“ a right is the legal or moral entitlement to do or refrain from doing something, or to obtain or refrain from obtaining a thing or recognition from civil society. Rights serve as rules of interaction between people, and, as such, they place constraints and obligations upon the actions of individuals or groups (for example, if one has a right to life, others cannot have the liberty to kill)”. http:// en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Rights accessed 18/8/08
“ Rights for too many people remain little more than words on paper… We are all custodians of human rights and must find our way to do what is required.” Mary Robinson High Commissioner for Human Rights
When the United Nations was established in 1945 it was committed to Universal human rights not just rights for specific groups or minorities. Countries which became members agreed to: “…reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” (UN Charter, 1945)
How the declaration of human rights is applied in Australia
As a result a Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on the 10 th December 1948.
“ Although not a legally binding treaty, the Declaration establishes an internationally recognized set of standards applicable to all persons without qualifications. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it represents a world wide charter of rights, proclaiming as it does universal and fundamental freedom, which transcend national religious, cultural and ideological factors. In this respect, it remains the most fundamental expression of human rights standards”. ( Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 1993)
Principles Behind the United Nations Declaration of Human rights
Civil and Political Rights: these are liberty orientated and include the rights to: life, liberty and security for the individual, freedom from torture and slavery, political participation, freedom of opinion, expression, thought, conscience and religion, freedom of association and assembly. (Healy, 2000)