What Are “Human Rights” ?

Human Rights vs. Civil Rights:

As the chair of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Eleanor Roosevelt was the driving force in creating the 1948 charter of liberties which will always be her legacy: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human Rights were conceived shortly after WWII in regards to the treatment of Jews and other groups by the Nazis. This secured their foundation in international law and policy. Human Rights are thought of as the most fundamental rights. Included in them are the right to life, education, protection from torture, free expression, and fair trial. While many of these rights are incorporated into civil rights, Human Rights are necessities of the human existence.

Civil Rights are the rights that service citizens in a nation or state. In America, Civil Rights are protected by the U.S. Constitution and many state constitutions. Civil rights protect citizens from discrimination and grant certain freedoms, such as free speech, due process, equal protection, the right against self-incrimination and so forth. Civil rights are the agreement between the nation, the state, and the individual citizens that they govern.


Universal Declaration for Human Rights

On October 24, 1945, in the aftermath of World War II, the United Nations came into being as an intergovernmental organization, with the purpose of saving future generations from the devastation of international conflict.
United Nations representatives from all regions of the world formally adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948.
The Charter of the United Nations established six principal bodies, including the General Assembly, the Security Council, the International Court of Justice, and in relation to human rights, an Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The UN Charter empowered ECOSOC to establish “commissions in economic and social fields and for the promotion of human rights….” One of these was the United Nations Human Rights Commission, which, under the chairmanship of Eleanor Roosevelt, saw to the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Declaration was drafted by representatives of all regions of the world and encompassed all legal traditions. Formally adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, it is the most universal human rights document in existence, delineating the thirty fundamental rights that form the basis for a democratic society.
Following this historic act, the Assembly called upon all Member Countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”
Today, the Declaration is a living document that has been accepted as a contract between a government and its people throughout the world.

Universal Declaration for Human Rights (PDF format):
Youth for Human Rights version:


File a Complaint

If you are being abused or neglected, or suspect that a person with a disability is being abused or neglected, you should call the Hotline at the Disabled Persons Protection Commission. The toll free number is 1-800-426-9009 or 1-888-822-0350 TTY.

Human Rights Commission Phone Number: (508) 375-6611

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