Why Are Human Rights Essential in a Democratic Society?

Explore the importance of human rights in a democratic society and the universal declaration of human rights. Learn about basic human rights and their significance.

Why Are Human Rights Essential in a Democratic Society?
Every Human has Rights / Photo by Markus Spiske

In today's complex world, the concepts of human rights and democracy are often intertwined, with democracy serving as a vehicle for the protection and promotion of human rights.

But what exactly are human rights, who defines them, and why are they so important in a democratic society?

Defining Human Rights

a protest in 1963
A Protest in 1963 / Photo by Unseen Histories

Human rights are the basic entitlements and freedoms to which all individuals are inherently entitled.

They are universal, indivisible, and apply to every person, regardless of their nationality, race, religion, or socio-economic status.

These rights are recognized and protected by international law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

The Importance of Human Rights

Human rights play a vital role in a democratic society by ensuring the dignity, equality, and freedom of every individual.

They serve as a moral compass, setting the standards for how governments should treat their citizens.

By guaranteeing fundamental rights such as the right to life, liberty, and security of person, freedom of speech, assembly, and association, and the right to participate in public affairs, human rights create the conditions necessary for a thriving and inclusive democracy.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a landmark document that sets out the fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

It consists of 30 articles that cover a wide range of rights, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.

Each article addresses a specific right and its importance in ensuring human dignity and well-being. Here are some of the basic human rights outlined in the UDHR:

1.Right to Equality

A sign - Equality in Diversity
Photo by Amy Elting

This right ensures that all individuals are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection against discrimination.

2.Right to Life, Liberty, and Security

Lady Liberty
Statue of Liberty / Photo by Miltiadis Fragkidis

This right protects individuals from arbitrary deprivation of life, unlawful imprisonment, and threats to their personal safety.

3.Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion

sculpture of thinking man
Thinking Man / Photo by Kenny Eliason

This right guarantees the freedom to hold beliefs, express opinions, and practice religion without interference.

4.Right to Education

A collection of books. A little time. A lot of learning.
Photo by Kimberly Farmer

This right ensures that every individual has access to free and compulsory education that promotes personal development and enables participation in society.

5.Right to Health

Doctor with a stethoscope
Photo by Online Marketing

This right entitles individuals to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including access to medical care and nutritious food.

6.Right to Freedom of Expression

man stading on a cliff
Photo by Jason Hogan

This right protects individuals' freedom to express opinions, seek information, and engage in peaceful assembly and association.

These are just a few examples of the basic human rights recognized by the UDHR.

Each right holds immense importance in fostering a society where individuals can live with dignity, freedom, and equality.

In a democratic society, human rights are essential as they ensure the well-being and equal treatment of all individuals.

They provide a foundation for a just and inclusive society, serving as a moral compass for governments and setting the standards for how citizens should be treated.