In learning about human rights, we learn about ideas of respect, fairness, justice and equality. We learn about standing up for our own rights and about our responsibility to respect the rights of others.
There are a number of basic rights that people from around the world have agreed on, such as:
- the right to life
- freedom from torture
- other cruel and inhuman treatment
- rights to a fair trial
- free speech
- freedom of religion
- rights to health, education and an adequate standard of living.
These human rights are the same for all people everywhere – male and female, young and old, rich and poor, regardless of our background, where we live, what we think or what we believe. This is what makes human rights ‘universal'.
Rights also describe what is lawful: that is, some rights may be laid down in law. Australia has anti-discrimination laws that are about you being treated fairly in certain circumstances regardless of your age, gender, sexuality, ethnic background, disability, religion or some other central characteristic.
In many situations, though, rights exist but are not covered by law. These rights are often called moral rights and are based on people's sense of what is fair or just.
Respect for human rights helps build strong communities, based on equality and tolerance in which everyone has an opportunity to contribute. In this section you can find all you need to know about human rights, with links to help you explore specific issues in more detail. Just as importantly, you can also find out how to help promote human rights in your school and community.
Click on the links below for further info.
Visit the Human Rights Essentials section to walk through the history of human rights, and look at some of the key human rights issues today.
Click on the links for further information:
- Frequently Asked Questions About Human Rights
- Human Rights Timeline
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Human Rights Explained
Human Rights in Australia
The Human Rights in Australia section provides an overview of some important human rights issues in Australia today.
In this section you will find:
- Frequently asked questions about the Australian Human Rights Commission
- Face the Facts: Questions and Answers about Refugees, Migrants and Indigenous people
- Info on some of the human rights issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
- Children in Immigration Detention
- A brief guide to the Disability Discrimination Act
- Sexual harassment in the workplace
- Sex Discrimination: A Guide for Young Women
Human Rights Overseas
Visit the Human Rights Overseas section to discover more information about the human rights issues facing people in other parts of the globe today.
Explore Country Profiles, learn about International Human Rights Organisations and visit interesting international websites.
Visit the Children's Rights section to find out about what's happening to protect the rights of young people in Australia and overseas
Learn about the Convention on the Rights of the Child and find out more about a range of issues facing children around the world including: armed conflict, child labour, discrimination, violence, orphans and vulnerable children and trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Promoting and protecting human rights is not something that you can leave for others to do – it’s everyone’s responsibility.
Visit the Get Involved section for ideas to help you stand up for human rights in your school or community.
Human Rights Calendar
Use the Human Rights Calendar to keep up to date about human rights events and anniversaries that you can promote and celebrate throughout the year.
Consider holding a human rights celebration. You could mark International Human Rights Day, Harmony Day or the International Day of the World's Indigenous People in your school or community.
Human Rights Resources
Visit the Human Rights Education Resources section to access useful research material sourced from the Commission's widely acclaimed human rights education modules which are designed for use in Australian classrooms. There are a range of useful information sheets and other useful resources available.
Explore the world wide web to discover more about human rights in Australian and around the world.
The Commission has compiled the Useful Links section so that you can explore human rights issues on other great sites.