter?”  Well, human rights matter because life matters. But, let’s take it one step further. As time progresses, and sovereign nations face issues that cross borders and affect other countries, it’s important that we globally have an agreed-upon view of how to interact with other human beings. What is considered to be the fair and proper treatment of other humans? What basic principles should be agreed upon that guarantee the health and life of all people? While we don’t have the time to cover all 30 of the articles written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I want to point out a few that are truly poignant. (It also should be noted, that no one article is more important than another. They all hold equal importance and necessity.)

(To read a full list of these rights, check out the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

These rights exist in a written form to help guide national and international laws. They serve to unite efforts across a variety of public and private sectors to see community development and care on a global scale.

There are more than 40 million slaves in the world and millions in poverty without nutritious food, access to clean water, or education. When we talk about long-standing issues such as social oppression, underdeveloped communities, or even human trafficking, we are also talking about basic human rights. Even though this document was written and enacted more than 70 years ago, these rights are violated every single day. We are facing global issues that are actively working against the human rights of hundreds of millions of people. 


This is where you come in. You can do something to change this. We truly believe that addressing human rights issues, such as human trafficking, will take an army of people. There are three concrete things you can do to begin enacting change. 


  1. Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about the human rights issues we have faced and are currently facing. 

  2. Use your voice. Tell someone. Tell everyone. Change happens when you decide to step in and help. 

  3. Donate. Give to organizations that are actively working to protect and help those whose rights are being violated. 


“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
Nelson Mandela


we believe every child matters