Rights - or human rights - are inherent to all human beings. They cannot be given or taken away. When a person's rights are upheld or protected by the State, then they are in a position to secure their basic needs, and a life of dignity, respect and freedom. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) came about in recognition of the importance of children's basic needs. These 'needs', identified as 'rights' in the UNCRC, are minimum standards that have been agreed upon internationally. 193 elgible countries have ratified the UNCRC apart from Somalia and the USA.
The development of international human rights law has also led to the further classification of human rights. So we have what are known as civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights. These rights are interdependent and none is subordinate to another. Different human rights treaties or conventions help to define these rights and apply universal standards for their protection or realisation. The United Nations is the international body responsible for protecting human rights and its functions are established by its 1945 Charter of the United Nations.
The following list of treaties are generally identified as the 'core' human rights treaties:
- UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)
- UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW)
- UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ICRPD)
Ireland has signed and ratified all of the above except the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and has signed, but not ratified, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.