All about Human Rights

December 10th is Human Rights Day. The day is marked around the world every year on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations on this day in 1948. But what exactly are human rights? And how do they affect you – at work and elsewhere?

What are Human Rights?

Here’s how the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) defines human rights: ‘Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life. They can never be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted – for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interests of national security. These basic rights are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence.’

The Human Rights Act 1988

This is the Act that defines our human rights in the UK and gives us legal protection relating to them. It covers things such as slavery, freedom of expression, the right to education and free elections and the right to a fair trial. It also includes law relating to equality and discrimination.

What do human rights have to do with Diversity and Inclusion?

Human Rights legislation covers aspects of equality, justice and fairness that may not be covered by the Equality Act 2010. Under the 1998 Act, your human rights mustn’t be protected differently because of who you are. It covers discrimination because of the following characteristics:

  • language
  • political opinion
  • national or social origin
  • property and birth
  • association with a national minority
  • other status - including things like sexual orientation, age, gender identity and carer status.

This additional protection by the law strengthens our ability to fight discrimination and build better diversity and inclusion.

  • What does the Human Rights Act cover?

  • How is the Human Rights Act changing?

  • Why are human rights relevant to me?

Talking Points



Lifetime Training has launched a Learner Helpline, which is a powerful tool that helps learners through the provision of telephone counselling, advice and referral on a wide variety of work and personal issues.

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