What should one know about human rights?

All people are entitled to human rights.

Anyone, anywhere

These rights do not exist on the basis to your nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation or wealth. Sometimes people think that only the people who have done nothing wrong have human rights and that others don’t deserve them. That is not true. Some rights may be restricted at times, but human rights as such cannot be taken away from anyone.

example If you have committed a crime and end up in a prison, your freedom will be restricted, which is part of your punishment. However, you cannot be beaten, starved or name-called.

Balancing rights

Human rights do not mean that you can do anything you want. It can be explained best by saying that your freedoms end where someone else’s rights begin. Your interests and rights have to be balanced with those of other people and the compromises need to be reached.

example You cannot build whatever on your land and in that way block the view of your neighbours. It does not mean that you cannot be building something at all or that the rights of others to view are more important than yours. However, in every situation the interests of different people have to be taken into account, evaluated and balanced. The State needs to provide an authorised institution to do that.


Human rights may be restricted. Some of your rights and freedoms may be restricted to protect the rights and freedoms of others. They can also be restricted for the wider benefit of the rest of society.

example If you commit a crime and hurt someone, you might be sent to prison as punishment and lose your freedom. There are only a few rights that are absolute and must never be restricted. These are the prohibition of torture and freedom from slavery. Torture and enslavement cannot be justified in any circumstance.

Last updated 31/01/2024