Human rights are basic principles that belong to all of us simply because we are human beings. Human rights embody the key values in our society, such as fairness, dignity, and equality - a sense of justice for all human beings irrespective of their color, race, or socioeconomic status. These rights are in place to protect all human beings against abuse or neglect while also ensuring everyone can speak out when they feel mistreated by an authority figure. Human rights give a voice to the powerless and the oppressed people of society, so they don’t have to keep suffering on their own without anyone noticing.
The United Nations has become a driving force for human rights since its inception. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights laid down the principles that brought the protection of human rights into international law, and the on-the-ground work done by UN diplomats over time has ensured that human rights are protected around the world.
The Human Rights Council was established in 2006 to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights. The new body, now known as simply “The HRC,” meets annually at Geneva and remains one of only two intergovernmental bodies predominantly independent of the government (the other being IRTF) regarding human rights issues internationally.
By ratifying international human rights treaties, governments have undertaken to put in place domestic measures and legislation that comply with the obligations of the treaties. The role of countries’ legal systems in protecting internationally recognized civil liberties is more crucial than ever, given today’s global climate. Many countries highlight and seek to remedy flagrant human rights issues such as gender equality, forced labor, child labor, wrongful arrest or detention, and the right to a fair trial.
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