Human rights are the basic things that every person needs to live with dignity and develop their potential, such as food, housing, education, healthcare, the right to expression, to hold religious beliefs, and to be protected against violence, abuse and discrimination. Everyone has human rights no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they do. Human rights are not earned, we are all entitled to rights simply because we are human.
Human rights are set out in international treaties that states sign up to, and governments have the primary responsibility to ensure that everyone’s human rights are protected, both in law and in practice.
Some rights have some limits built into them. For example, the right to liberty can be lost if someone commits a crime. Some rights are qualified, which means they can be restricted in some circumstances, in order to protect the rights of others. The state can limit these qualified rights, but only if it has a valid reason to do so, such as protecting the safety of others. Some rights, such as the right not to be tortured, are absolute and the state cannot breach them in any situation.