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Table of Contents
Human rights are basic to humanity. They apply to all people everywhere. An understanding of human rights is an important part of our individual status as human beings and of our collective status as members of the global community of humankind.
To understand how human rights affect us in our daily lives and to acknowledge our responsibilities in recognising the need to balance those rights with the rights of others, we require an understanding of what human rights are.
The basic notion of human rights lies in people’s recognition of the need to protect and affirm every other person’s individual dignity. Human rights are important. No matter where people come from, or what their age, culture, religion or income may be, they tend to talk about their concerns in terms of human rights. Human rights issues are often seen as national or international in scope, but human rights are equally relevant at an individual and community level.
There is no universally agreed definition; indeed, people’s understanding of human rights is continually evolving. There are general understandings, though, of what is meant by the term. One way of looking at rights is to see them as a special kind of claim on others. For example, the right to education means that everyone is entitled to a good education and, in particular, that governments have an obligation to provide education facilities and services.
Rights are related to the values that societies live by. These values have their or...