Your rights

We are all born free and equal with our own thoughts and ideas. Human rights are here to ensure we live in a free and fair world that lets you be you.

Civil and Political Rights

You have the right to:

  • Life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety.
  • Not be a slave. Nobody has any right to make you a slave. If you work, you should get paid and have proper working conditions.
  • Not to be tortured. Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us.
  • The right to non-discrimination. Human rights apply to everyone, irrespective of gender, race, faith, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • We all have the same right to use the law. The law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly.
  • Be protected by the law. So when something goes wrong, we are protected or can seek justice.
  • Fair treatment by fair courts. When we do need the law, we can rely on the courts to be fair.
  • No unfair detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in detention without a good reason and keep us there. Criminals lose this right.
  • A fair trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let the Government or anyone else tell them what to do.
  • Innocent until proven guilty. Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. When people say we have done something wrong we have the right to show it is not true.
  • Privacy. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters or bother us or our family without a good reason.
  • Freedom to move. We all have the right to go where we want in our own country and to travel abroad on holiday or emigrate to a warmer climate.
  • Freedom of thought. We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want.
  • Free to say what you want. We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people.
  • Meet where you like. We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace. Alternatively we can’t be made to join a group if we don’t want to.
  • Democracy. We all have the right to take part in the government of our country. Anyone can take an interest in and share their ideas on the way our country is run. And people over the voting age can take an active role in deciding who leads us.
  • Asylum. If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to leave for another country to keep ourselves safe.
  • A nationality. We all have the right to belong to a country.
  • Marriage and family. Every adult has the right to marry and have a family if they want to.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  • Having your own stuff. Everyone has the right to own things or share their property. Nobody should take our property from us without a good reason. That’s stealing.
  • Social security. We all have the right to affordable housing, medicine, education, and child care, enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill or old.
  • Workers’ rights. Every adult has the right to do a job, to a fair wage for their work, and to join a trade union.
  • Play. We all have the right to rest from work, to relax and to kick back on a Sunday with a cup of tea and the paper.
  • A bed and some food. We all have the right to have a standard of living where we have a bed to sleep in and food in our bellies.
  • Education. Being taught how to read and write is our human right. In Scotland, we have compulsory education until the age of sixteen.
  • Culture and copyright. Copyright protects our artistic creations and writings so that others can’t make copies without permission. We all have the right to our own way of life and to enjoy things like music, theatre, art and our favourite telly programme.

The right not to be tortured and the right not to be enslaved are absolute rights that can’t be interfered with under any circumstances. Government and public bodies and must have a good reason for interfering with other civil political rights, and have a responsibility to give effect to economic, social and cultural rights. They must be able to justify their actions in relation to other matters – for example interference in a person’s right to liberty may be justified if that person is convicted of a crime and sent to jail.