essay on human rights for college students

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Essay on Human Rights: Samples in 500 and 1500


  • Updated on  
  • Dec 9, 2023

Essay on Human Rights

Essay writing is an integral part of the school curriculum and various academic and competitive exams like IELTS , TOEFL , SAT , UPSC , etc. It is designed to test your command of the English language and how well you can gather your thoughts and present them in a structure with a flow. To master your ability to write an essay, you must read as much as possible and practise on any given topic. This blog brings you a detailed guide on how to write an essay on Human Rights , with useful essay samples on Human rights.

This Blog Includes:

The basic human rights, 200 words essay on human rights, 500 words essay on human rights, 500+ words essay on human rights in india, 1500 words essay on human rights, importance of human rights, essay on human rights pdf.

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Also Read: 1-Minute Speech on Human Rights for Students

What are Human Rights

Human rights mark everyone as free and equal, irrespective of age, gender, caste, creed, religion and nationality. The United Nations adopted human rights in light of the atrocities people faced during the Second World War. On the 10th of December 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Its adoption led to the recognition of human rights as the foundation for freedom, justice and peace for every individual. Although it’s not legally binding, most nations have incorporated these human rights into their constitutions and domestic legal frameworks. Human rights safeguard us from discrimination and guarantee that our most basic needs are protected.

Did you know that the 10th of December is celebrated as Human Rights Day ?

Before we move on to the essays on human rights, let’s check out the basics of what they are.

Human Rights

Also Read: What are Human Rights?

Also Read: 7 Impactful Human Rights Movies Everyone Must Watch!

Here is a 200-word short sample essay on basic Human Rights.

Human rights are a set of rights given to every human being regardless of their gender, caste, creed, religion, nation, location or economic status. These are said to be moral principles that illustrate certain standards of human behaviour. Protected by law , these rights are applicable everywhere and at any time. Basic human rights include the right to life, right to a fair trial, right to remedy by a competent tribunal, right to liberty and personal security, right to own property, right to education, right of peaceful assembly and association, right to marriage and family, right to nationality and freedom to change it, freedom of speech, freedom from discrimination, freedom from slavery, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of movement, right of opinion and information, right to adequate living standard and freedom from interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence.

Also Read: Law Courses

Check out this 500-word long essay on Human Rights.

Every person has dignity and value. One of the ways that we recognise the fundamental worth of every person is by acknowledging and respecting their human rights. Human rights are a set of principles concerned with equality and fairness. They recognise our freedom to make choices about our lives and develop our potential as human beings. They are about living a life free from fear, harassment or discrimination.

Human rights can broadly be defined as the basic rights that people worldwide have agreed are essential. These include the right to life, the right to a fair trial, freedom from torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to health, education and an adequate standard of living. These human rights are the same for all people everywhere – men and women, young and old, rich and poor, regardless of our background, where we live, what we think or believe. This basic property is what makes human rights’ universal’.

Human rights connect us all through a shared set of rights and responsibilities. People’s ability to enjoy their human rights depends on other people respecting those rights. This means that human rights involve responsibility and duties towards other people and the community. Individuals have a responsibility to ensure that they exercise their rights with consideration for the rights of others. For example, when someone uses their right to freedom of speech, they should do so without interfering with someone else’s right to privacy.

Governments have a particular responsibility to ensure that people can enjoy their rights. They must establish and maintain laws and services that enable people to enjoy a life in which their rights are respected and protected. For example, the right to education says that everyone is entitled to a good education. Therefore, governments must provide good quality education facilities and services to their people. If the government fails to respect or protect their basic human rights, people can take it into account.

Values of tolerance, equality and respect can help reduce friction within society. Putting human rights ideas into practice can help us create the kind of society we want to live in. There has been tremendous growth in how we think about and apply human rights ideas in recent decades. This growth has had many positive results – knowledge about human rights can empower individuals and offer solutions for specific problems.

Human rights are an important part of how people interact with others at all levels of society – in the family, the community, school, workplace, politics and international relations. Therefore, people everywhere must strive to understand what human rights are. When people better understand human rights, it is easier for them to promote justice and the well-being of society. 

Also Read: Important Articles in Indian Constitution

Here is a human rights essay focused on India.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. It has been rightly proclaimed in the American Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Created with certain unalienable rights….” Similarly, the Indian Constitution has ensured and enshrined Fundamental rights for all citizens irrespective of caste, creed, religion, colour, sex or nationality. These basic rights, commonly known as human rights, are recognised the world over as basic rights with which every individual is born.

In recognition of human rights, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was made on the 10th of December, 1948. This declaration is the basic instrument of human rights. Even though this declaration has no legal bindings and authority, it forms the basis of all laws on human rights. The necessity of formulating laws to protect human rights is now being felt all over the world. According to social thinkers, the issue of human rights became very important after World War II concluded. It is important for social stability both at the national and international levels. Wherever there is a breach of human rights, there is conflict at one level or the other.

Given the increasing importance of the subject, it becomes necessary that educational institutions recognise the subject of human rights as an independent discipline. The course contents and curriculum of the discipline of human rights may vary according to the nature and circumstances of a particular institution. Still, generally, it should include the rights of a child, rights of minorities, rights of the needy and the disabled, right to live, convention on women, trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation etc.

Since the formation of the United Nations , the promotion and protection of human rights have been its main focus. The United Nations has created a wide range of mechanisms for monitoring human rights violations. The conventional mechanisms include treaties and organisations, U.N. special reporters, representatives and experts and working groups. Asian countries like China argue in favour of collective rights. According to Chinese thinkers, European countries lay stress upon individual rights and values while Asian countries esteem collective rights and obligations to the family and society as a whole.

With the freedom movement the world over after World War II, the end of colonisation also ended the policy of apartheid and thereby the most aggressive violation of human rights. With the spread of education, women are asserting their rights. Women’s movements play an important role in spreading the message of human rights. They are fighting for their rights and supporting the struggle for human rights of other weaker and deprived sections like bonded labour, child labour, landless labour, unemployed persons, Dalits and elderly people.

Unfortunately, violation of human rights continues in most parts of the world. Ethnic cleansing and genocide can still be seen in several parts of the world. Large sections of the world population are deprived of the necessities of life i.e. food, shelter and security of life. Right to minimum basic needs viz. Work, health care, education and shelter are denied to them. These deprivations amount to the negation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Also Read: Human Rights Courses

Check out this detailed 1500-word essay on human rights.

The human right to live and exist, the right to equality, including equality before the law, non-discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment, the right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association, movement, residence, the right to practice any profession or occupation, the right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labour, child labour and trafficking in human beings, the right to freedom of conscience, practice and propagation of religion and the right to legal remedies for enforcement of the above are basic human rights. These rights and freedoms are the very foundations of democracy.

Obviously, in a democracy, the people enjoy the maximum number of freedoms and rights. Besides these are political rights, which include the right to contest an election and vote freely for a candidate of one’s choice. Human rights are a benchmark of a developed and civilised society. But rights cannot exist in a vacuum. They have their corresponding duties. Rights and duties are the two aspects of the same coin.

Liberty never means license. Rights presuppose the rule of law, where everyone in the society follows a code of conduct and behaviour for the good of all. It is the sense of duty and tolerance that gives meaning to rights. Rights have their basis in the ‘live and let live’ principle. For example, my right to speech and expression involves my duty to allow others to enjoy the same freedom of speech and expression. Rights and duties are inextricably interlinked and interdependent. A perfect balance is to be maintained between the two. Whenever there is an imbalance, there is chaos.

A sense of tolerance, propriety and adjustment is a must to enjoy rights and freedom. Human life sans basic freedom and rights is meaningless. Freedom is the most precious possession without which life would become intolerable, a mere abject and slavish existence. In this context, Milton’s famous and oft-quoted lines from his Paradise Lost come to mind: “To reign is worth ambition though in hell/Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.”

However, liberty cannot survive without its corresponding obligations and duties. An individual is a part of society in which he enjoys certain rights and freedom only because of the fulfilment of certain duties and obligations towards others. Thus, freedom is based on mutual respect’s rights. A fine balance must be maintained between the two, or there will be anarchy and bloodshed. Therefore, human rights can best be preserved and protected in a society steeped in morality, discipline and social order.

Violation of human rights is most common in totalitarian and despotic states. In the theocratic states, there is much persecution, and violation in the name of religion and the minorities suffer the most. Even in democracies, there is widespread violation and infringement of human rights and freedom. The women, children and the weaker sections of society are victims of these transgressions and violence.

The U.N. Commission on Human Rights’ main concern is to protect and promote human rights and freedom in the world’s nations. In its various sessions held from time to time in Geneva, it adopts various measures to encourage worldwide observations of these basic human rights and freedom. It calls on its member states to furnish information regarding measures that comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights whenever there is a complaint of a violation of these rights. In addition, it reviews human rights situations in various countries and initiates remedial measures when required.

The U.N. Commission was much concerned and dismayed at the apartheid being practised in South Africa till recently. The Secretary-General then declared, “The United Nations cannot tolerate apartheid. It is a legalised system of racial discrimination, violating the most basic human rights in South Africa. It contradicts the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter. That is why over the last forty years, my predecessors and I have urged the Government of South Africa to dismantle it.”

Now, although apartheid is no longer practised in that country, other forms of apartheid are being blatantly practised worldwide. For example, sex apartheid is most rampant. Women are subject to abuse and exploitation. They are not treated equally and get less pay than their male counterparts for the same jobs. In employment, promotions, possession of property etc., they are most discriminated against. Similarly, the rights of children are not observed properly. They are forced to work hard in very dangerous situations, sexually assaulted and exploited, sold and bonded for labour.

The Commission found that religious persecution, torture, summary executions without judicial trials, intolerance, slavery-like practices, kidnapping, political disappearance, etc., are being practised even in the so-called advanced countries and societies. The continued acts of extreme violence, terrorism and extremism in various parts of the world like Pakistan, India, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Somalia, Algeria, Lebanon, Chile, China, and Myanmar, etc., by the governments, terrorists, religious fundamentalists, and mafia outfits, etc., is a matter of grave concern for the entire human race.

Violation of freedom and rights by terrorist groups backed by states is one of the most difficult problems society faces. For example, Pakistan has been openly collaborating with various terrorist groups, indulging in extreme violence in India and other countries. In this regard the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva adopted a significant resolution, which was co-sponsored by India, focusing on gross violation of human rights perpetrated by state-backed terrorist groups.

The resolution expressed its solidarity with the victims of terrorism and proposed that a U.N. Fund for victims of terrorism be established soon. The Indian delegation recalled that according to the Vienna Declaration, terrorism is nothing but the destruction of human rights. It shows total disregard for the lives of innocent men, women and children. The delegation further argued that terrorism cannot be treated as a mere crime because it is systematic and widespread in its killing of civilians.

Violation of human rights, whether by states, terrorists, separatist groups, armed fundamentalists or extremists, is condemnable. Regardless of the motivation, such acts should be condemned categorically in all forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomever they are committed, as acts of aggression aimed at destroying human rights, fundamental freedom and democracy. The Indian delegation also underlined concerns about the growing connection between terrorist groups and the consequent commission of serious crimes. These include rape, torture, arson, looting, murder, kidnappings, blasts, and extortion, etc.

Violation of human rights and freedom gives rise to alienation, dissatisfaction, frustration and acts of terrorism. Governments run by ambitious and self-seeking people often use repressive measures and find violence and terror an effective means of control. However, state terrorism, violence, and human freedom transgressions are very dangerous strategies. This has been the background of all revolutions in the world. Whenever there is systematic and widespread state persecution and violation of human rights, rebellion and revolution have taken place. The French, American, Russian and Chinese Revolutions are glowing examples of human history.

The first war of India’s Independence in 1857 resulted from long and systematic oppression of the Indian masses. The rapidly increasing discontent, frustration and alienation with British rule gave rise to strong national feelings and demand for political privileges and rights. Ultimately the Indian people, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, made the British leave India, setting the country free and independent.

Human rights and freedom ought to be preserved at all costs. Their curtailment degrades human life. The political needs of a country may reshape Human rights, but they should not be completely distorted. Tyranny, regimentation, etc., are inimical of humanity and should be resisted effectively and united. The sanctity of human values, freedom and rights must be preserved and protected. Human Rights Commissions should be established in all countries to take care of human freedom and rights. In cases of violation of human rights, affected individuals should be properly compensated, and it should be ensured that these do not take place in future.

These commissions can become effective instruments in percolating the sensitivity to human rights down to the lowest levels of governments and administrations. The formation of the National Human Rights Commission in October 1993 in India is commendable and should be followed by other countries.

Also Read: Law Courses in India

Human rights are of utmost importance to seek basic equality and human dignity. Human rights ensure that the basic needs of every human are met. They protect vulnerable groups from discrimination and abuse, allow people to stand up for themselves, and follow any religion without fear and give them the freedom to express their thoughts freely. In addition, they grant people access to basic education and equal work opportunities. Thus implementing these rights is crucial to ensure freedom, peace and safety.

Human Rights Day is annually celebrated on the 10th of December.

Human Rights Day is celebrated to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UNGA in 1948.

Some of the common Human Rights are the right to life and liberty, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom from slavery and torture and the right to work and education.

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Home Essay Samples Social Issues

Essay Samples on Human Rights

Lgbtq rights: navigating equality and inclusivity.

LGBTQ rights have emerged as a significant social and legal issue, challenging societies worldwide to confront questions of equality, discrimination, and inclusivity. This essay delves into the multifaceted landscape of LGBTQ rights, examining the historical context, legal advancements, challenges, and the ongoing journey towards achieving...

  • Human Rights

LGBTQ Rights: An Argumentative Landscape

The rights of the LGBTQ community have emerged as a crucial and contentious issue in today's society. This essay undertakes an in-depth analysis of the argumentative discourse surrounding LGBTQ rights, scrutinizing the diverse perspectives, presenting evidence, and providing critical commentary on this complex matter. By...

Is Healthcare a Basic Human Right: Exploring the Complex Issue

Access to healthcare is a fundamental concern that touches upon the well-being and dignity of individuals. The question of whether healthcare is a basic human right is a topic of ongoing debate and has significant implications for society. In this essay, we will explore arguments...

  • Health Care

Against the Death Penalty: A Human Rights Perspective

Introduction The death penalty, or capital punishment, has been a topic of contention for centuries. It involves the judicial killing of a person as punishment for a crime they have been convicted of, typically murder. The argument against the death penalty is multifaceted, encompassing ethical,...

  • Death Penalty

Human Rights in the 21st Century: New Challenges and Opportunities

What are human rights? Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from the start of their lives to the end. Human rights apply regardless of where you are from, what you believe, or how you choose...

  • Types of Human Rights

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Human Rights in a Globalized World: Universalism or Relativity

This analysis will not make the case for any human being having their rights stripped from them but rather will consider whether a universal approach to the formulation and application of human rights suits the current global order. Specific consideration will be given to three...

  • Civil Rights

The Case of Abdullahi Elmi & Aweys Abubakbar: Violation of Human Rights

In November 2016, two Somalian minors, Abdullahi Elmi and Aweys Abubakbar, entered Malta by boat unaccompanied (Abdullahi Elmi and Aweys Abubakar v. Malta, 22 November 2016). Once caught by the Maltese forces, they were kept in the Safi Barracks detention center for a period of...

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Tumultuous History of Rwanda and Its Effect on Human Rights

How the Bad Turns to Worse and the Worse Turns to Development Today, the continent of Africa is made up of 54 distinct countries that cover an area of land of nearly 12 million square miles, which contains over one billion people that are considered...

  • Rwandan Genocide

Protecting the Vulnerable: Human Rights Treaties for Specific Groups

'Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory ' - a quote by...

Art, Activism, and Equality: The Monument of Massacre

Monument Experience When looking at a single small commemorative stone it may appear like the victim's murder was unimportant. However, when looking at the entirety of the monument you can really see the magnitude of this tragedy. By looking from an aerial view you can...

  • Gender Inequality
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The Role of Human Rights NGOs in Protecting and Promoting Human Rights

Introduction The term NGOs bring a sense of humanity and righteousness in peoples minds each time they hear about one. This sense of feeling is prevalent in peoples minds as the term nongovernmental organizations is used to cover the gamut of institutions that are responsible...

Why The Death Penalty Should Be Abolished

In 2018, twenty five American prisoners were sentenced to death. Is this morally wrong? Is this humane? Is this justice? These are only a few of the questions that may be posed when deliberating the death penalty. There are many shocking and unjustified arguments for...

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Best topics on Human Rights

1. LGBTQ Rights: Navigating Equality and Inclusivity

2. LGBTQ Rights: An Argumentative Landscape

3. Is Healthcare a Basic Human Right: Exploring the Complex Issue

4. Against the Death Penalty: A Human Rights Perspective

5. Human Rights in the 21st Century: New Challenges and Opportunities

6. Human Rights in a Globalized World: Universalism or Relativity

7. The Case of Abdullahi Elmi & Aweys Abubakbar: Violation of Human Rights

8. The Tumultuous History of Rwanda and Its Effect on Human Rights

9. Protecting the Vulnerable: Human Rights Treaties for Specific Groups

10. Art, Activism, and Equality: The Monument of Massacre

11. The Role of Human Rights NGOs in Protecting and Promoting Human Rights

12. Why The Death Penalty Should Be Abolished

  • Globalization
  • Gender Equality
  • Women's Rights
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Discrimination

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196 Human Rights Essay Topics & Examples

Human rights, the foundational pillars of a just society, go far beyond governments and cultures. In this collection of human rights research topics, explore the multifaceted dimensions of human rights, from historical struggles to contemporary debates. Try to understand the profound impact of human rights on societies and the pursuit of a better future.

⚖️ TOP 7 Human Rights Topics

🏆 best human rights essay topics, 🎓 interesting human rights research topics, 👍 human rights essay examples, 🔥 hot human rights topics to write about, 💡 simple titles for a human rights essay, 📌 easy human rights topics, ❓ more human rights topics for research paper.

  • Human Rights Violation in the World
  • Human Rights Role in International Relations
  • Human Rights: Historical and Conceptual Evolution
  • Human Rights in Contemporary World
  • Human Rights and Feminist Perspectives in Social Work
  • Discrimination and Human Rights Laws
  • The Nature of Human Rights
  • The Right to Healthcare as a Basic Human Right This paper argues for the implementation of a universal healthcare system in the United States and emphasizes that healthcare is a basic human right.
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Constructivists’ Views Constructivists’ views better than other approaches explain why such an initiative as the development of the declaration of universal human rights was even possible.
  • The Issue of Human Rights Violation This paper states that human rights violation remains a significant issue. Aligning them with the current forms of human mistreatment is necessary.
  • Government Responsibility Regarding Human Rights This paper discusses the primary responsibility of governments in promoting and protecting human rights and outlines legal instruments and conventions that governments use.
  • Role of Civil Society in Realization of Human Rights This essay discusses how civil bodies interact with the state to guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms in socio-political and economic facades.
  • Human Rights as an Essential Part of the Societal Structure Human rights are vital to any social structure as they create guidelines for the people based on their needs and desires.
  • Human Trafficking as Violation of Human Rights Human trafficking is a heinous issue that is very serious and dangerous for our society. It is widely known that human trafficking has become an expanding issue across the world.
  • Universal Conception of Human Rights and Its Challenges Human rights are intercontinental customs, which dictate and determine how different countries handle their citizens and residents.
  • Privacy as a Basic Human Right Privacy is significant since it helps individuals feel safe on a public platform and about the information they do not want to share with others.
  • Feminist Movement: Women’s Rights Are Human Rights Women across the globe deserve a voice and equal human rights, and they should be appreciated, and their contributions to society acknowledged.
  • A Form of Discrimination and Human Rights Violations Based on the relevance of the problem, models and methods of assistance to victims of domestic violence have been developed.
  • Slavery and Human Rights Violation The work presents three stories from various time periods and places, but they are common in the fact that, due to greed, some people are ready to sacrifice all human qualities.
  • Human Rights in Sociology and Philosophy The concept of human rights is among the most popular issues throughout the world in contemporary society today.
  • Human Rights and International Trade Human rights in international trade precipitated the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which caters to the welfare of the workers and other interest groups.
  • Human Trafficking: International Human Rights International human rights law defines human trafficking as the violation of an individual’s right to liberty through appropriation of their legal personality, labor and humanity.
  • Business Practices and Human Rights Human rights refer to the fundamental rights of every human being, irrespective of race, sex, religion, political affiliation, social standing or any other feature.
  • Having Children as a Human Right The massive significance of parenthood as a concept raises the question of whether people should be entitled to have children as a part of their basic set of rights.
  • Human Rights and Discrimination Discrimination is against human rights and should be condemned because it has negative effects such as reduced productivity, feelings of anger, and anxiety.
  • Social Inequality and Human Rights in the Modern World This paper theorize civil rights to be the basis of developing the main social fields of education, healthcare, and career opportunities.
  • Human Rights Related to Immigration The essay discusses human rights related to immigration and analyzes if there are any ways to improve the situation of migrants.
  • The Universality of Human Rights “Human rights are “universal” rights in the sense that they are held “universally” by all human beings”. This report discusses the universality of human rights.
  • Islamic State and Values of Human Rights This paper gives a reflection and analysis of Islamic culture using the ideas gained from the movie “Islam in America”.
  • Human Rights in United Arab Emirates The constitution of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) officially recognizes different rights and freedoms which its citizens and foreigners are entitled to.
  • Human Rights from a Historical Perspective Recognizing the value of human rights guarantees that arbitrariness will not be tolerated and that democracy exists in society.
  • The Fundamental Human Rights Speech Human rights, in plain terms, are the entitlement to the fundamental rights that are given to every individual. We are given these rights, which we retain until we die.
  • Human Rights and Public’s Right to Know The issue of sharing every kind of information with members of the public remains sensitive and capable of affecting the interests of both citizens and governments.
  • Prisoners’ Human Rights Protection For the protection of human rights in prisons, it is important to examine the existing practices and incorporate the knowledge about the methods of promoting social justice.
  • Responsibility of Mltinational Corporations in the Field of Human Rights Multinational corporations in the field of Human Rights have great power, force, potency, or effect in the entities of the current world order.
  • Human Rights and Freedom in Modern Society
  • Citizen Journalism Protects Human Rights
  • Human Development and Human Rights: South African Country Study
  • The Black Lives Matter’s Fight for Human Rights in America
  • The Black Lives Matter and Philosophies of Henry Shue and Thomas Pogge on Human Rights
  • The Different Human Rights Violation in China
  • The Bottled Water Industry and the Violation of Human Rights on a Global
  • Government Reforms and Basic Human Rights
  • The Death Penalty and Violations of Human Rights
  • The Challenges and Struggles of Viola Desmond to Fight for Equal Human Rights
  • Exploring the Relationship Between Military Spending & Human Rights Performance in South Asia
  • How Effective Does the Human Rights Act 1998 Promotes
  • Examining Coca Cola Human Rights Violations in Colombia
  • The International Courts and Tribunals’ Success in Upholding Human Rights
  • The Similarities and Differences in the Level of Development, Human Rights Protection, and Environmental Conditions Between the North and South
  • Civil and Human Rights: Excessive Use of Force
  • The History and Role of the Human Rights Watch, a Nonprofit Human Rights Organization
  • Humanitarian Intervention and Human Rights Violationss
  • Human Rights and Justice: Forms and Mechanisms of Oppression
  • The Violation and Protection of Human Rights in Society
  • Civil Rights Movement and Actual State of Human Rights Ending racial discrimination and equalization of rights between the variety of ethnic groups found on the territory of the United States is a struggle with a long history.
  • Human Rights and Gender Issues: “The Love Suicides at Amijima” & “Tale of Kieu” Comparing “The Love Suicides at Amijima” and “Tale of Kieu”, while representing different time periods, addresses the same problem of human rights and gender inequalities.
  • Human Rights Violation During Hong Kong Protests This paper discusses the violation of human rights as applied to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and applied to the context of the Hong Kong protests in 2019.
  • Donald Trump’s Policies of Poverty and Human Rights One of the events related to an acute social issue of poverty in the United States involves the U.N. report on extreme U.S. poverty and human rights in the context of Donald Trump’s policies.
  • Human Rights in Brunei: Impact of Cultural Practices Human rights and culture contradict because of their origins, and for a country like Brunei, Islamic culture will undoubtedly affect the rights of women and LGBT+ people.
  • Healthcare as a Basic Human Right The right to have unlimited access to healthcare services is linked inseparably to the right to live, which is why accessibility to healthcare must be regarded as a human right.
  • The 1807 Abolition Bill: Continuing Human Rights Struggle A research question concerns the effectiveness of the 1807 Bill in the fight against slavery and its contribution to the further fight against the issue.
  • Human Rights Violations and Prosecutions of Perpetrators This paper discusses the challenges associated with human rights violations regarding international programs and the conditions under which prosecution is not effective.
  • Recognition of Human Rights for LGBT Individuals The paper discusses the importance of studying the issue of LGBTQ people discrimination, including its causes, harmful effects, and current state.
  • American Freedom and Human Rights American spirit consists of a dream of innocence and freedom. It is every American’s duty to create justice, and every person has the power to do so.
  • History, Oppression and Human Rights Violation in India The caste system is not entirely eliminated and still exists in modern-day India expressed in property ownership and governance.
  • Slavery as a Human Rights Issue The paper argues slavery in underdeveloped countries, especially Africa, continues to be a pressing and contemporary problem.
  • Freedom of Speech: The Basic Human Right Freedom of speech allows everyone to receive and impart information. People and communities should articulate their thoughts and ideas without fear of any form of intimidation.
  • Violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in China China has a long history of suppressing authors and freedom of speech. Liu Xiaobo is a literary critic, known for their participation in the social and political spheres.
  • Bartolome De Las Casas and Human Rights in the Age of Exploration Bartolome De Las Casas was a pivotal factor in the emergence of what is currently termed human rights principles, as shown by his deeds and ideas.
  • Human Rights in China and the USA Every country has a different attitude toward human rights. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the problem of human rights in China and the USA.
  • The Abortion Issue Regarding Human Rights This article raises the question of how people should determine what rights should be guaranteed by the constitution and what rights are core rights from birth.
  • Black Sports Activism: Olympic Project for Human Rights Black activism has been fundamental in reducing institutional racism and the mistreatment of African-Americans’ rights in the larger society.
  • Human Rights and Labor Laws Violations in Foreign Countries This discussion explores the situation in Chile and China, where workers have experienced labor laws and human rights violations in recent times.
  • Indigenous People and Human Rights This work examines what rights a person has in the process of acculturation, how acculturation affects the indigenous people of many countries, its tendencies in the modern world.
  • Human Rights and the Burqa Ban in France This paper expounding on how the affected French citizens may go about opposing the ‘burqa ban’ in the court of law.
  • Human Rights Under Russian Leadership Human rights are among the essential norms which standardize human behavior and are protected by local and international laws.
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights The current paper reflects these rights to understand their impact on ending atrocities of unpleasant events that occurred in the past, such as war.
  • Human Rights in Brown v. Board of Education Case The Brown v. Board of Education case was a fundamental court decision since it secured the rights of millions of children but also the rights of the African American population.
  • Human Subjects Protection: International and Regional Human Rights Standards Any clinical expertise must be integrated with the best possible scientific evidence. Otherwise, it is impossible to provide patients with all the needed options.
  • Medicine and Public Health, Ethics and Human Rights Nowadays one can observe the tense connection between public health, medicine, human rights, and ethics; it can be explained by a number of medical challenges, etc.
  • The Issues of Public Health, Ethics, and Human Rights Human awareness of medical care limits, the recognition of societal structure influence, etc. provide a wide link between healthy vision and ethical norms perception.
  • The Human Right to Equality and Racial Issues in the US This paper examines the issue of the human right to equality and non-discrimination, which is in question in the United States.
  • UK Anti-Terrorism Strategy and the Human Rights Implications on its Implementation The prevention of terrorism has been given a higher priority, and the new legislation has drawn on new instruments equivalent to the European levels.
  • The Convention for Safeguarding the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom of the EU Citizens The convention for safeguarding the Human rights and fundamental freedom of the EU citizens were drawn up by the European Council on November 4th, 1950, and enforced in 1953.
  • Human Rights Cities: Mountain View This blog post describes the records and the solutions of Mountain View city’s compliances to the global universal rights of an individual.
  • Human Rights Violation in Ethiopia The purpose of this paper is to draw the public’s attention to the terrifying events that are happening in Ethiopia and demand justice and freedom for the Oromo people.
  • Affordable Care Act as a Fundamental Human Right Healthcare should be recognized as a fundamental human right, which can be based on a new Medicare for All program to be cost-effective and affordable.
  • Declaration of Human Rights Influence on Government In this article, the author examines the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its impact on the governments.
  • Human Rights and the Rwandan Genocide In the first half of 1994, Rwanda lost approximately 800,000 citizens due to tribal clashes that led to what is referred to now as the Rwandan Genocide.
  • The Mutual Relationship Between the Fields of Human Rights and Environmental Protection
  • The Relationship Between Intellectual Property and Human Rights International Law
  • The Constitution and the Declaration of Human Rights
  • The Concepts and Significance of Human Rights in Society
  • Children, Guantanamo Bay and the Violation of Human Rights
  • Civil Liberties and Violations of Human Rights
  • The Reason Why Countries Signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Human Rights and Latin American Indigenous Women
  • How the Death Penalty Is Against Our Human Rights
  • The Criminal Defence and Human Rights Lawyer
  • Effective Practices for Infusing Human Rights
  • How Being Homeless Affects an Individual’s Human Rights
  • Gay Marriage: The Recognition of Equal Human Rights
  • The Black Codes: Limiting Basic Human Rights and Civil Liberties of Blacks
  • Human Rights and International Investment Law
  • Exponential Innovation and Human Rights: Implications for Science and Technology Diplomacy
  • The World Struggle for Human Rights and the Rights of Self
  • Child Soldiers Are Abused and Deprived of Human Rights
  • Business and Human Rights: The Evolving International Agenda
  • Development and Human Rights as Addressed by Bolivian President Evo Morales
  • Immigrants Human Rights Violation in the United States The research question addresses the need to halt family separations at the border by launching long-term cooperation with other states, such as Mexico.
  • Ethical Cases: Human Rights To Decide on One’s Life From medical ethics, care providers must follow the principles of autonomy and beneficence, but they are opposed to each other in these ethical cases.
  • UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights The U.N. Guiding Principles are a necessary but still insufficiently effective tool to protect human rights from large business structures.
  • Global Human Rights Progress and the Role of National Cultural Value Systems This paper aims to investigate arguments in favor and against the claim that there has been progressing in developing global human rights over the last twenty years.
  • Human Rights Violations in Hong Kong The article is about the arrest of district councilor Cheng Lai-king on March 26, 2020, after being accused of seditious intent.
  • Confucianism and Human Rights Development The work highlights the main ideas of Confucianism, describes how it has changed over time under the influence of Western culture and what impact it has on our lives.
  • Sudan, Oil, War, and Human Rights This paper aims to address the main issues for why despite the end of the formal conflict in Sudan; global human rights actors have remained unable to stop the war-like patterns.
  • Are Human Rights Universal? The author argues that the concept of “human rights” serves as an instrument of political propaganda, and not a legal mechanism for protecting the well-being of people.
  • Human Rights: Social Relations and State and Citizens Relations Human rights play a crucial role in social relations and relations between the state and citizens. In the integral approach human rights are not made subservient to any ideology.
  • Human Rights Problem of Domestic Help in El Salvador The condition of human rights in El Salvador concerning the domestic helps has been steadily deteriorating over the years
  • Human Rights Conservation and the War on Terror Public Safety is the concept of governmental organizations concerned with protecting their citizens from all kinds of threats.
  • Cultural Relativism, Universal Jurisdiction and Human Rights The Human Rights area of different countries has its own peculiar features and structure. Human Rights are the result of people’s fight for independence.
  • Modern World Politics and the Cause of Human Rights Human rights, democracy and terrorism act as a triangle which bounds modern world politics to a certain limitation.
  • Circumcision as a Human Rights Issue in the US Circumcision can be considered one of the disputable practices that are still used on infants because of outdated believes and issues.
  • Remote Sensing to Monitor Human Rights Violations The use of modern technologies provides multiple options for various agencies that assess situations regarding human rights and their violations.
  • Circumcision: Ethical Dilemma and Human Rights Circumcision is a complex phenomenon that can result in ethical dilemmas. To put it simply, circumcision consists of surgical operations on female and male genitals.
  • Same-Sex Marriages and Human Rights Many people acknowledge that same-sex marriage is something that should be analyzed using this law. This discussion gives my personal perspective of this issue.
  • Human Rights, Globalization and Economic Development Based on Bryzk’s definition of globalization, it is clear that a globalized world makes it easy to have a free flow of information and ideas across the border.
  • Universal Human Rights in Political Ideologies The major contention of Communitarian with the ideologies of Universalism can be traced to the major element that each ideology advocates.
  • Human Rights in Israel-Gaza and West Bank Regions The conflict in the Gaza region was a violation of human rights because the sovereignty of the state was not respected by foreign powers.
  • Human Rights Advocates vs. Terrorism Victims In this study, we seek to find out the implication of terrorism on human rights and the impact of terrorism on global security.
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Crises This paper gives a detailed analysis of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights from different perspectives.
  • High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and Human Rights The focus of this assignment is the use of high-resolution satellite imagery for detecting mass graves in Sheberghan, an area in Afghanistan.
  • Childhood Obesity Study, Ethics, and Human Rights The present paper discusses ethical considerations and plans in the protection of human rights in the childhood obesity issue, possible limitations, and implications of the study.
  • Networked Society: Connectivity as a Human Right The media text focuses on the collaborative aspect of the internet in which people are able to add their own ideas, assumptions and create their own content for public viewing.
  • W. Kymlicka on Human Rights and Culture Protection Every society has a distinct culture that differentiates it from others and members of the society can interact freely even if they are from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Canada’s Commitment to Human Rights Principles Human rights refer to those aspects that uphold the outmost virtues of humankind. This paper is an evaluation of Canada’s commitment to human rights principles.
  • Violation of the Human Right to Life: Death Penalty The problem of the death penalty cannot be separated from the general concept of human rights as it violates the paramount right of a human to life.
  • Heart Failure Study and Human Rights Protection The present paper discusses ethical considerations and plans in the protection of human rights during the study on congestive heart failure (CHF) patients post-discharge.
  • Canadian Studies: Sexuality and Human Rights The history of Canada cannot be imagined without a chapter of same-sex struggle that, in many ways, defined the development of ethical principles of the country.
  • Human Rights and Ethnic Groups in American History The paper argues that the United States protects human rights and minority ethnic groups. It discusses American history, its political, economic, and civil rights aspects.
  • The Human Rights Act as a Protection Tool in the UK The HRA (Human Rights Act) was introduced in the UK in 1998 as a means of implementing an internal judicial method of addressing human rights concerns.
  • Universal Human Rights and Cultural Values The universality of human rights is a question for debate because of the impact of cultures on people’s acceptation and interpretation of these rights.
  • Circumcision: Medical, Ethical and Human Rights Issues Human genitals is a matter that is to be treated with utmost care. Genital mutilations are mainly referred to as “a cultural practice”.
  • The Gay Human Rights: Harvey Milk Contributions Harvey Milk and his contribution in the struggle to preserve gay human rights are discussed from a theoretical perspective. This paper provides an in-depth understanding of gay human rights.
  • Understanding Human Rights: Labor Rights in a Globalizing World and Gender Rights Labour rights are human rights which encompass “the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of forced and slave labour.
  • Human Rights and Development: The Antithesis of Armed Conflicts and War
  • The Coca-Cola Company’s Abuse of Its Employees Through the Violation of the Code of Human Rights
  • How Has the Human Rights Act Affected Parliamentary Supremacy
  • Community Service Can Restore Social Justice and Uphold Human Rights
  • Human Rights Act and Parliamentary Sovereignty
  • Human Rights and Freedom of Expression and Opinion
  • Human Rights and Criminal Justice in the United Kingdom
  • How Far Has the Government Gone to Compromise Our Basic Human Rights
  • Does Mental Health Treatment Infringe Human Rights?
  • The Link Between Corruption and Human Rights Violations
  • Are New Democracies Better Human Rights Compliers
  • Connection Between Democracy and Human Rights
  • Ethical and Philosophical Nature of Human Rights
  • The Connection Between Torture and Sin as a Theological Theme in the Conference Torture, Human Rights, War on Terror
  • The Pros and Cons of the Declaration of Human Rights
  • China Internet Censorship Against Human Rights
  • Human Rights and Civil Liberties in Canada
  • Examining the Links Between Human Rights and Different Models of Disability in Education
  • How Does Being Homeless Affect an Individual‘s Human Rights?
  • How Far Has the Government Gone to Compromise Our Basic Human Rights?
  • Are Security and Human Rights Mutually Exclusive?
  • Are Human Rights Issues Valid?
  • How Has Globalization Impacted Human Rights?
  • How Can Community Service Improve Human Rights and Our Society as a Whole?
  • How Did the Development of Human Rights Affect the Caste System in India?
  • Are Human Rights Practices Improving?
  • Are Human Rights Innate and Universal?
  • Are Human Rights “Subversive to the Current” Society of States?
  • How Does Human Rights Affect Multi-National Companies on Their Marketing Strategies?
  • Does the Canadian Charter Effectively Protect Our Human Rights?
  • Are Bangladeshi Women Enjoying Human Rights Properly?
  • Are Human Rights Infringed in Treatments for Mental Health?
  • Does Terrorism Threaten Human Rights?
  • Are Human Rights Truly Universal?
  • Are Human Rights Universal and Does It Matter?
  • Does the Human Rights Act Protect Civil Liberties?
  • Does the Terrorism Act Infringe Upon Our Human Rights?
  • Are Human Rights Human?
  • How Effectively Does the Human Rights Act 1998 Promote?
  • Are Rich Nations Violating the Human Rights of the World’s Poor?
  • Are Human Rights Universal Philosophy?
  • Are Human Rights and Economic Well-Being Substitutes?
  • Are Human Rights Protected?
  • Are New Democracies Better Human Rights Compliers?
  • Does the Human Rights Act 1998 Promote or Hinder Democracy?
  • Are Worker Rights Human Rights?
  • Does the WTO Violate Human Rights?

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StudyCorgi. (2021, September 9). 196 Human Rights Essay Topics & Examples.

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StudyCorgi . "196 Human Rights Essay Topics & Examples." September 9, 2021.

StudyCorgi . 2021. "196 Human Rights Essay Topics & Examples." September 9, 2021.

These essay examples and topics on Human Rights were carefully selected by the StudyCorgi editorial team. They meet our highest standards in terms of grammar, punctuation, style, and fact accuracy. Please ensure you properly reference the materials if you’re using them to write your assignment.

This essay topic collection was updated on January 21, 2024 .

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Creative Ideas For Writing Human Rights Essay Topics

Updated 18 Jun 2024

To write a human rights paper properly, the first thing you can do is to get inspired by some creative ideas on the topic. That will help to learn all the possible angles this subject can be discussed and get you prepared for writing a compelling and outstanding essay.

Human rights essay topics always have to cover some of the burning issues regarding law and human rights , why some states treat them differently from other ones etc. It’s useful to compare and contrast some civil liberties with others and make your personal statement.

Human Rights Essay Topics

In the remainder of the text, you will find a human rights topics list divided into subcategories that should help you find your best. You may now wonder why choosing the topic is so important. The answer is quite simple — you have to make your essay compelling to the reader and interesting from the very beginning. Be sure to practice in order to learn how to  write my essay on human rights properly. Let's dive right in!

Human Rights Essay Topics

Here’s a list of engaging essays ideas to write about. Choosing any of them will apply to any country and type of civil rights regulations.

  • The evolution of human rights in the 21st century.
  • The impact of globalization on human rights practices.
  • The role of the United Nations in promoting global human rights.
  • Human rights violations in conflict zones: Case studies.
  • The influence of cultural traditions on the implementation of human rights.
  • The effectiveness of international human rights treaties.
  • The relationship between economic development and human rights.
  • Gender equality as a fundamental human right.
  • The rights of indigenous peoples around the world.
  • Freedom of expression vs. hate speech: Finding the balance.
  • The right to privacy in the digital age.
  • The challenges of protecting human rights during pandemics.
  • Climate change and its implications for human rights.
  • The role of education in promoting human rights awareness.
  • Human trafficking: A modern violation of human rights.
  • The rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Child labor: A persistent human rights challenge.
  • The death penalty and human rights debates.
  • The rights of the disabled: Progress and obstacles.
  • LGBTQ+ rights as human rights: Global perspectives.

Argumentative Human Rights Topics

Here are some of the most interesting argumentative topics.

  • Should economic sanctions be used to punish human rights violations?
  • Is the concept of universal human rights culturally biased?
  • Can the right to bear arms be considered a fundamental human right?
  • The ethics of using drone strikes in counter-terrorism efforts.
  • Should freedom of speech have limits in cases of hate speech?
  • The effectiveness of the International Criminal Court in prosecuting human rights abuses.
  • Is the right to a clean environment a fundamental human right?
  • The morality of using torture in national security interrogations.
  • Should countries have the right to enforce their human rights standards internationally?
  • The balance between national security and individual privacy rights.
  • Are mandatory vaccinations a violation of human rights?
  • The legality of forced sterilizations in controlling population growth.
  • Should prisoners have the right to vote?
  • Is capital punishment a violation of human rights?
  • The ethical implications of genetic screening and human rights.
  • Should companies be held accountable for human rights violations abroad?
  • The impact of social media censorship on freedom of expression.
  • Is the right to asylum being undermined by strict immigration policies?
  • Should animal rights be considered as part of human rights discourse?
  • The role of civil disobedience in promoting human rights.

Analytical Human Rights Essay Ideas

Maybe you want to write an analytical essay that covers a topic on civil liberties. In that case, choose one topic from the following list.

  • Analyzing the role of women in human rights movements globally.
  • The impact of economic inequality on access to human rights.
  • A comparative analysis of human rights legislation across continents.
  • The psychological effects of long-term human rights abuses on communities.
  • The role of technology in both advancing and hindering human rights.
  • Analyzing the success of grassroots movements in effecting human rights change.
  • The influence of international pressure on countries' human rights records.
  • The relationship between human rights and global health initiatives.
  • An analysis of post-colonial impacts on human rights in former colonies.
  • The effectiveness of public awareness campaigns on human rights issues.
  • Analyzing the challenges of implementing human rights in authoritarian regimes.
  • The role of education in preventing human rights violations.
  • The impact of cultural relativism on the enforcement of international human rights.
  • An analysis of the intersectionality of race, gender, and human rights.
  • The consequences of environmental degradation on human rights.
  • Analyzing the legal frameworks protecting the human rights of migrants.
  • The role of the media in exposing human rights violations.
  • An analysis of the balance between religious freedom and gender equality.
  • The impact of international trade agreements on human rights standards.
  • Analyzing the role of youth in the future of human rights advocacy.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Human Rights

If you want to compare and contrast particular issues and concepts regarding constitutional rights in your essay, choose one topic from the following list. They all tackle one of the burning issues. Compare and contrast:

  • Comparing the human rights records of democratic vs. authoritarian regimes.
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights vs. The American Declaration of Rights and Duties of Man: A comparative analysis.
  • Comparing the approaches to women's rights in the Middle East and Western Europe.
  • The treatment of refugees in Europe vs. Asia: Policies and practices.
  • Comparing the effectiveness of UN human rights interventions in different regions.
  • The rights of the child: Comparing implementation in developed vs. developing countries.
  • Comparing the legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals in North America vs. Africa.
  • Freedom of the press in wartime vs. peacetime: A comparative analysis.
  • Comparing the impact of colonialism on human rights in Africa and Asia.
  • The role of civil society in human rights advocacy: Comparing two case studies.
  • Comparing the enforcement of labor rights in the global north vs. the global south.
  • The right to education: Comparing access and quality in rural vs. urban areas.
  • Comparing the treatment of indigenous peoples in North America and Australia.
  • The death penalty: A comparison of arguments for and against.
  • Comparing the strategies of non-violent vs. violent protests in human rights movements.
  • The impact of climate change on human rights: Comparing developed and developing countries' responses.
  • Comparing the role of international vs. local actors in human rights advocacy.
  • Freedom of religion: Comparing secular and religious states.
  • Comparing the human rights implications of the COVID-19 response in two countries.
  • The right to privacy: Comparing surveillance practices in the USA and China.

Human Rights Violation Essay Topics

If you’re interested in writing about the violation of civil rights in different countries, here’s a list.

  • The impact of war on civilian populations: A human rights perspective.
  • Child soldiers: Violations of human rights in armed conflicts.
  • Human trafficking: Modern slavery in the global economy.
  • The plight of refugees: Human rights violations and international responses.
  • Torture and ill-treatment in detention: A global human rights challenge.
  • Forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings: Accountability and justice.
  • The rights of indigenous peoples: Violations and protections.
  • Gender-based violence: A pervasive human rights violation.
  • The impact of economic sanctions on civilian populations.
  • Censorship and the suppression of free expression: A human rights analysis.
  • The human rights implications of environmental degradation and climate change.
  • Discrimination against people with disabilities: A global overview.
  • The rights of migrant workers: Exploitation and abuse.
  • The use of solitary confinement in prisons: A human rights examination.
  • State-sponsored discrimination: The case of the Rohingya in Myanmar.
  • The human rights crisis in North Korea: An in-depth look.
  • Child labor in the global supply chain: Ethical considerations and solutions.
  • The impact of the drug war on human rights in Latin America.
  • Access to clean water and sanitation: A fundamental human right.
  • The role of international organizations in addressing human rights violations.

Civil Rights Essay Topics

The following list can help you in your research. Consider one of the topics from these recommendations.

  • The Civil Rights Movement in the United States: Key figures and milestones.
  • Racial profiling and police brutality: Civil rights implications.
  • The fight for voting rights: Historical struggles and current challenges.
  • The role of civil disobedience in advancing civil rights.
  • Affirmative action: Controversies and impacts on civil rights.
  • The intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality in civil rights activism.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act: Impact on civil rights.
  • The role of the Supreme Court in shaping civil rights law.
  • School desegregation and the fight for equal education.
  • The impact of social media on civil rights movements.
  • Civil rights in the workplace: Discrimination and equality.
  • Housing discrimination and the fight for fair housing.
  • The role of art and culture in the civil rights movement.
  • The impact of immigration policies on civil rights.
  • LGBTQ+ rights as civil rights: Historical and contemporary struggles.
  • The role of women in the civil rights movement.
  • Religious freedom and civil rights: Finding the balance.
  • The impact of the War on Terror on civil liberties.
  • Voter suppression and democracy: A civil rights issue.
  • Environmental justice as a civil right.

LGBT Essay Ideas

If you want to write about the LGBT community and its issues in many countries, choose one of the following topics. They will all be compelling to readers since LGBT issues are still unresolved worldwide.

  • The history of the LGBT rights movement: Key events and figures.
  • Same-sex marriage: Global progress and challenges.
  • Transgender rights and visibility: Advances and obstacles.
  • The impact of LGBT representation in media on societal attitudes.
  • Discrimination against LGBT individuals in the workplace.
  • The role of pride parades in the LGBT rights movement.
  • LGBT rights and religion: Conflicts and dialogues.
  • The mental health challenges faced by LGBT youth.
  • The intersectionality of LGBT identities with race and ethnicity.
  • Legal protections for LGBT individuals: A global perspective.
  • The challenges of LGBT activism in conservative societies.
  • The evolution of gender identity and expression in contemporary society.
  • The impact of HIV/AIDS on the LGBT community: Past and present.
  • Adoption rights for LGBT couples.
  • The significance of LGBT safe spaces in education and communities.
  • The role of allies in the LGBT rights movement.
  • The challenges of transitioning and access to healthcare for transgender individuals.
  • LGBT refugees and asylum seekers: Legal and humanitarian issues.
  • The impact of anti-LGBT laws on international human rights.
  • Celebrating diversity: The importance of LGBT cultural festivals.

Freedom of Speech Essay Topics

  • The limits of free speech: Hate speech, libel, and censorship.
  • The role of free speech in democratic societies.
  • The impact of social media on freedom of expression.
  • Free speech on college campuses: Safe spaces and trigger warnings.
  • The legal challenges of regulating speech on the internet.
  • The relationship between free speech and fake news.
  • Freedom of the press: Rights and responsibilities.
  • The history of free speech movements.
  • The impact of blasphemy laws on freedom of expression.
  • Free speech and political correctness: Finding the balance.
  • The role of whistleblowers in a free society.
  • Censorship in authoritarian regimes vs. democratic societies.
  • The implications of surveillance on free speech.
  • Freedom of artistic expression: Controversies and limits.
  • The right to protest: Free speech in action.
  • The impact of free speech on minority rights.
  • Digital activism and freedom of expression online.
  • The role of satire and parody in free speech.
  • Free speech and the marketplace of ideas.
  • The future of free speech in the digital age.

Death Penalty Essay Topics

  • The morality of the death penalty in modern justice systems.
  • The effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent to crime.
  • Racial disparities in the application of the death penalty.
  • The impact of wrongful convictions on the death penalty debate.
  • The cost of the death penalty vs. life imprisonment.
  • The death penalty and international human rights law.
  • Methods of execution: Ethical and humanitarian considerations.
  • Public opinion and the death penalty: A shifting landscape.
  • The role of mental illness in death penalty cases.
  • The death penalty for juvenile offenders: Legal and ethical issues.
  • The impact of DNA evidence on death penalty cases.
  • The death penalty and religious beliefs.
  • The death penalty in authoritarian vs. democratic regimes.
  • The role of victim's families in death penalty cases.
  • The death penalty and the concept of redemption.
  • International perspectives on the abolition of the death penalty.
  • The death penalty and political power: Uses and abuses.
  • The future of the death penalty in the United States.
  • The death penalty and gender bias.
  • The role of the media in shaping perceptions of the death penalty.

Tips on Writing a Human Rights Essay

Here are 5 top tips on writing an essay on the topic:

  • Do thorough research before writing and structure your thoughts to make the reference page of your essay. If you compile the bibliography beforehand, you will also save time and avoid getting into a disorganized mess;
  • When your reference page is finished, make an outline of your essay . This part of your paper should be logical and detailed, because it will help you organize your essay into subheadings and paragraphs;
  • Come up with a thesis statement . If a thesis statement is straight to the point, the reader will be able to understand what the essay will be about and understand its value prior reading;
  • Make sure you answer all of the questions stated in the topic in your essay. If you go off the theme, you may get bad points from your professor or bore the reader because they will get lost;
  • Make sure you understand all the relevant terminology to write a human rights essay. Start by learning relevant terms so that you use them accordingly and appropriately.

Steps on How to Choose a Proper Topic

If you want to learn which steps to follow in order to choose proper human rights paper topics, consider the following:

  • Make sure a title you’re choosing deals with topical issues for modern society;
  • Make sure you understand all the relevant terminology regarding your topic;
  • Make sure the topic is catchy and compelling to the reader;
  • Make sure there’s enough relevant material to cover the topic (check the available sources in your local library or online);
  • Make sure you understand the audience that will read your essay;
  • Make sure you use cases from real-life events to illustrate and support all of your points;

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Written by David Kidwell

David is one of those experienced content creators from the United Kingdom who has a high interest in social issues, culture, and entrepreneurship. He always says that reading, blogging, and staying aware of what happens in the world is what makes a person responsible. He likes to learn and share what he knows by making things inspiring and creative enough even for those students who dislike reading.

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Social Justice and Human Rights Essay

  • To find inspiration for your paper and overcome writer’s block
  • As a source of information (ensure proper referencing)
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In the modern world, more and more attention is paid to social justice issues. Public justice is the fundamental principle of a peaceful and prosperous life in the country and between states. The principles of social equity are aimed at removing the barriers that arise in front of people due to various factors. It includes age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, and the presence of a disability (Marshal et al., 2020). The international community recognizes that social development and justice can be achieved in conditions of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Nowadays, significant progress in international investments, capital flows, and trade, along with the development of information technologies, cause globalization and interdependence. In turn, it promotes the world economy’s growth and the rise and improvement of living standards throughout the world (Malihah, 2019). In the aspect of social justice of work, emphasis is placed on guaranteeing the achievement of fair results for all through the provision of employment. Moreover, one should provide meeting fundamental rights and principles, social dialogue, and protection to workers.

It should be noted that social justice is an ambiguous concept. Public equity means receiving benefits according to merit but, at the same time, caring for the vulnerable sections of society (Yacounian & Hansson, 2020). Today, social justice can also be understood as equality before the law, social security, and considering the vital needs of the country’s population. Social equity can be called a universal human value since its manifestations are natural for any healthy society.

To conclude, social justice is one of the foundations of modern civil society. It is on par with other eternal values such as culture, knowledge, human life, peace, and morality. A country that supports social justice for its own citizens participates in the formation of an active civil society. At the same time, social justice allows citizens to feel the rule of law and equal access to their own rights and obligations.

Malihah, E. (2019). Research for social justice: Proceedings of the international seminar on research for social justice . Routledge.

Marshall, C., Pepin, C. G., & Johnson, M. (2020). Educational politics for social justice . Teachers College Press.

Yacoubian, H. A., & Hansson, L. (2020). Nature of science for social justice . Springer Nature.

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IvyPanda. (2024, February 24). Social Justice and Human Rights.

"Social Justice and Human Rights." IvyPanda , 24 Feb. 2024,

IvyPanda . (2024) 'Social Justice and Human Rights'. 24 February.

IvyPanda . 2024. "Social Justice and Human Rights." February 24, 2024.

1. IvyPanda . "Social Justice and Human Rights." February 24, 2024.


IvyPanda . "Social Justice and Human Rights." February 24, 2024.

Human Rights Essay for Students and Children

500+ words essay on human rights.

Human rights are a set of rights which every human is entitled to. Every human being is inherited with these rights no matter what caste, creed, gender, the economic status they belong to. Human rights are very important for making sure that all humans get treated equally. They are in fact essential for a good standard of living in the world.

Human Rights Essay

Moreover, human rights safeguard the interests of the citizens of a country. You are liable to have human rights if you’re a human being. They will help in giving you a good life full of happiness and prosperity.

Human Rights Categories

Human rights are essentially divided into two categories of civil and political rights, and social rights. This classification is important because it clears the concept of human rights further. Plus, they also make humans realize their role in different spheres.

When we talk about civil and political rights , we refer to the classic rights of humans. These rights are responsible for limiting the government’s authority that may affect any individual’s independence. Furthermore, these rights allow humans to contribute to the involvement of the government. In addition to the determination of laws as well.

Next up, the social rights of people guide the government to encourage ways to plan various ways which will help in improving the life quality of citizens. All the governments of countries are responsible for ensuring the well-being of their citizens. Human rights help countries in doing so efficiently.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Importance of Human Rights

Human rights are extremely important for the overall development of a country and individuals on a personal level. If we take a look at the basic human rights, we see how there are right to life, the right to practice any religion, freedom of movement , freedom from movement and more. Each right plays a major role in the well-being of any human.

Right to life protects the lives of human beings. It ensures no one can kill you and thus safeguards your peace of mind. Subsequently, the freedom of thought and religion allows citizens to follow any religion they wish to. Moreover, it also means anyone can think freely.

Further, freedom of movement is helpful in people’s mobilization. It ensures no one is restricted from traveling and residing in any state of their choice. It allows you to grab opportunities wherever you wish to.

Next up, human rights also give you the right to a fair trial. Every human being has the right to move to the court where there will be impartial decision making . They can trust the court to give them justice when everything else fails.

Most importantly, humans are now free from any form of slavery. No other human being can indulge in slavery and make them their slaves. Further, humans are also free to speak and express their opinion.

In short, human rights are very essential for a happy living of human beings. However, these days they are violated endlessly and we need to come together to tackle this issue. The governments and citizens must take efforts to protect each other and progress for the better. In other words, this will ensure happiness and prosperity all over the world.

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Human Rights Essay Examples

We have 94 free papers on human rights for you, essay examples, essay topics, the letter of hope with the quest to end racism in america.

Human Rights

racism in America

United States

Ending America’s judgments is a discovery, Martin Luther King, an African-American civil rights leader, has a dream to overcome the unbalance of civilization. He fought for freedom. He had discovering a lot of moving examples of African-American people dealt with inequality, segregation and racism. In Birmingham, Mr. King noticed the point of view that argues…

A Discussion on Whether the Social Movements of the 1960’s Have Solved the Issues of Racism in America

In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act which forbade employers from discriminating against people with regard to sex or race when hiring, promoting, and firing. The actual final legislation made it unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or to otherwise discriminate against any individual with…

The Hidden Truth Behind the Death of Racism in America

The black community has been oppressed for centuries, and recent events like the shooting of Mike Brown and the death of Kevin Gardner show that oppression is still very present today There is still a voice in the darkness of society that screams “racism is dead”; “there is no such thing as white privilege”; or…

The Great Task of Rebuilding America After the Civil War

Westward Expansion

The civil war was an extremely important part of american history and was a time where our nation was the most divided as it has ever been. Many factors including the issues of states rights, westward expansion, and most importantly, slavery, were what finally caused the north and south to fight against each other in…

Women Launch the Campaign for Equality

Throughout history, there has always been a barrier in society that has prevented the participation of women and African Americans in the public sphere. As these groups tried to solve issues with society, white men would try to keep the status quo of the social structure and avoid change. In modern times, there are no…

Politics in America Now Compared to Fifty Years Ago

Today’s life, an era in which politics is the fad. Our freedom is at an all time high. People from all over the country are putting in ideas and verbal disputes of what they want equality to look like. Different political groups are wanting to change or fix America’s structures like education, women’s equality, and…

Abu Ghraib A Series of Human Rights Violations Against Prisoners

Following the month-long period of conventional warfare in Iraq that led to Saddam Hussein’s regime collapse, the United States (U.S.) government sanctioned certain actions to find and destroy any of the country’s supposed cache of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) (Das and Malveaux 2005). These actions included a mandated U.S.-led occupation of Iraqi prisons that…

Susan B Anthony, Martin Luther King and Other Fighted for Human Rights

Martin Luther King

Womens Rights

The most important right that a citizen of the United States has is the ability to have the free choice to vote for whomever Americans please. It does not matter for the most part who Americans are. If someone is an American citizen and of age then they are allowed to vote as long as…

Types of Abusing Human Rights in North Korea

North Korea

Since, Cold War Era, Korea has been dived by South and North by the invasion of North camp to the South camp. The Korean War on June 25th, 1950, was not only a war between South and North but also conflict between liberalism and communism. So the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United…

Free Speech, Free People (1504 words)

Freedom of Speech

The removal of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on March 10, 2017, was perhaps a reminder of what it means for the people to govern themselves. The press exposed Park’s corruption, the informed public took to the streets in peaceful candlelight protests, the courts impeached and imprisoned her, and the people democratic elected her replacement…

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My Case for Freedom of Speech

Life and Legacy of Dorothea Dix

International Human Rights Opinion and Removing a Constitutionally Elected Government in Fiji

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How the Beauty Industry Has Devalued Black Women

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Essay About Suicide: Causes, Signs, and Main Factors

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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • All human beings are free and equal All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed...
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  • Right to life Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
  • Right to life Everyone has the right to life, liberty and...
  • The right to life and liberty
  • Freedom from slavery and torture
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  • The right to work
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Human Rights

The term human rights if looked at are self-explanatory as is. These are rights inherent to all humans irrespective of their race, language, gender or ethnicity. It is as simple as the fact that if you’re a human born into this world you instinctively should be treated a certain way. This treatment is also a part of human rights, right of a human to be accepted in a society irrespective of their individuality. The term holds a lot of weight all over the world. Some of the examples are as follows:

Human Rights All Over The World

There is no country in the world that does not practice or does not aspire towards practicing human rights in one way or another. These are directed towards all:

  • People belonging to a minority in terms of caste, color or ethnic beliefs
  • Children and other similar individuals.

The purpose behind human rights is to ensure that no matter who the individual is, they are provided with a certain sense of security that they are humans are valuable not just to the community but also to the world. These human rights come to play particularly when a tragedy strikes and the individual feels there is no one there to take them by the hand.

For example, if a woman is widowed and has a child to look after, the laws of many countries ensure that the woman is provided with sufficient finances that allow her to continue a decent lifestyle without having to beg. This allows her to care for her child’s wellbeing and education and her own.

A very basic example of human rights in places abroad is the freedom to practice their culture and religion without feeling like a singled out entity. These rights ensure that no matter what religion that individual belongs to, he or she is welcomed into the community with open arms and given the safety that any other resident of the country is given.

The reason why implementation and belief in human rights is important is to ensure peace and harmony between people who strive and exist together. These are people with different interests, beliefs and backgrounds. They all come together, unite and hold one opinion on the single more important truth and that is that each individual must be provided with the basic human rights. The right to live and the right to live well.

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Human Rights Institute

Teaching Human Rights

Learning human rights as a student.

I can admit that I never fully understood the importance of human rights until I became a student. Being a student provides individuals a chance to learn and see things from a different perspective, which they may otherwise not have. My experience as a student provided me the opportunity to learn and see human rights, or the lack of human rights, in action. The biggest eye opening experience that revealed my sheltered idea of human rights was my first time out of the country, on a study aboard trip. Children were on the street homeless without families, left with the decision of choosing to spend their day working for money instead of going to school. Others are left in the worst possible living conditions because the government will not allow them to get the proper identification to work or even move. In class, we learn through lectures, conversations, videos, and/or pictures of how human rights affect individuals around the world, but there is nothing compared to seeing it in real life. Being a witness to the lack of human rights in other countries is how I officially learned and saw the need for change.

Growing up in America as a member in the majority population, it was easy to fall in a trap of thinking everyone is protected by the basic human rights. In the past couple of years, I have grown to realize my naïve thinking and have actually become quite ashamed of those thoughts. I needed to take the blinders off and have a good look around to notice not only how people are treated in other countries but also our own. My internship, assisting homeless families has shown me that the human rights issues are not only affecting other countries but our home as well. The human right of adequate standard of living, including housing, has been a major issue in our communities. It may seem minimal compared to the lack of human rights in other countries but still an issue that many families face. Finding affordable housing is something families struggle to achieve even those who are working 40 plus hours a week.  In my specific county, great strides have been taken to tackle this concern but I cannot say the same for other areas. Many people may think that housing and a standard of living is earned, but in reality is it still a human right everyone deserves. I do believe that education is key to learning about the world around us and becoming more accepting and understanding.

Shelby Davey

Master of Social Work Candidate

West Chester University (PA)

Human Rights Careers

10 Human Rights Topic Ideas For You To Explore

Are you interested in knowing more about a human rights topic? Maybe you’re in school and need an idea for a project. People hoping to work (or currently working) in the human rights field also need to know about emerging trends. Even if your career isn’t in human rights, these topics are still relevant. Whether you want to volunteer with an organization, raise awareness about an issue, or simply know more about what’s going on, understanding the state of human rights is important. It’s the first step to defending rights and making the world a better place for everyone. Here are ten human rights topic ideas to explore:

#1. Gender inequality

Gender inequality is an evergreen human rights topic. Because it has such a long history, we have a good idea of what works and what still needs to be done. Issues like the gender pay gap, the distribution of unpaid labor, gender-based violence , gendered job segregation, and women’s empowerment play into the state of inequality. Due to the pandemic, gender parity was set back by about a generation, so how to best respond is also a good topic to explore.

#2. Climate change

The climate crisis is arguably the most globally urgent human rights topic today. Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change consistently confirm that human activity drives climate change. It affects rights like health, housing, food, water, education, and more. It disproportionately affects women, children, older people, minorities, migrants, rural workers, and other vulnerable groups.

#3. Children’s rights

Children often have their human rights violated. This is especially common during times of war, poverty, and other conflicts. The climate crisis represents one of the biggest threats. According to UNICEF , around one billion children are at “extremely high risk.” Kids need adults and organizations committed to speaking up for them and empowering their voices.

#4. The rights of migrants and refugees

More than 280 million people (about 3.6% of the global population) live outside their country of origin, according to the United Nations. Many of those migrants were forced to leave. The reasons vary significantly, but the human rights of migrants and refugees are often threatened. A report by the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Mixed Migration Centre at the Danish Refugee Council gives us an example. The report detailed how people crossing routes between East and West Africa and Africa’s Mediterranean coast face human rights abuses from smugglers, human traffickers, and State authorities.

#5. Weakening democracy

Freedom in the World 2021 , a report from Freedom House, found that authoritarian actors are becoming more brazen. 73 countries saw their freedom scores decline, including authoritarian states like Belarus and democracies like the United States and India. Considering that 2020 represented the 15th consecutive year of a decline in global freedom, weakening democracy is a disturbing human rights trend.

#6. Reproductive rights in Poland

Reproductive rights are important everywhere, but things are becoming dire in Poland. The country has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe thanks to the Law and Justice Party, which came to power in 2015. As things stand, nearly all abortions are effectively banned. This had led to protests like the massive 2020-2021 Women Strike. Groups supporting women’s rights have received bomb and death threats while individual activists are facing what many see as politically-motivated criminal charges. Anyone invested in reproductive rights should watch what’s happening in Poland.

#7. Disability rights

Due to barriers and discrimination, disabilities make it difficult or impossible for people to participate in the workplace, schools, cultural activities, travel, and so on. As an example, the United States’ confusing Social Security rules can lead to reductions or even a complete loss of benefits for disabled people when they marry. Health insurance can vanish, too. Stigma and ignorance make the world an unjust place, too.

#8. Surveillance technology

Concerns about surveillance are growing in the wake of Covid-19 tracking and monitoring technology. Ethical issues already existed in the use of crime prevention technologies, but the pandemic gave governments a reason to use the tech for another purpose. Employee monitoring, QR codes, facial recognition, drones, data collection, and more can easily start threatening human rights. Surveillance technology everyone. It’s a human rights topic that deserves attention.

#9. Transgender rights

Human rights for trans people were never protected that well, but there’s been a global rollback in recent years. 96 countries allow trans people to legally change their gender, but 71 have what ILGA World (a worldwide federation of organizations campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights) calls prohibitive requirements. There’s also been a weakening of discrimination laws, making the world a more dangerous place for trans people.

#10. Disinformation and misinformation

Propaganda and conspiracy theories have always existed, but technology facilitates the lightning-speed spread of false information. Disinformation is deliberate, but accidentally sharing false information – misinformation – can be just as harmful. False information is a human right issue because it threatens rights like the right to free and fair elections, the right to health, and the right to freedom from discrimination. The global surge of false information regarding Covid-19 is a clear example of the real-world effects. Conspiracy theories about the virus’ origins and false claims about cures and vaccines have led to violence and death .

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About the author, emmaline soken-huberty.

Emmaline Soken-Huberty is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She started to become interested in human rights while attending college, eventually getting a concentration in human rights and humanitarianism. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and climate change are of special concern to her. In her spare time, she can be found reading or enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty with her husband and dog.

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177 Human Rights Research Topics: Bright Ideas List 2023

177 Human Rights Research Topics

Do you have a college research project or thesis on human rights and have been wondering how to prepare a good paper? You need a number of things, such as good research, analytical, and writing skills. However, the first step is getting the right topic. This is very challenging for most students, but we are here to help. This post provides a 177 human rights topics list that you can count on for the best grade. We will also tell you how to craft a great university human rights dissertation.

A Brief about Human Rights

Human rights are the basic freedoms and rights that belong to all persons in the globe, starting from birth to death. These rights apply irrespective of where you are, personal beliefs, or the way you decide to live your life. They cannot be taken away but can be restricted in some cases, such as if you break the law.

The basic rights are anchored on shared values, such as dignity, fairness, equality, independence, and respect. They are all protected by law. Because of their wide applications in areas such as the justice system and employment-related topics, you can expect to get many related school assignments and projects on it.

How to Write a Good Human Rights Thesis or Dissertation

Before we can look at the best human rights thesis topics, let’s look at the best process of writing it. This can be divided into six main steps:

  • Identify the study topic in line with your class teacher/professor’s recommendations. You can use our list of basic human rights topics that comes shortly after this guide.
  • Research the topic well to ensure it has ample resources. Then, identify the main points that will be covered during the study. It will be good to think about the entire dissertation right from the start because all parts are interconnected.
  • Develop a thesis statement. This is very important because it will be tested after analyzing the results.
  • Develop a good structure for the thesis. This is the outline that will guide you on what to include at what point. Carefully look at the current recommendation from your school. One of the best outlines you might want to consider include:
Introduction Literature review Methodology Results Analysis and discussion Conclusion Bibliography
  • Prepare the first draft.
  • Write the final draft by redefining the first draft. At this point, it will be a good idea to consider editing services from experts.

Next, we will highlight the main topics that you should consider in human rights. However, we’d like to remind that you can only pay for thesis and not waste your time over a tone of assignments.

Top Human Rights Research Topics

  • How does social discrimination impact people living with HIV/AIDS?
  • Same-sex marriage: Why is it more social compared to religious significance?
  • A review of international reaction to sweatshops in Asian countries.
  • A closer look at the flaws of morals for kids raised in the US compared to those brought up in Japan.
  • A comprehensive review of the employment problem arising from the surge of the immigrant population.
  • Human rights violations in a country of choice: How has it impacted its image?
  • War against terrorism: How is it impacting human rights?
  • Should prisoners retain their voting rights?
  • Should the US cut trade ties with countries that grossly violate human rights?
  • Universal human rights: Are they achievable in the modern world?
  • Is there a point where human rights can be justified in the interest of national security?
  • Use of cameras in public places: Do they violate human rights?
  • Non-governmental organizations’ operations: Are they strong enough to help protect human rights?
  • Promotion of human rights: Should it be the first priority for every government?
  • Capitalistic systems: Do they defend or violate human rights?
  • Comparing the policies for human rights protection of the United States and India.
  • A review of human rights violations during the 2021 US army withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • Should the US be held accountable for the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945?
  • Human rights in the US and Latin America: A comparison.
  • Compare two historical human rights portraits in the 20 th century.

Argumentative Human Rights Topics

  • Is violation of human rights allowed during times of war?
  • Circumcision of infants: Does it violate their human rights?
  • Should women and men have varying rights?
  • What is the link between human rights and traditions?
  • Capital punishment: Should it be considered a violation of human rights?
  • Right for freedom to education: Should it be made available for all?
  • Social media networking services: Should they guarantee privacy for all the clients.
  • Is the US policy on immigration discriminatory?
  • Interest of states: Should it take precedence over an individual’s human rights?
  • Developed countries have a duty to promote human rights in the developing states.
  • Pet ownership should be considered a universal human right.
  • Childhood concept differs from one culture to another: Should the notion of child labor also vary?
  • What are inappropriate ways of fighting for human rights?
  • Development of a country: Does it depend on the country’s defense of human rights?
  • From a human rights perspective, which is the most important amendment to the US constitution?
  • Comparing Apartheid and Holocaust: Has justice been done for the victims.
  • Human rights in the 21 st century: Is the globe doing enough to address the crisis in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia and Afghanistan?
  • What are the most important lessons on human rights from World War II?
  • Human rights violations in West Bank: Has the globe done enough?

International Human Rights Topics

  • What does the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines tell us about human rights internationally?
  • A review of cases of human rights in the United States between the 1950 and 2000.
  • Analyze the impacts of discrimination based on color and race.
  • A thematic review of modern human rights movements.
  • Trace the evolution of human rights starting from the ancient times to the age of globalization.
  • What is the relationship between human rights and peace in a country? A case study of the Netherlands.
  • Disability in the UK is under attack: Discuss.
  • Who should people running away from human rights violations turn to?
  • Is it appropriate to deny human rights on the basis of religion and gender?
  • Violation of human rights in North Korea: How is the developed world preparing to tackle it?
  • Violation of human rights in Venezuela: Should the United States get involved?
  • The right to stay silent in a court of law: How is this likely to affect the accused person?
  • What are the best remedies for addressing violations of women’s rights in the Middle East?
  • Will the world ever get to a point where people will live without worrying about human rights violations?
  • What makes it so difficult to introduce gun control in the United States?
  • Who should be held responsible for cases of mass shootings in schools?

Controversial Human Rights Topics

  • What are the similarities and differences between human and civil rights?
  • Evaluate the violation of human rights in Syria in the 21 st century.
  • Police-related human rights violation: How can we prevent it?
  • Should prisoners have a right to vote?
  • Assisted euthanasia is a violation of human rights: Discuss.
  • Should persons who try to take their own lives be charged in a court of law?
  • What is the best way to punish states for violating human rights?
  • Countries arming themselves with nuclear weapons are readying to violate human rights.
  • How effective are laws on domestic violence in the UK?
  • All cases of human abuses in history should be tried and concluded.
  • Is the UN doing enough to protect human rights?
  • Holocaust: Is it possible for the world to heal completely?
  • Do you think that the Rwanda Genocide could have been avoided?
  • It is time to act: How do you think the global community should handle the problem of immigrants trying to cross from Africa into Europe?
  • The hidden danger of not addressing bullying in school.
  • Is disciplining a child a violation of human rights?
  • Are correctional facilities doing enough to correct the behavior of inmates?
  • Is imprisonment enough to punish murder criminals?
  • Making a case for life imprisonment and the death penalty for murder criminals.
  • Is abortion a violation of human rights?

Human Rights Discussion Topics

  • What is your view on the famous revolt of the Cockroach People?
  • Discuss the outcomes of the LGBT movements in the 20 th century.
  • A deeper look into civil rights movements from Malcolm X point of view.
  • Interaction between Japan and China during WWII: How did it impact human rights issues in the two states?
  • Discuss the biggest human rights violations in South Africa after Apartheid.
  • UN Refugee program: How does it help enhance refugees’ welfare across the globe?
  • French Revolution and human rights: A thematic review.
  • Human rights in medieval Europe.
  • Human Rights Act in New Zealand in 1993: What is its significance?
  • Which human rights did women across the globe find hard to access in the 20 th century?
  • Police brutality in Brazil: Are the efforts taken by the government enough?
  • Discuss transgender rights in Europe.
  • A review of transgender human rights issues in the United States.
  • Disability rights in the UK.
  • Comparing disability policies in the US and India.
  • Racial profiling by police.
  • What are the roots of racism in the United States?
  • Review the Trail of Broken Treaties.
  • A deeper look at the Chattel Slavery in the Colonial America.
  • Review the African-American male experience.
  • Reviewing the history of the Bill of Rights in the United States.
  • Analyzing the American Indian Movement: How does it compare with other human rights movements?
  • Human rights in modern cinema: How are whites and people of color-treated?

Interesting Civil Rights Topics

  • Black Power Movement: How did it impact the Black Lives Matter in 2020 and 2021?
  • Are the 20 th Century civil rights movements sustainable?
  • Comparing women rights movements in 2020 and the 20 th century.
  • How did Martin Luther influence the civil rights approaches that came after him?
  • Comparing the scientific Revolution, Reformation and Renaissance movements’ impacts on western thought.
  • Protestant Reformation: Discuss how Catholic Church’s corruption and crusaders of war contributed towards its formation.
  • A closer look at the human rights movements during the Industrial Revolution of between 1760 and 1840.
  • How did the teachings of the American Revolution help the secession movement and Civil War?
  • How did Teddy Roosevelt impact the progressive movement?
  • The impact of communism impacts world history.
  • The location of a civil movement is the most important thing in its success: Discuss.
  • What made people start nationalist movement in Prussia?
  • Discuss the results of anti-nationalist movements in New York.
  • Female and Islam oppression on the globe.
  • Reinventing a revolution: A closer look at the Zapatista Movement.
  • What is the link between music, protest, and justice?
  • Confederate Flag: Is it a symbol of oppression?
  • Review the voting rights of 1965.
  • The West Memphis Three.

Special Human Rights Debate Topics

  • Women rights in the first half and second half 20 th century.
  • Legalization of same sex marriage and its impact on global fights for human rights.
  • Human rights movements in the US and their impact on federal policies.
  • International human rights movements: How has it influenced the UK judicial policies?
  • Responsibility to protect: How is it related to the issue of human rights?
  • Suffrage rights in ancient Greek: A holistic review.
  • Human rights presentation in the philosophy of enlightenment.
  • Human rights violations during the First World War.
  • What are lessons did we learn from Hitler and Holocaust during WWII.
  • These five reasons are the main causes of human rights violations in the 21 st century.
  • The main causes of gender disparity in the US.
  • Comparing the state of human rights in the UK and Qatar.
  • Do you think the bible violates human rights?
  • Environmental racism: What are the main effects?
  • The importance of the judiciary in protecting human rights.
  • Women rights in the Roman Empire.
  • Segregation is a violation of human rights.
  • Discussing critical human rights issues in India.

Unique Human Rights Topics for Research

  • The collapse of the Soviet Union and Rise of Communism in Russia.
  • Comparing the Pan-African movement to the 20 th -century cultural nationalism of Latin America.
  • A review of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement’s goals and methods.
  • Abolition of death penalty: Why it is a major human rights issue.
  • Popularity of social media and its impact on human rights. A closer review of Arab countries in North Africa.
  • International Calvinism: What was the impact on European Culture?
  • Why do other countries not intervene in North Korea where massive abuses of human rights have been reported?
  • A statistical review of human trafficking in the 20 th century.
  • How can a person as an individual help to promote human rights?
  • Utilitarianism contravenes human rights.
  • Human rights institutions and their efforts in protecting human rights in Africa.
  • Military actions to protect human rights: Does it make sense?
  • Black Lives Matter Movement protests: What does the movement say about human rights today?
  • Does the UK constitution comprehensively cover the issue of human rights?
  • Global manufacturing: How has it impacted the rights of workers?
  • Has the International Labor Organization done enough to protect the plight of workers on the globe?
  • How does poverty impact human rights in developing countries?

PhD Topics in Human Rights

  • A review of the parts of the globe with the worst cases of human rights violation.
  • How does the internet promote human trafficking? A thematic review.
  • A comprehensive review of factors that impact the outcome of different trials in a court of law.
  • Legitimate forms of the death penalty.
  • What factors prevent people from getting justice? A literature review.
  • A comprehensive review of the impacts of legalizing drug use.
  • What factors prevent equal representation of women in top leadership roles in the developing world?
  • What are the major problems faced by LGBT couples? Propose possible solutions.
  • Racial profiling by police: A case study of Mexico.
  • A comparative review of human rights policies of three countries of your choice in Europe.

Other Human Rights Research Paper Topics

  • LGBT relationships: Why are they disallowed in some countries?
  • Comparing the rights of pets to human rights?
  • A review of human rights violations during quarantines caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A review of the fundamental principle of the EU Commission of Human Rights.
  • Human rights violations in Taiwan.
  • What is the link between ecological problems and human rights problems?
  • Evaluate the most frequently violated human right in your workplace.
  • What is the UK policy on refugees?
  • A closer review of transgender rights in Europe.
  • Discuss physical abuses in marriage in the UK.
  • Evaluate the amendment of laws in France to suit LGBT relationships.
  • Prisoners of war: Do they deserve human rights protection?
  • Discuss the strategies used by the two countries with the best human rights records.
  • Comparing the human rights institutions in Africa to those in Asia.
  • Violation of human rights in Crimea in 2014: Were the remedies enough?

Need Assistance in Writing Your Research Papers on Human Rights?

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Part 4: Taking Action for Human Rights

, (Betty A. Reardon, (Philadelphia: U of Penn., 1995)) Betty Reardon outlines the phases in the development of an advocate. First, of course, people must become aware of human rights concerns. However, if they are to be more than mere spectators, their interest needs to be aroused. They need to start choosing to pay attention. They need to start seeking information about the social origins, history, and consequences of problems they are witnessing. At this step of the process, they are moving from being spectators to being active observers. As the learning process continues, observers begin to develop a greater concern about injustice. This greater concern leads people to want to make others aware. They may tell their friends and families about the problems they are seeing. In other words, they are becoming human rights witnesses.

(Kathleen McGinnis, (St. Louis, MO: Institute for Peace and Justice, 1992)) provides a methodology for educating students for peace and justice. Much of this methodology can be applied to teaching students to become human rights advocates.

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Human Rights

The Human Rights Program of the University of Chicago provides a forum for three key dimensions of human rights. It makes human rights an integral part of liberal arts education; it engages in the vigorous scholarly debate on human rights; and it explores, in both research and teaching, the possibility of a practice of human rights at the cusp of the academy and the world. It takes on human rights as a challenge that is eminently intellectual and, at the same time, immensely practical. The curriculum examines human rights from a variety of disciplinary, thematic, and regional perspectives. There is also an internship program with host organizations in the United States and around the world. Through conferences, workshops, lectures, and film series, the program brings the world to the campus, incorporating the broader community into its educational mission.

Human rights education has been and continues to be the core activity of the Human Rights Program. The fusion of academic endeavor and the engagement with the world of human rights practice are the defining features of the program.

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Harvard Human Rights Journal

Spring 2024 Essay Contest Prompt: Human Rights in Practice

Submissions should be essays about a topic broadly connected to the practice of human rights advocacy. Successful submissions will introduce a novel approach or perspective to their topics, will center practice-based experiences, and will have a strong nexus to human rights law. Submissions may, for example, explore how to overcome contemporary challenges in human rights litigation, or how advocates can better represent the interests of communities at the grassroots level.

Submissions Window : January 17, 2024 – February 28, 2024. Submissions received outside this window will not be considered.

Winners will be announced in the Spring of 2024 and published in the Online Journal .

Submission Guidelines:

Qualifications : The essay contest is open to all current students at Harvard University, including undergraduate and graduate students.

Length Limitations : Submissions should be approximately 1,000–2,000 words, including footnotes.

Citation Format : All assertions should be cited. Please cite sources using footnotes rather than endnotes. Law students should ensure footnotes comply with The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation . For other students, the use of a consistent citation system providing complete source information in the footnotes is sufficient.

Submission Instructions : Participants should send their submission, as an attachment in Microsoft Word format, from an official Harvard email address to the HHRJ Submissions Committee ( [email protected] ), along with a copy of a recent CV. The subject line of the email should include “Essay Contest Submission” and the author’s last name.

Students’ Rights

The Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." This is true for other fundamental rights, as well.

Collage of students protesting

Do I have First Amendment rights in school?

  • You have the right to speak out, hand out flyers and petitions, and wear expressive clothing in school — as long as you don’t disrupt the functioning of the school or violate school policies that don’t hinge on the message expressed.
  • What counts as “disruptive” will vary by context, but a school disagreeing with your position or thinking your speech is controversial or in “bad taste” is not enough to qualify. Courts have upheld students’ rights to wear things like an anti-war armband, an armband opposing the right to get an abortion, and a shirt supporting the LGBTQ community.
  • Schools can have rules that have nothing to do with the message expressed, like dress codes. So, for example, a school can prohibit you from wearing hats — because that rule is not based on what the hats say — but it can’t prohibit you from wearing only pink pussycat hats or pro-NRA hats.
  • Outside of school, you enjoy essentially the same rights to protest and speak out as anyone else. This means you’re likely to be most protected if you organize, protest, and advocate for your views off campus and outside of school hours.
  • You have the right to speak your mind on social media, and your school has the least authority to punish you for content you post off campus and outside of school hours that does not relate to school.

Can my school tell me what I can and cannot wear based on my gender?

  • Public schools can have dress codes, but under federal law dress codes can’t treat students differently based on their gender, force students to conform to sex stereotypes, or censor particular viewpoints.
  • Schools can’t create a dress code based on the stereotype that only girls can wear some types of clothes and only boys can wear other types of clothes. For example, your school can require that skirts must be a certain length, but it cannot require that some students wear skirts and prohibit others from doing so based on the students’ sex or gender expression. That also applies to pants, ties, or any other clothing associated with traditional gender roles.
  • Dress codes also must be enforced equally. For example, rules against “revealing” clothing, such as bans on tank tops or leggings, shouldn’t be enforced only or disproportionately against girls.
  • All students should be allowed to wear clothing consistent with their gender identity and expression, whether they identify as transgender or cisgender. This also applies to homecoming, prom, graduation, and other special school events. Schools shouldn’t require different types of clothing for special events based on students’ sex or gender identity — for example, requiring tuxedos for boys and prom dresses for girls.

Can my school discipline me for participating in a walkout?

  • Because the law in most places requires students to go to school, schools can discipline you for missing class. But schools cannot discipline you more harshly because of the message or the political nature of your action.
  • The punishment you could face will vary by your state, school district, and school. If you’re planning to miss a class or two, look up the policy for unexcused absences for your school and school district. If you’re considering missing several days, read about truancy. Also take a look at the policy for suspensions.
  • If you are facing a suspension of 10 days or more, you have a right to a formal process and can be represented by a lawyer. Some states and school districts require a formal process for fewer days.
  • You should be given the same right to make up work just as any other student who missed classes.

What do I do if I’m confronted by police at my school?

  • If you’re stopped by a police officer at your school, stay calm. Don’t argue, resist, run away, or otherwise interfere with the officer. Ask if you’re free to leave. If the answer is yes, calmly and silently walk away from the officer.
  • If the officer asks you a question, you have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to refuse to write or sign a statement. But if you waive these rights, anything you say, write, or sign can be used against you. And if you choose to make a statement, ask to have a lawyer, parent, or guardian present before you are questioned.
  • You can refuse to give your consent to be searched by the police. This may not stop the search, but this is the best way to protect your rights if you end up in court.
  • Don’t consent to a phone search; police need a warrant to search your phone. The same goes for a strip-search. No police officer or school employee has the authority to strip-search you.
  • Don’t resist, fight, or flee from an officer who is arresting you. Say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t say anything, sign anything, or make any decisions without a lawyer present.

The rights of immigrant students

  • Schools cannot discriminate against students on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
  • Undocumented children cannot be denied their right to a free public education, and schools should not require families to prove their immigration status in order to enroll their children in school.
  • Students with limited English proficiency cannot be turned away by public schools, which must provide them with language instruction.

The rights of students with disabilities

  • Public schools are prohibited by federal law from discriminating against people with disabilities, and cannot deny them equal access to academic courses, field trips, extracurricular activities, school technology, and health services.
  • Educators and administrators must make necessary academic and medical accommodations, ensure equal access to educational activities and opportunities, and respond to harassment and bullying.

LGBTQ student rights

  • LGBTQ students have a right to be who they are and express themselves in public schools.
  • Public schools should not “out” students to their families.
  • Public schools have a responsibility to create a safe learning environment. They cannot  ignore harassment based on a student’s appearance or behavior.  Students should report harassment or threats to a principal or counselor. This puts the school on notice that officials can be held legally responsible for not protecting students.
  • Public schools cannot force students to wear clothing inconsistent with their gender identity.
  • If a public school permits any noncurricular clubs — clubs that aren’t directly related to classes taught in the school — then it must allow students to form a Gay-Straight Alliance or other LGBTQ-themed clubs, and the school can’t treat it differently from other noncurricular clubs.
  • Students’ transgender status and gender assigned at birth are confidential information protected by federal privacy law. If your school reveals that information to anyone without your permission, it could be violating federal law. If you don’t want school officials revealing your private information to others, including your legal name, tell them very clearly that you want your information kept private and that they should not disclose that information to anyone without your consent.
  • Some states and cities explicitly protect the right of transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. Additionally, several courts have ruled that excluding transgender boys and girls from using the same restrooms as other boys and girls violates federal education law.  This is an area of the law that is changing a great deal right now. We recommend that you contact the ACLU if you have any questions about your rights at school.

The rights of pregnant students

  • Public schools and all schools that get federal funds are prohibited from excluding pregnant or parenting students from school, classes, or extracurricular activities, or pressuring them to drop out or change schools.
  • These schools must provide pregnant students the same accommodations that students with other temporary medical conditions are given, including the ability to make up missed classwork, attend doctor’s appointments, take time off for childbirth and recovery, and learn in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.
  • These schools are not allowed to punish a student who chooses to terminate a pregnancy or reveal a student’s private medical information.

Additional resources:

LGBTQ Youth & Schools Resource Library

Other Know Your Rights Issues

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After Affirmative Action Ban, They Rewrote College Essays With a Key Theme: Race

The Supreme Court’s ruling intended to remove the consideration of race during the admissions process. So students used their essays to highlight their racial background.

Keteyian Cade, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and jeans, and Jyel Hollingsworth, wearing a blue sweatshirt with a collared shirt, pose for a portrait outside the Missouri History Museum.

By Bernard Mokam

Bernard Mokam interviewed dozens of high school students, parents and counselors about preparing college applications in a new landscape.

Astrid Delgado first wrote her college application essay about a death in her family. Then she reshaped it around a Spanish book she read as a way to connect to her Dominican heritage.

Deshayne Curley wanted to leave his Indigenous background out of his essay. But he reworked it to focus on an heirloom necklace that reminded him of his home on the Navajo Reservation.

The first draft of Jyel Hollingsworth’s essay explored her love for chess. The final focused on the prejudice between her Korean and Black American families and the financial hardships she overcame.

All three students said they decided to rethink their essays to emphasize one key element: their racial identities. And they did so after the Supreme Court last year struck down affirmative action in college admissions, leaving essays the only place for applicants to directly indicate their racial and ethnic backgrounds.

High school students graduating this year worked on their college applications, due this month, in one of the most turbulent years in American education. Not only have they had to prepare them in the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war — which sparked debates about free speech and antisemitism on college campuses, leading to the resignation of two Ivy League presidents — but they also had to wade through the new ban on race-conscious admissions.

“It has been a lot to take in,” said Keteyian Cade, a 17-year-old from St. Louis. “There is so much going on in the world right now.”

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Essays That Worked

essay on human rights for college students

The essays are a place to show us who you are and who you’ll be in our community.

It’s a chance to add depth to something that is important to you and tell the admissions committee more about your background or goals. Below you’ll find selected examples of essays that “worked,” as nominated by our admissions committee. In each of these essays, students were able to share stories from their everyday lives to reveal something about their character, values, and life that aligned with the culture and values at Hopkins.

Read essays that worked from Transfer applicants .

Hear from the class of 2027.

These selections represent just a few examples of essays we found impressive and helpful during the past admissions cycle. We hope these essays inspire you as you prepare to compose your own personal statements. The most important thing to remember is to be original as you share your own story, thoughts, and ideas with us.

essay on human rights for college students

Ordering the Disorderly

Ellie’s essay skillfully uses the topic of entropy as an extended metaphor. Through it, we see reflections about who they are and who they aspire to be.

essay on human rights for college students

Pack Light, But Be Prepared

In Pablo’s essay, the act of packing for a pilgrimage becomes a metaphor for the way humans accumulate experiences in their life’s journey and what we can learn from them. As we join Pablo through the diverse phases of their life, we gain insights into their character and values.

essay on human rights for college students

Tikkun Olam

Julieta illustrates how the concept of Tikkun Olam, “a desire to help repair the world,” has shaped their passions and drives them to pursue experiences at Hopkins.

essay on human rights for college students

Kashvi’s essay encapsulates a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and the invaluable teachings of Rock, their 10-year-old dog. Through the lens of their companionship, Kashvi walked us through valuable lessons on responsibility, friendship, patience, and unconditional love.

essay on human rights for college students

Classical Reflections in Herstory

Maddie’s essay details their intellectual journey using their love of Greek classics. They incorporate details that reveal the roots of their academic interests: storytelling, literary devices, and translation. As their essay progresses, so do Maddie’s intellectual curiosities.

essay on human rights for college students

My Spotify Playlist

Alyssa’s essay reflects on special memories through the creative lens of Spotify playlists. They use three examples to highlight their experiences with their tennis team, finding a virtual community during the pandemic, and co-founding a nonprofit to help younger students learn about STEM.

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We share essays from previously admitted students—along with feedback from our admissions committee—so you can understand what made them effective and how to start crafting your own.

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$3000, $1500, AND $750 PRIZES

This year the Kemper Human Rights Education Foundation ( is offering first, second, and third place prizes of $3000, $1500, and $750 to high school students judged to have written the best answers to the following question:

Respect for human rights seems to be eroding in many countries. Do you agree?  If so, provide examples and explain what you think is the major cause of the problem and how it should be addressed?  If you disagree, explain the reason you disagree. 

There are two contests: one for students in the U.S. and one for students who are citizens and residents of other countries. Essays will be judged according to how well they answer the question posed and the extent to which they are supported by research.

Essays will be judged according to how clearly and well they answer the question posed and the extent to which they are supported by research. They are due on or before December 10, 2022 (Human Rights Day) and should: 1. be 2500 words or less in length.   2.  be submitted as a Microsoft Word attachment to: [email protected] or by regular mail to: KHREF, 184 Fillow Street, Norwalk, CT 06850, USA.   3 .  include a cover page with the title, author’s name and grade level; name and address of the author’s high school; name of a teacher or administrator at the high school; and the following statement signed by the author and author’s parent or guardian: “I give the Kemper Human Rights Education Foundation permission to publish this essay.”

Winners will be announced and awards presented on January 16, 2023.

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Four Tigers receive Hesburgh Scholarship

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June 18, 2024

Four University of Missouri students recently received the Hesburgh Scholarship for their accomplishments in Mizzou’s general education program. The award is named after Father Theodore Hesburgh, the former president of Notre Dame University, in recognition of his commitment to liberal arts education. Given to one undergraduate student from each class, the scholarship underscores the vital role of general education courses, which ensure that graduates leave Mizzou not only ready to excel in their respective fields but also with a rich, well-rounded foundation of knowledge.

Recipients, who were announced during spring semester, are:

  • Allison Bivens , a freshman environmental sciences (atmosphere) major from Columbia, Missouri
  • Alexandra Gillund, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Mokena, Illinois
  • Bhushan Sreekrishnavilas, a junior computer science major from St. Louis, Missouri
  • Ahhyun Lee, a senior computer science major from Busan, South Korea

Bivens, Gillund and Sreekrishnavilas are all pursuing the Honors Certificate at Mizzou.

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Finding God’s image in LGBTQIA+ people: Why I took legal action against Citipointe Christian College

Emma Leitch

essay on human rights for college students

  • X (formerly Twitter)

Last week, Citipointe Christian College posted on their website an expression of regret for the distress caused over an enrolment contract issued in January 2022. This came as part of a settlement with parents who took the college to the Queensland Human Rights Commission under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 .

For those who may have come to this story late: at 5pm on Friday, 28 January 2022, Citipointe Christian College sent out the new enrolment contract three days before the new school year was set to commence. This new contract and the associated “declaration of faith” placed homosexuality and bisexuality on a continuum of “sexual immorality” alongside the sexual crimes of paedophilia and bestiality, and required students to be enrolled according to biological sex rather than gender identity. The college required parents to support these beliefs.

The enrolment contract was distressing to my husband and me. Others seemed to feel the same, and 150,000 people subsequently signed a petition to have the contract withdrawn. It was withdrawn on the following Thursday. Not long after, the school’s principal resigned .

This notwithstanding, as part of a group of “Concerned Parents of Citipointe” , my husband and I decided to file a complaint with the Queensland Human Rights Commission. Our daughter, a former student of Citipointe, is bisexual. We could not condone the new enrolment contract and declaration of faith, not only because of our daughter but because of our faith. Our son began year 12 at Citipointe on the Monday after the contract was issued. We had to explore alternative schooling options at short notice, despite the upheaval entailed by changing schools mid-way through his senior schooling.

Our family had a 16-year association with Citipointe in 2022. All three of our children attended Citipointe Christian College from prep or grade 1 through to grade 12. We valued the college for its Christian ethos, caring environment, and academic excellence. As practising Christians, we also wanted our children’s education to take place in a faith-based environment. But the proposed enrolment contract did not align with our Christian faith — for we believe that God welcomes all people, regardless of sexuality or gender identity.

Same-sex behaviour in the Bible

I was also convinced that the contract relied on a narrow reading of the Bible and its handful of verses that make reference to same-sex behaviour. This reading did not take into consideration the historical context of the verses. What did the authors of the writings that constitute the Christian scriptures mean when they referred to same-sex sexual behaviours? Did they mean the kinds of relationships Australians referred to when we voted in the 2017 plebiscite on same-sex marriage — namely, a consensual, committed, equal relationship between two people of the same sex? In a word: No .

In the Graeco-Roman world , same-sex sexual behaviour is documented as predominantly occurring in four forms: pederasty, sex with slaves, prostitution, and cultic prostitution. These four sexual conventions all had one thing in common: they were exploitative relationships between unequals.

Pederasty was an ancient Greek convention pervasive among the free class, whereby men formed sexual and romantic relationships with pubescent boys which were considered pedagogical — which is to say, the man became the mentor of the boy for academic learning as well as training in martial and civic duties. In return, the boys would grant sexual favours to their mentors. The men would go on to be married to women and the boys would go on to train their own pubescent lovers.

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The Romans despised the Greeks’ pederastic conventions, but they also engaged in same-sex behaviour surplus to their wife and concubines in the form of sex with slaves or prostitutes. Roman masters owned their slaves’ bodies for sexual purposes as well as domestic or business duties. Both the Greek and Roman cultures in biblical times engaged in cultic temple prostitution as well.

Thus, when the Apostle Paul includes in a list of vices the term arsenokoitēs (a neologism, it seems, coined by Paul and formed by combining the Greek words for “man” and “bed”), there is every reason to believe would have had these exploitative relationships in mind. It is simply anachronistic to imagine that Paul or any other biblical writer was referring to consensual, committed, equal, romantic relationships. Much the same can be said of the other biblical verses in which same-sex sexual behaviour is mentioned — some of which concerned same-sex gang rape, or cultic prostitution, or else are intermingled with purity laws in the Hebrew Bible that Christians have never fully upheld.

Made in the image of God

What about gender identity and intersex people? The verse that is often used against them is Genesis 1:27: “So God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” It is argued by some that, because the verse contains only two sexes, this forecloses gender as a separate entity to biological sex. However, this verse can surely be understood to show that everything that comprises both male and female is in the image of God, and that God must then be gender expansive. If God is gender expansive, then intersex and gender-diverse people can also be understood as made in the image of God.

Furthermore, the genre of the creation story (to which the first chapter of Genesis belongs) is clearly poetic and, like other ancient Near Eastern creation stories, portrays the creation of the world in highly stylised, overtly symbolic terms. The Genesis creation story, for instance, expresses the breadth and depth of all that God created and uses contrasts and extremes to convey the sense that everything is made by God: day and night; land, sea, and sky; land animals, fish, and birds; humanity in all its diversity. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all that was created, but rather an expansive claim that everything that exists has been created by God and bears the imprint of divine love.

Without a stretch, it must then be said that intersex and gender diverse people fit within this “everything”, and are themselves bearers of the divine image and expressions of divine love.

A mandate for Christians

Although there are contextual issues with the few verses of the Bible which speak to same-sex sexual behaviour and biological sex/gender identity, there is clarity and expansiveness in the Bible regarding the mandate for Christians to love and care for the oppressed and marginalised in our communities.

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, there are laws and principles to care for the widowed, the orphaned, the poor, the sick, the excluded, and the vulnerable. Jesus commended a summary of the Hebrew law as saying we must love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to love our neighbour as ourselves (Luke 10:27). He went on to challenge us that loving our “neighbour” wasn’t easy and required us to put our love for them and their wellbeing ahead of our religious practices and principles and beliefs about those who are different to us.

For my husband and me, this mandate to love and care for the oppressed encompasses a call to care for the most vulnerable students in our faith-based schools — those whose sexuality and/or gender identity is diverse. Our duty of care to vulnerable students in our schools must be prioritised over particular doctrines or contested interpretations of scripture.

Emma Leitch is a PhD candidate at Australian Catholic University and a member of  Free Mum Hugs Australia , a volunteer group giving love and support to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Citipointe issues statement of regret two years after controversial student contract

Citipointe Christian College in Carindale's front sign

Why we refuse to sign Citipointe’s discriminatory contract

essay on human rights for college students

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“I realised that the only way I could please God was to reject my sexuality”

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Tasmanian Archbishop Julian Porteous at his installation ceremony in Hobart.


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    This came as part of a settlement with parents who took the college to the Queensland Human Rights Commission under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.