Human Rights and Their Importance

The importance of human rights has been summarized.

This article will provide citations and an introduction to general literature.

There are many different ways of thinking about human rights issues, and this article is not meant to promote any one opinion or argument.

The goal of this article is to get a more in-depth understanding of the most important basic human rights and the future of human rights.

Human Rights


The following three elements are important in understanding what human rights are:

  • Universal recognition
  • What are protected by law
  • Self-realization

Universal recognition

Universal recognition of human rights could be based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights established by the United Nations.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
Source:”Universal Declaration of Human Rights|United Nations”

The Declaration of Human Rights then goes on to describe a wide range of rights, including the right not to be a slave, mental freedom, and the right to a healthy and happy life.

What are protected by law

International human rights law is the general term for international treaties on human rights.

Each country that joins a treaty included in international human rights law is obligated to fulfill its rules.

The obligations include both domestic and international frameworks.

On the domestic front, domestic human rights institutions that receive reports from individuals and provide relief needs to be established.

In addition, domestic courts are expected to render judgments in accordance with international human rights law.

Source:”International Human Rights Law|OHCHR”


One of the key elements of human rights is self-realization.

The self-determination to choose between self-expression and the expression of others is essential for human growth.

Thus, self-realization has a great deal to do with freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression includes the freedom to know and have opinions about the situation of society, and leads to socially meaningful self-governance.

In addition, consumers’ access to a variety of information about commercial speech is a necessary element for self-realization since it contributes to the improvement of their personality.

Source:”Universal Declaration of Human Rights|United Nations”

Characteristics of Human Rights


There are three characteristics necessary to know in order to understand human rights.

  • Universality
  • Inalienability
  • Indivisibility


The following excerpt related to universality can be found in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge”

Source:”Universal Declaration of Human Rights|United Nations”

“Universal” means that it must be guaranteed to all people.

There are issues in ensuring that human rights are universally guaranteed to all people in the world.

One of the most serious issues is the difference in the history, culture, religion, and political background of each region.。

In order for international human rights standards to become universal, they must be acceptable to societies with such differences.

In this respect, how is the current status of universality development?。

In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the rights that are stipulated in the treaties include social rights and civil liberties.。

As of October 2021, the number of countries signing the international treaty on social rights is 171, and the number of countries signing the international treaty on civil liberties is 173.

Efforts to make the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights universal continue through repeated dialogue in the international community.

Source:”Universal Declaration of Human Rights|United Nations”


Inalienability is based on the idea that human rights are something that people are born with.

It says that the human rights of individual human beings should not be violated, even with the executive power, legislative power, and the power to amend the Constitution.

On the other hand, this inalienability is discussed in terms of not violating the rights of others.

Individual rights must be respected, but what about actions that violate the rights of others?

For example, expressing oneself through music is an individual’s freedom of expression.

But is the assertion of the right to freedom of expression acceptable if the accompanying noise disrupts the lives of others?

Thus, there is an aspect of inalienability that requires restriction in the conflict of rights with others, which is called public welfare.


Indivisibility implies that individual human rights cannot be distinguished as “important” or “unimportant”.

Indivisibility has a long history of not being upheld until modern times.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution enacted in the United States at the end of the 18th century, as well as the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, incorporate protective ideas on human rights.

However, the people who fit into this category did not include indigenous people in the colonial lands, slaves, or ethnic minorities.。

In addition, women and children were not afforded the same human rights as adult men.

The following excerpt can be found in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.。

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Source:”Universal Declaration of Human Rights|United Nation”

Indivisibility, in which basic standards should be applied to everyone, is another essential element in solving human rights issues.

Defining Human Rights

Defining Human Right

The definitions stated by various human rights organizations may be helpful in understanding human rights from various perspectives.。

Here, the definitions of human rights by major human rights organizations are introduced in the following.

  • Definition by Amnesty
  • Definition by Human Rights Watch

Definition by Amnesty

Amnesty is the world’s largest international human rights NGO, founded in 1961.。

Today, more than 10 million people in 200 countries around the world participate in Amnesty’s movement.

Amnesty’s activities include independent research, campaigning and advocating for improvements to governments.

As a non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, Amnesty has an international voice.

そAmnesty defines human rights as follows, according to a statement on its official website.

Every person in this world, regardless of gender, nationality, or age, is born with an irreplaceable value. At the same time, each and every one of us has the right to live as a human being. This right is equal and can never be taken away. By protecting and respecting this right throughout society, we can build a society in which more people can live in peace.
Source:”WHO WE ARE|Amnesty International”

Definition by Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights NGO headquartered in New York City, USA.

It is an organization that aims to stop human rights abuses and oppression around the world and protect the human rights of people around the world.

It currently monitors the human rights situation in 90 countries around the world.。

Human Rights Watch’s findings have been extensively reported in regional and international media, attracting the attention of the international community.

Human Rights Watch also provides policy suggestions and advocacy activities to pressure states and international organizations to refrain from further human rights violations.

There is no explicit definition of human rights on the official website of Human Rights Watch.

However, the following genres are listed as topics :

  • Arms
  • Business
  • Children’s Rights
  • Disability Rights
  • Free Speech
  • Health
  • LGBT Rights
  • Refugees and Migrants
  • International Injustice
  • Technology and Rights
  • Terrorism/Counterterrorism
  • Torture
  • United Nations
  • Women’s Rights

It is probably safe to say that these are the main points of focus for human rights issues of Human Rights Watch.

Source:”Human Rights Watch|Human Rights Watch”

The importance of human rights must be recognized

The importance of human rights

In order to understand what human rights are, it may be necessary to know the definition of human rights as a common understanding.

Also needed is to know about characteristics such as universality, inalienability and indivisibility.

Understanding the significance of human rights is the first step in recognizing the importance of human rights.

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