In your own words, what are human rights?In your own words, what are human rights?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Human rights are what makes us human.  They are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Basically, human beings have agreed by social contract that we have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and every person has this right.

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is a very important question. I think the best definition of human rights that I have ever read comes from the Declaration of Independence. It states that all men are created equal and endowed by their created with certain inalienable right. It also goes to say that all people have the right to life, liberty and happiness. Finally, it says that these rights are self-evident.

If you think about the words, it roots human rights in creation. Moreover, these words say that these rights are self-evident. In other words, you do not need proof. Just by virtue of being human, you have these rights. It does not matter who you are, what you do, or where you live. These words are powerful and a cornerstone to  American society.

It will wise to remember these words and more importantly live them and share them with others.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Human rights are the rights that every person has simply by the fact that they are human.  These are rights that are not granted to them by their government.  All people have them simply because they are people.  This is, of course, a philosophical idea rather than a legal one.  Many governments do not respect what we think of as people's human rights.  We can say they have those rights, but we can do little or nothing to ensure that those rights are respected.

A good way to list the basic human rights is to use John Locke's formulation.  He says that all people have the right to life (not to be killed) the right to liberty (not to be enslaved or to have basic rights like the freedom of speech taken away) and the right to property (not to have their things taken from them).

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