Human Rights Commission of the Maldives

Know Your Rights!

What are the underlying principles of human rights?

Human dignity

The principles of human rights are founded on the notion that each individual, regardless of age, culture, faith, ethnicity, race, gender, language, disability or social class, deserves to be honored or esteemed.


Equality expresses the notion that everyone should be respected for the inherent dignity of being a human. As specified in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is the basis of human rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”


Non-discrimination is integral to the concept of equality. It ensures that no one is denied the protection of their human rights based on some external factors. Reference to some factors that contribute to discrimination contained in international human rights treaties include: race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. The criteria identified in the treaties, however, are only examples; it does not mean that discrimination is allowed on other grounds.


The rights that individuals have cannot be taken away, surrendered, or transferred.


Certain moral and ethical values are shared in all regions of the world, and governments and communities should recognize and uphold them. The universality of rights does not mean, however, that the rights cannot change or that they are experienced in the same manner by all people.


Human rights should be addressed as an indivisible body, including civil, political, social, economic, cultural, and collective rights.


Human rights concerns appear in all spheres of life -- home, school, workplace, courts, markets -- everywhere! Human rights violations are interconnected; loss of one right detracts from other rights. Similarly, promotion of human rights in one area supports other human rights.


Government responsibility: human rights are not gifts bestowed at the pleasure of governments. Nor should governments withhold them or apply them to some people but not to others. When they do so, they must be held accountable.

Individual responsibility: Every individual has a responsibility to teach human rights, to respect human rights, and to challenge institutions and individuals that abuse them.

Other responsible entities: Every organ of society, including corporations, non-governmental organizations, foundations, and educational institutions, also shares responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights.

What are human rights?

"Human rights are universal legal guarantees protecting all individuals and groups against actions and omissions that interfere with fundamental freedoms and human dignity."

Human rights are the basic rights that all human beings are entitled to by the fact that one is a human being.

All human beings are born with dignity and value.

Every human being is entitled to human rights with equality without any discrimination.


Right to freedom and equality in dignity and rights Freedom from discrimination
Right to life, liberty and security of person
Freedom from slavery and servitude
Freedom from torture or degrading treatment
Right to recognition as a person before the law
Right to equal consideration before the law
Right to remedy through a competent tribunal
Freedom from arbitrary arrest or exile
Right to a fair trial or public hearing
Right to be considered innocent until proven guilty
Freedom from interference with privacy, including home, family and correspondence
Right to freedom of movement and residence in one’s own country and to leave and return at will
Right to asylum
Right to a nationality and freedom to change it
Right to marriage and protection of family
Right to own property
Freedom of belief and religion
Freedom of opinion and information
Right to peaceful assembly and association
Right to participate in government and in free elections and to equal access to public service
Right to social security
Right to work and fair pay for work
Right to rest and leisure
Right to adequate standard of living for health and well being
Right to education
Right to participate in the cultural life of the community
Right to social order assuring human rights
Responsibility to community essential to free and full development of the individual
Freedom from State or other interference in any of the rights above.