Human Rights

In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought human rights into the realm of international law. Since then, the United Nations has diligently protected human rights through legal instruments and on-the-ground activities.

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.

Read more in the 2014/2015, State of the World – Human Rights Report, Amnesty International.

International Human Rights Law

International human rights law lays down the obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.



82% of countries, 131 out of 160, tortured or otherwise ill-treated people. [Source: Amnesty Intl]

Countries - War Crimes

War crimes or other violations of the “laws of war” were carried out in at least 18 countries. [Source: Amnesty Intl]

Countries Ban Abortion

28 countries around the world have laws which completely ban abortion even in cases where a woman’s life or health is in danger and in cases of rape. [Source: Amnesty Intl]
1 in 5

Armed Groups Commited Abuses

Armed groups committed abuses in at least 35 countries, more than 20% of the countries Amnesty International investigated. [Source: Amnesty Intl]

Countries - Sexual Orientation

According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 78 countries have laws in effect that are used to criminalize consensual sexual relationships between adults of the same sex. [Source: Amnesty Intl]

Countries - Unfair Trials

58% of countries, 93 out of 160, conducted unfair trials. In unfair trials, justice is not served for the accused, the victim of the crime or the public. [Source: Amnesty Intl]

Countries - Prisoners of Conscience

More than 1/3 of governments, 62 out of 160, locked up prisoners of conscience – people who were simply exercising their rights and freedoms. [Source: Amnesty Intl]
3 in 4

Countries - Freedom of Expression

Almost 3/4 of governments, 119 out of 160, arbitrarily restricted freedom of expression. There were crackdowns on press freedom in many countries, with newspapers being forcibly closed and journalists threatened.[Source: Amnesty Intl]

People Drowned

Refugees and migrants were at particular risk during 2014. More than 3,400 people are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach Europe. Of the 4 million refugees who have fled the conflict in Syria, 95% were being hosted in neighboring countries. [Source: Amnesty Intl]