Rights and Humanity derives legitimacy for its work from international human rights law and the principles of humanity – those values and responsibilities recognised by faiths and cultures throughout the world. Together these rights and responsibilities provide an objective global framework and moral compass for policy and action at all levels of governance and sectors of society.
The consensus on human rights reflects a global moral conscience and has its roots in philosophies, religions and cultures throughout the world. It represents a worldwide agreement on the legal obligations of states necessary to ensure that everyone can live in accordance with their rights and dignity. Therefore, to hold states accountable for their performance with relation to global human rights standards is not to impose the value system of any one part of the world on another, but to refer to universal values, based on the distilled knowledge and wisdom of all of our cultures.
International Human Rights Law
Rights and Humanity promotes observance of internationally recognised human rights law and standards that have been adopted by states throughout the world.
States are bound by their own consent to a set of obligations concerning the protection and realisation of the human rights of everyone, everywhere. Human rights legal texts have been jointly drafted by the world community. By ratifying these treaties, Governments have voluntarily undertaken to be bound by their provisions.
The international human rights regime is now accepted by governments worldwide. One human rights treaty - The Convention on the Rights of the Child - has been ratified by all members of the United Nations except two, Somalia and the United States of America.
The Right and Responsibility of Individuals and Organisations to Defend Human Rights
Human rights instruments confirm the right and the responsibility of individuals, groups and associations to promote respect for, and foster knowledge of, human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, proclaims that:
“...every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance ...”
The legitimacy of the actions of organisations and individuals defending human rights was further strengthened in March 1999. In that year the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (General Assembly resolution 53/144).
This confirmed, in Article 1, that:
“Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.”
Globally Shared Values and Principles of Responsibility
People worldwide share core values which act as a common bond of responsibilities shared by faiths and cultures throughout the world - Common Humanity, Responsibility, Respect, Compassion, Truth and Integrity, Human Solidarity and Peacemaking.
By basing our work on these values as well as on human rights norms, people from all over the world and of diverse cultures, irrespective of their faith and spiritually, can feel a sense of ownership of our agenda.