What are human rights?

Human rights are a set of principles that relate to equality and fairness. These principles are based on things that people around the world have agreed are essential to live a good life free from fear, discrimination and harassment. Some examples include the right to:

  • Life
  • Health
  • Be free from torture or other cruel or inhuman treatment
  • Privacy
  • Be treated equally before the law
  • Marry and start a family
  • Work
  • An education.

These rights apply to all citizens equally, regardless of:

  • Disability
  • Sex or gender
  • Cultural background, ethnicity or skin colour
  • Sexual orientation
  • Personal opinion
  • Religious beliefs
  • Social status (12).


(12) Verick, M. Prepared for Focus ACT (2015) Australians with Disability: Changing Attitudes to their Rights, Abilities and Lifestyle