human rights defined

Let’s start with some basic human rights definitions:

Human: noun

A member of the Homo sapiens species; a man, woman or child; a person.

Rights: noun

Things to which you are entitled or allowed; freedoms that are guaranteed.

Human Rights: noun

The rights you have simply because you are human.

If you were to ask people in the street, “What are human rights?” you would get many different answers. They would tell you the rights they know about, but very few people know all their rights.As covered in the definitions above, a right is a freedom of some kind. It is something to which you are entitled by virtue of being human.

Human rights are based on the principle of respect for the individual. Their fundamental assumption is that each person is a moral and rational being who deserves to be treated with dignity. They are called human rights because they are universal. Whereas nations or specialized groups enjoy specific rights that apply only to them, human rights are the rights to which everyone is entitled—no matter who they are or where they live—simply because they are alive.

Yet many people, when asked to name their rights, will list only freedom of speech and belief and perhaps one or two others. There is no question these are important rights, but the full scope of human rights is very broad. They mean choice and opportunity. They mean the freedom to obtain a job, adopt a career, select a partner of one’s choice and raise children. They include the right to travel widely and the right to work gainfully without harassment, abuse and threat of arbitrary dismissal. They even embrace the right to leisure.

In ages past, there were no human rights. Then the idea emerged that people should have certain freedoms. And that idea, in the wake of World War II, resulted in the document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the thirty rights to which all people are entitled.

*Page owned and used with permission from United for Human Rights

Learn the history of Human Rights

Who Is Ellen Firestone?

Ellen Firestone is currently Chief Operating & Service Officer for Simon Eye Associates, the largest independent eye care provider in Delaware with over 100 staff, 25 doctors, and ten locations.   She has over 25 years of management and consulting experience in corporate and non-profit organizations and holds two master’s degrees, one in Business Administration and the other in Transpersonal Studies–the study of health and human potential.

 After attending a Youth for Human Rights Summit with her son at UCLA in 2007, Ellen’s passion for human rights education began.  She immediately went into action “to make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights well known” but more than that, she enables people to do something about it with her simple yet effective workshop called Human Rights:  from Education to Action.   For over 10 years, Ellen has delivered workshops and lectures at schools, churches, corporations, universities, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and the United Nations Headquarters in NY.  She has a growing list of human rights contacts around the globe.

In April 2018, Ellen received the President’s Volunteer Service Award* (PVSA) for her work with Human Rights education.  Along with this, she received letters of commendation from President Trump as well as the US Senators from her home state of Delaware, Senator Christopher A. Coons (D-DE) and Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-DE).  In June 2018, she was inducted to the National Council of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) where she served for two years as Co-Chair of the Partnerships and Collaborations Committee.

Ellen Firestone, Founder