At the heart of everything we do at the British Institute of Human Rights is a commitment to making sure the international promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, developed after the horrors of World War II, is made real here at home.

Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the drafters of the UDHR, summed up our belief in human rights when she spoke of them as being about the “small places close to home”. Our innovative work seeks to achieve a society where human rights are respected as the cornerstone of our democracy and enable each of us to live well in communities that value the equal dignity of each person.

We believe:

  1. Human rights provide a basic safety net for us all. Human rights are universal, they belong to everyone and set down the standards below which no-one should fall.
  2. Here at home the Human Rights Act provides important protections for people, giving legal force to 16 fundamental rights and freedoms and duties to uphold them.
  3. Human rights are about the relationship between people and those in power. The law means that human rights should be part and parcel of the way government and services do their job, helping us all to live with equal dignity and respect.
  4. Human rights are the cornerstone of a healthy democracy, ensuring the government plays fair. Human rights are an important part of our constitution and help strengthen our democracy by giving people a voice.
  5. The UK championed human rights laws as shared international minimum standards in the aftermath of World War II. We should celebrate our human rights heritage and work to make sure human rights are made real in people’s lives here at home.


You can download these five key messages about human rights as part of our Introducing BIHR leaflet here.