Human rights are the basic freedoms and protections that every person has simply because they are human; they are not privileges to be earned or gifts that governments can give or take away at will.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Why it was made: The values behind human rights have a long history but the atrocities of World War II opened the world’s eyes to what happens when governments are free to choose who counts and who does not. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was made in 1948 to say ‘never again can governments have this power’.

What it does: The UDHR contains a set of basic human rights that belong to all people; human rights which governments agree to respect and protect. Although born out of a time of great conflict and human suffering, the UDHR remains just as relevant today. It provides the blueprint for ensuring all people live well in equal human dignity. The UDHR has inspired many laws across the world, including the European Convention on Human Rights and our own Human Rights Act.

The Human Rights Act

Why it was made: The aim of the Human Rights Act (HRA) was to “bring human rights home” by making 16 of the fundamental freedoms and protections we helped write in the European Convention part of our law.

What it does: Our Human Rights Act puts legal duties on public authorities (national and local) to respect human rights in their decisions and actions. This helps public officials deliver better services, and empowers people to make sure they are treated fairly. Watch our 2 min video on the Human Rights Act here.

Why it should be protected: Our Human Rights Act protects us all, making human rights the law of the land. It ensures the government plays fair, strengthens our democracy and empowers us all.

Human rights are not the gift of governments to give or remove at will. Calls to scrap the HRA undermine human rights at home and abroad, distancing the UK from universal human rights for all.