What are human rights?
Human rights are rights we have simply because we exist as human beings - they are not granted by any state. These universal rights are inherent to us all, regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. They range from the most fundamental - the right to life - to those that make life worth living, such as the rights to food, education, work, health, and liberty.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, was the first legal document to set out the fundamental human rights to be universally protected. The UDHR, which turned 75 in 2023, continues to be the foundation of all international human rights law. Its 30 articles provide the principles and building blocks of current and future human rights conventions, treaties and other legal instruments.
The UDHR, together with the 2 covenants - the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - make up the International Bill of Rights.
Human rights issues
Within the organizational priorities defined by the UN Human Rights Office, the Regional Office for Europe pursues a select number of specific objectives. These priorities were chosen for the period 2018 - 2021 after consultations with a broad range of stakeholders:
WHAT DOES THE UNITED NATIONS DO IN PROMOTING AND PROTECTING HUMAN RIGHTS?
Promote and protect all human rights: We speak out objectively in the face of human rights violations and help elaborate the standards that are used to evaluate human rights progress worldwide.
Help empower people: Our research, education, and advocacy activities, contributes to the increased awareness and engagement by the international community and the public on human rights issues. This means thousands of people in all regions of the world are empowered to claim their rights.
Assist Governments: Through our field presences, we help prevent abuses and contribute to defusing situations that could lead to conflict. Our monitoring and analysis feeds sensitive decision-making and development programming. We also provide capacity-building and legal advice to thousands, supporting the development and judicious enactment of laws and policies the world around.
Inject a human rights perspective into all UN programmes: We mainstream human rights into all UN programmes to ensure that peace and security, development, and human rights - the three pillars of the UN - are interlinked and mutually reinforced.
Human Rights 75 is an initiative whose three main goals focus on universality, progress and engagement under the leadership of UN Human Rights, together with its partners.The initiative culminates in a high-level event in December 2023 that will announce global pledges and ideas for a vision for the future of human rights.