human rights

plural noun

Definition of human rights

: rights (such as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons

Examples of human rights in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Allegations against Amin nonetheless generated significant attention from lawmakers, news organizations and human rights groups. Washington Post, "Congressional Dems say women in ICE custody who blew whistle on gynecologist should be able to apply for special visas," 19 Nov. 2020 The establishment of a second temporary migrant processing center on the island of Gran Canaria comes amid increasing criticism from local authorities and human rights groups. Joseph Wilson, Star Tribune, "Spain opens 2nd migrant camp on overrun Gran Canaria island," 18 Nov. 2020 During Saturday night's unrest, dozens of protesters were injured from what human rights groups say were from police using excessive force involving blunt force, tear gas, and projectiles to control the protests. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Interim Peruvian president steps down amid protests," 15 Nov. 2020 Divisions inside Mozambique’s security services, which human rights groups have frequently accused of abuses against civilians in Cabo Delgado, have further hampered the counterinsurgency effort. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "With Village Beheadings, Islamic State Intensifies Attacks in Mozambique," 11 Nov. 2020 Lawyers for the Taylors argued that extradition would violate U.S. law and State Department regulations, citing reports by media outlets and human rights groups including Amnesty International documenting conditions in Japanese prisons. David Yaffe-bellany,, "Ghosn Helpers Can Stay in U.S. While Judge Weighs Torture Claim," 5 Nov. 2020 The demonstrators’ demands have widened to include calls for accountable government, respect for human rights, and an end to corruption in Africa’s most populous nation of 196 million. Sam Olukoya And Lekan Oyekanmi, The Christian Science Monitor, "World rebukes open-fire response to protesters in Nigeria," 21 Oct. 2020 For Jo Simon, who has attended other Caravan for Justice protests, the event is about advocating for basic human rights and ensuring that all people are treated as equals, regardless of their race. Lauryn Schroeder, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Protesters gather in Pacific Beach and practice social distancing," 20 Sep. 2020 In just four days, the reputation of a Buddhist monk who had spent decades fighting for the human rights of Cambodians was destroyed., "Threatened by Facebook disinformation, a Buddhist monk flees Cambodia," 23 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'human rights.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of human rights

1629, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about human rights

Time Traveler for human rights

Time Traveler

The first known use of human rights was in 1629

See more words from the same year

Statistics for human rights

Last Updated

23 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Human rights.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for human rights

human rights

noun plural

Legal Definition of human rights

: rights (as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all people

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on human rights

What made you want to look up human rights? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!