c   c
Human Right Course
Home Site map     Mail us Print out PolishNorwegian


What are human rights?
the states responsibilities
human rights a goal
The history of human rights
What right do we have?
The protection of Human Rights
Human rights in everyday life
Human Rights

Did you know

Did you know there are more than 100 international documents on human rights?




Human rights work is laborious and long-term. States first agree on a declaration and then often produce legally binding conventions. The third step is the states observing their obligations. This is an important stage in which words are transformed into actions.

The UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948 was a great step forward. For the first time in history there was agreement on common rights for all people in all parts of the world. Since then more documents have been produced that develop human rights and more organisations have been set up to work to achieve the goals. Today there is a large international human rights system that works to produce better living conditions for people the world over.

Nonetheless, everyday we read of people who are suffering distress and being oppressed in newspapers and see them on TV. There are still many states that discriminate and do not ensure their citizens social benefits, and even if a state wants to develop its health service and education provision, it may lack the resources to do so. The implementation of some rights requires more resources than others. It is more "expensive" to ensure universal schooling, health services and social benefits than it is to ensure universal freedom of expression and religion.

Many people therefore say that the world community has come a long way as far as defining human rights is concerned, but there is a shortage of putting them into action.

Change takes time. But work is being done every day, by the UN and other international organisations, by states and by voluntary organisations to ensure that more people's human rights are observed. All of them use the international documents on human rights as tools. It is therefore important to learn about human rights because we can only demand them if we know what they are. And only by knowing what they are can we learn to respect other people's human rights, show solidarity and work for a better and fairer world.




- At the start of the new millennium, UN member states agreed on some specific goals. These were called the UN's Millennium Development Goals. Thus, by 2015 the world community has pledged to have:

Eradicated extreme poverty and hunger
Achieved universal primary education
Achieved gender equality at all levels of education
Reduced child mortality
Reduced maternal mortality
Halted the spread of HIV/AIDS and malaria
Ensured environmentally friendly and sustainable development
Developed a global partnership for development


We have come a long way as far as defining human rights is concerned, but not as far in implementing them.

c 2005 © Den Norske Helsingforskomiteen DEN NORSKE HELSINGFORSKOMITÉ Aktive FredsreiserAKTIVE FREDSREISER - TRAVEL FOR PEACE AS c