Human Rights

10 things to know about human rights

Emma Luxton
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Human Rights

Human Rights Day is held on 10 December every year to promote the rights and freedoms of people across the globe.

The annual event marks the adoption of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 1948. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon says of the day: “On Human Rights Day, let us recommit to guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms and protecting the human rights of all.”

This map highlights the human rights situation around the world.

1512B18-human rights risk index map 2014 Syria Sudan

While there is a lot to know about human rights – there are 30 basic rights in the UN declaration – here is a round-up of a few facts that might surprise you.

  1. In 2011, the United Nations declared internet access a basic human right.
  2. The concept of human rights is said to have originated some 2,500 years ago in modern-day Iraq. King Cyrus the Great freed slaves, established racial equality and the right to religious choice.
  3. Everyone has a right to leisure and holiday, with pay.
  4. Twenty-three nations around the world currently allow gay marriage.*
  5. There are more than 300,000 child soldiers in conflicts around the world.
  6. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most translated document in the world. It is available in 370 languages.
  7. Nearly 21 million people around the world are the victims of forced labour.
  8. Nepal is one of at least five countries where your gender can now appear as “other” on official documentation.
  9. 121 million children and adolescents have never had the chance to attend school, or have been forced to drop out.
  10. During 2015 alone, the death penalty has been abolished in four countries.

* Northern Ireland does not allow same-sex marriage, and in Mexico it is only legal in some jurisdictions.

All facts are correct as of 9 December 2015.

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Author: Emma Luxton is a Junior Content Producer at Formative Content. Joe Myers is a Digital Content Producer at Formative Content. 

Image: People cross a street in Mong Kok district in Hong Kong, October 4, 2011. REUTERS/Bobby Yip 

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