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Know Your Rights

Common Interest
Human rights are the rights that we all have, simply by being human beings. Age, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, social origin or class, or any other characteristic are not qualifying criteria – human rights are owned by all people simply by being human. However, in many countries around the world, human rights are violated or under threat. A gruesome example is that same-sex relationships are illegal and LGBT people criminalised in over 70 countries; at least 7 countries apply the death penalty for same-sex relationships.

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights" Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Some important human rights from the European Convention on Human Rights:

Right to life
Freedom from torture, degrading or inhumane treatment
Right to liberty
Right to a fair trial
Right to one’s private and family life
Right to religion
Right to free assembly and association
Freedom from discrimination
Right to education


There are, however, serious problems closer to home that can be challenged through a human rights lens; for example the treatment of asylum seekers, abuse and neglect of children and older people in care facilities, the lack of access to appropriate services for transgender young people, and, perhaps, the failure of schools and local authorities to effectively protect LGBT young people from the worst instances of bullying.

While it is the responsibility of governments first and foremost to uphold our human rights, it is crucial that all people, including young people, watch out for infringements of their human rights and the human rights of others and get active for those who cannot stand up for their own rights. Every year on 17 May, we mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) with a campaign and a series of events on LGBT human rights around the world. It is important that LGBT young people and their friends and families get involved in human rights activism to speak out for people elsewhere who cannot speak out themselves, and to keep LGBT people’s human rights on the agenda.