Many times we hear the phrase “it is my right” or “it is a human right”. But what do we mean by that? Human rights are the rights that one has just because of his human nature. They concern everyone, wherever they live, whatever roles they take on, whatever perceptions they have. It is considered universal. But it wasn’t always a given. Communities originally operated with unwritten laws (“natural law”), which were in force until the moment someone changed them to their advantage. And this used to happen quite often!
The first reference to human rights was made by Cyrus the Great in Babylon. After conquering it, Cyrus freed all slaves since he considered freedom to be the right of all people and also allowed everyone to choose their religion. But this concerned only a part of the world and a certain period in time. Wars and disasters followed, culminating in the two World Wars where millions of people lost their lives or lived in complete misery. And we finally got to the point where people came together and recorded the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Rights that formed the basis for the protection and promotion of human rights around the world.
These articles include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, freedom, freedom of speech and privacy. They also include economic, social and cultural rights, such as the right to social security, health, food and education. These are intended to protect people and to allow them to live in dignity, freedom and equality without discrimination.
But these rights are not just some rules on a piece of paper. They are the main rules to follow in order to live in peace, to protect each other in every small or large group to which we belong. Because every right of ours is also an obligation which we share to keep each other safe.