Human Rights

Graphic of 4 different men and women standing infront of a purple planet Earth. Two have their arms raised in protest, and the other to are holding signs. One reads 'All rights' and the other 'For all people'
Image by storyset on Freepik


Many of us take our human rights for granted, but even today many people are still fighting for them. Human rights go hand in hand with equality. They must exist regardless of a person's gender, place of birth, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other factor which may alienate an individual or group, and results in discrimination. Protection of these legal rights should never come at a cost.

"To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity" - Nelson Mandela

Basic human rights can be broken down into 30 separate categories, as defined by the UN in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This covers everything from freedom, security, the right to justice and protection of the law, asylum, democracy, and education.

Despite protective laws being in place, human rights defenders, activists and NGOs, are still very much needed to protect people who do not have a voice. They play a vital role in fighting violations, often through legal systems and the courts.

In support of their invaluable work, Better World Info serves as an important networking tool and extensive information resource on human rights. This ➡️ platform for human rights boasts over 40,000 hand-picked links dedicated to human rights, it saves you valuable time and helps to connect to NGOs all over the world.

Better World Info is also available in German, Bessere Welt Info - just like the English version it serves as an excellent resource for human rights NGOs, lawyers, campaigners, and activists. Check out the Menschenrechte category today.


Where can I find Reliable Human Rights News?

The human rights news section provides access to top magazines, blogs, and social media sites on human rights issues around the world.

Better World Info uses Twitter as a tool to help raise awareness, and to celebrate and raise the profile of human rights activists and excellent projects supporting the empowerment of those who need protecting.

Follow our unique human rights Twitter list to get the latest developments, progress in the rights movement, and up to the minute access to NGOs, civil and human rights defenders, and top human rights campaigns.

Better World Info’s full Twitter lists can all be found here. You will find excellent related lists featuring topics such as conflict regions, democracy, development & aid, food security, international development, LGBTQI+, refugees, and women's rights.


Who are the best Human Rights Organisations?

Most people are aware of Amnesty International, but what about other smaller, but just as hardworking groups. Discover over 200 inspiring NGOs, research institutes, and philanthropic foundations dedicated to protecting human rights around the world. Search through international and national organisations to connect with initiatives near you.

If you are looking to donate to a worthy cause or find funding for your own project then our category on donors can point you in the right direction.


Three different coloured fists are raised, one holding a mega phone with the words Human Rights Day coming out of it
Better World Info | Mei

Where can I find Background Info on Human Rights?

Our sweeping overview of human rights provides the full picture on the human rights situation around the world. We have collected the most essential, reliable, and useful resources including human rights directories, tools, annual reports, databases, libraries, journals, books, and volunteering and job opportunities.

We highlight important human rights prizes such as the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights. These awards are essential for raising awareness, helping to promote funding, and to give deserving awardees the recognition that they deserve.

Learn about the biggest and most impactful film festivals such as the Human Rights Watch and the Karama film festivals. These events advocate for human rights by highlighting violations and abuses, they raise awareness, and encourage public debate on how to address issues. Find our top selection of human rights films and documentaries which shook the world and helped foster much needed change.

Our special category on Human Rights Day highlights the importance of this annual celebration which reaffirms the importance of human for everyone, empowers, and reminds us to continue the fight for equality and against discrimination.

A vital tool in assisting the most vulnerable is humanitarian aid. It saves lives, supports struggling governments, and helps to maintain the dignity of people following conflict, natural disasters and emergencies.

Better World Info serves as an excellent resource for development & aid. You can find top organisations and campaigns, news and blogs, and information on the SDGs. There are also extensive categories featuring key issues such as the impacts of climate change, rural development and agriculture, famine, third world debt, financing, economic development, and the role of women – all from a humanitarian perspective.


Why is Human Rights Education Important?

Part of the problem in uplifting the rights of others is lack of knowledge. Human rights education is an invaluable tool which can be integrated into every part of our lives.

If people are aware of the rights they are entitled to, and these rights are put at the heart of school systems, we can teach things like religious and cultural acceptance, gender equality, and empowerment. Through this type of education and through excellent human rights study programs, we can promote dignity and equality in entire communities, societies, and potentially the world.

Discover excellent resources on the topic including human rights centres, courses, colleges, clinics, internships, graduate programmes, and human rights in schools.


Photo of the International Criminal Court (ICC) taken in 2018 in Den Haag. A multistorey glass building with plants growing from the balconies with the blue ICC logo in the foreground.
Justflix | CC BY-SA 4.0

What are Human Rights Instruments?

Human rights instruments are the mechanisms, laws, and treaties that assist human rights defenders in upholding and protecting the rights of those at risk. They are essential sources of information, and vital for establishing facts to build lawsuits around.

The International Criminal Court was created to fill the void where national courts are unwilling, or unable to seek justice for serious international crimes such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It serves as an international court for member states. Better World Info follows the success of the court, criticisms, and its limitations.

Other international mechanisms include the Human Rights Council, and the International Court of Justice. Many other regional mechanisms exist which are responsible for upholding human rights on a more local level. Find excellent resources on Europe, the Americas, Arabia, Africa, and Asia.

Learn about the different conventions, declarations, and treaty bodies such as the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and many others which aim to cover each fundamental right that we are all entitled to.


Black and white photo of civil rights leader Martin Luther King. He stands smiling wearing a suit on a stage infront of a large audience below.
Flickr | National Park Service

Who are Human Rights Defenders?

Human rights defenders come in many forms, but essentially includes anyone who is fighting to uphold the rights of others. Their responsibilities include raising awareness, promoting and protecting the civil, social, and political rights of others, and the realization of positive change for a more equal world.

Those working in this field face numerous challenges, some which place their lives in danger. They often become the enemy of powerful governments, criminal groups, gangs, and corporations. In 2019, Colombia witnessed one human rights defender killed every four days.

Smear campaigns, threats, arrest, corrupt judicial processes, and forced disappearances are also commonplace, more often than not with complete impunity.

Here you will find vital information on the protection tools and programmes available, organisations who safeguard rights defenders, and individual stories of activists, lawyers, journalists, trade unionists, and many others who have suffered because of their commitment to human rights issues.


Who are the Champions of Human rights?

Delve into the exemplary people section to find inspiring resources on the worlds bravest and most influential human rights defenders, civil rights leaders, and activists.

Learn about international journalists, politicians, lawyers, and whistleblowers such as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Bianca Jagger, Malala Yousafzai, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ruby Bridges, Rachel Corrie, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and many others who put their lives at risk to create a better world for everyone.


What are the biggest Human Rights Issues?

Better World Info offers you a comprehensive category focusing on the most pressing human rights violations. They exist on a grand scale and are forcing more and more people to face hardships, abuse, discrimination, and the removal of their rights.

Syrian refugees, men, women, and children, stand behind a fence in dispair in Budapest, Hungary.
Mstyslav Chernov | CC BY-SA 4.0

The global refugee crisis has become an unignorable humanitarian catastrophe. It is estimated that there are more than 89 million people worldwide who have been forcibly displaced from their homes, communities, culture, families, and livelihoods.

Upon arrival, they face equally dire situations in their host communities. Families are separated, education and work opportunities are limited, there is a lack of housing and healthcare, language barriers exist, and isolation is crippling.

Marginalised groups face equally difficult circumstances. Find extensive categories featuring women’s rights and gender inequality, children's rights, indigenous peoples, and the LGBTQI community.

Other Better World Info highlights include guides to press freedom, democracy, spyware, mass surveillance, forced labour, and human trafficking. Approximately 27.6 million people are trapped by modern slavery, many of which are victims of human trafficking.

Rights issues surrounding the death penalty, prisons, and torture are of grave concern. With prison populations exceeding 11 million worldwide, common rights violations include severe overcrowding, appalling sanitary conditions, inadequate health care, and high levels of prisoner mortality.

Our Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights - ESCR includes the most basic of human rights. Our right to safe water, nutritious food, adequate shelter, healthcare, education, work, and a clean environment are state obligations. These three pillars are interconnected. For individuals to enjoy equal opportunities and reach their full potential, these needs must be addressed as a priority.


Which Countries are Suffering the Worst Humanitarian Crises?

Unfortunately, some countries standout for all the wrong reasons. Here you will find a human rights category for every country, with a special focus on countries experiencing the worst human rights violations and abuses.

Autocratic leadership, perpetual war, repressive policies, corruption, and severe punishment are the reason some countries remain at the bottom of annual human rights world reports year after year. These humanitarian disasters place the poorest and most vulnerable under unbearable conditions, and in many cases, for generations.

There is a huge resource featuring Israel. It covers the historic institutionalized discrimination of Palestinians, forced evictions and demolitions, land grabs, unlawful killings and excessive force against protesters, and of course the recent humanitarian crisis which unfolded after the Israeli military attacks on Gaza.

Iranian woman with long flowing hair holds a hijab in her fist - the hair reflects the Iranian flag with the protest slogan: Women, Live, Freedom!
Mei Lau | Better World Info

Our guide to Iran heavily features freedom of expression and arbitrary detention, as well as a section on the death penalty and women's rights. Discover more on the 2022 anti-regime protests and the brutal government repression which followed.

Sticking with the Middle-East, Turkey is a country continually struggling for democracy, the eroding rule of law, and its human rights obligations. A worrying trend in Turkish courts system appears to be convicting political opponents, journalists, human rights defenders and activists seemingly without evidence.

Learn about the recent human rights concerns surrounding Qatar and the FIFA World Cup 2022. Global protests ensued following claims of huge numbers of migrant worker deaths and the severe discrimination of the LGBTQI+ community.

Afghanistan has historically battled with rights abuses and violations, but now even more so with the recent Taliban takeover. With educational and medical facilities destroyed, and women's and girl’s rights stripped, there has never been a greater need for humanitarian aid in this part of the world. With the Taliban now in charge, there is no representation from women, or conflict victims, and going forward, there has been no mention of women’s rights being reinstated, or commitment of any kind to human rights in general.

In the Asian region Better World Info highlights Tibet, Myanmar, China, and Russia. Tibet has suffered human rights abuses and cultural genocide for decades. Religious freedom, speech, movement and assembly are all restricted. In recent years the use of surveillance and unlawful force has intensified.

In Myanmar the oppression of Rohingya in Rakhine state continues to devastate this stateless Muslim minority, and the 2021 military coup continues.

Workers' rights, freedom of expression, democracy, crackdowns on human rights defenders, and censorship are all extensively covered in the category on China. Also find a category on the issues affecting Hong Kong, especially concerning the new National Security Law.

Regarding Russia, there are extensive resources featuring the crackdown on dissent, protests, and independent journalism. You will also find information on the persecution of the LGBTQI community, Jehovah's Witness, war crimes, and labour migrants, as well as full coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

For the African continent special features include Egypt, where you can find up to date developments on religious violence, women's rights, forced disappearances, and multiple prisoner and security issues.

With more than 4 million people displaced, and violent abuses by militias common place, the refugee crisis in Sudan is the worst in Africa.

On Somalia find extensive information regarding the on-going conflict involving the Al-Shabab, also issues relating to piracy, and the huge number of internally displaced people.

Better World Info is also closely following the developments of the continuing conflict in Tigray which has forced 2 million people to flee their homes. Total destruction of civilian services, and the restrictions to aid access have exacerbated the devastating situation.


Black and white image of many protesters holding placards with calls to demilitarise the police. One young woman in the middle is yelling into a microphone.
Flickr | Johnny Silvercloud

Human rights in the USA are also extensively featured. Comprehensive categories can be found on racism and police brutality, including of course the killing of George Floyd and the resulting national and global protests. Immigration, abortion restrictions, controversial detention camp Guantanamo Bay, and use of the death penalty are also covered, as well as many other rights concerns in the US.


What are Crimes Against Humanity?

Crimes against humanity are large scale criminal acts which flagrantly violate human rights. Crimes which fall under this title include genocide, murder, torture, sexual violence, enslavement, and enforced disappearance.

Defined for the first time in the 1945 Nuremberg Charter, they now fall under a number of very serious treaties which define these most heinous of crimes.

Learn about international criminal law and courts, current situations under investigation, how various NGOs work to prevent these types of atrocities, and the Responsibility to Protect doctrine.

We recommend further related reading in our extensive guides on war crimes, the arms trade, and the Merchants of Death war crimes tribunal.


Better World Info's Afterthoughts on Human Rights

The challenges associated with human rights violations are immense. The seriousness and the sheer number of people in need is overwhelming. On top of the issues directly related to corruption, lack of democracy, conflict, and discrimination, we are now also seeing rights abuses exacerbated by the global climate crisis.

The number of internally displaced people has risen dramatically with the emergence of millions of climate refugees. People who can no longer farm on land they have used for generations, caused by drought, flooding, locust plagues, soil infertility, desertification, and extreme weather events.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered aid, drastically reduced funding, and allowed governments to impose restrictive laws. It has exposed failing healthcare systems, depleted medical resources, and corruption.

Never before has there been a greater need for humanitarian assistance.

Better World Info is a major platform to enable the networking of NGOs and human rights defenders. They provide the free, reliable, and readily available information needed by these groups. Better World Info is here to help, and to support this change towards a more equal world.

Better World Info is also an open platform - Human rights experts, campaigners, and activists are invited to contribute their knowledge! By providing links to studies, reports, and campaigns, and sharing knowledge, everyone can help raise the profile of those most in need.

Diversity is our strength. If we work together, progress can be made, and the rights of millions can be upheld. The voiceless can finally be heard.

Author: Rachael Mellor, 11.01.23 licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0

For further reading on Human Rights see below  ⬇️


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