Human rights refer to the fundamental rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled. No one can be deprived of these rights under any circumstances, unless they are not recognized or enforceable in the relevant jurisdiction. Because of this, there is no single, comprehensive list of human rights that can be applied universally; different countries have different laws and policies in place that protect their citizens’ basic human rights. It is estimated that there are over 500 treaties worldwide containing provisions for human rights.
These international laws protecting human rights are very broad and vague, which means that the specific human rights recognized by a country depend on the country’s interpretation of what those laws mean. For example, the fundamental right to life as outlined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) does not include a right to choose when to die. However, some countries have interpreted this right as including an individual’s right to voluntarily end his or her own life under certain circumstances; other countries do not recognize such a right at all.
Despite their differences, most countries recognize many of the same fundamental human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the United Nations in 1948, outlines 30 articles that it claims represent “the standard of achievement for all peoples”.