What are Human rights

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death.

They apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe or how you choose to live your life.

They can never be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted for example if a person breaks the law, or in the interests of national security.

These basic rights are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence.

These values are defined and protected by law.

In Britain our human rights are protected by the Human Rights Act 1998.

The Human Rights Act

The Human Rights Act 1998 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which received Royal Assent on 9 November 1998, and mostly came into force on 2 October 2000. Its aim was to incorporate into UK law the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights

Read ACT

Taking action

If you feel your human rights have been breached and you want to do something about it, there is no single or right way of dealing with it. It depends on the context and your particular circumstances.

Find out more about how and where you can get initial help and advice.

You may be able to resolve the problem without taking legal action. Just discussing the issue with the person or organisation who has potentially breached your rights may be enough. If it can't be resolved informally, you can make a formal complaint.

You should bear in mind that there are strict time limits for taking legal action. These time limits can mean you need to take legal action quite quickly so as not to lose your rights. Time limits can be complicated, but in some cases you may have to actually 'issue proceedings' in court within three months or less.

We strongly recommend you consult a reputable human rights adviser or lawyer before proceeding with any legal action.

find out more about taking action without going to court
find out more about taking legal action
Before you take action
If you think your rights have been breached and you want to take action, you'll need to:

be sure that the Human Rights Act applies to the individual or organisation treating you unfairly: find out more about who the Act applies to identify which human right or rights you think have been breached: our information on the individual rights in the Human Rights Act will help you with this