Skip main navigation

3 key principles that concern all our human rights

Why all rights in the Universal Declaration are considered to be interdependent, indivisible, inalienable and universal

In the previous discussion, you explored how denying one right can threaten other rights.

Similarly, when adopting the UDHR the international community recognised that human beings can only achieve freedom if conditions are created whereby all people can enjoy all human rights.

This is why all rights in the Universal Declaration are considered to be indivisible, inalienable and universal. But what does this actually mean?

Interdependent and Indivisible
All human rights in the Universal Declaration have equal standing. There is no hierarchy of human rights. The guarantee of one human right facilitates the guarantee of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one human right often causes the violation of others.

Human rights are unconditional and do not have to be bought, inherited or earned. Human rights cannot be taken away, renounced or exchanged – no one has the right to deprive another person of their rights or to give up their rights for any reason.

All human beings, everywhere in the world, have human rights. While the significance of national, regional and cultural particularities must be kept in mind, it is the duty of all states to promote and protect all human rights.

This article is from the free online

Defending Dignity: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now