Glossary Term

Human rights

A means to a life in dignity. Human rights are universal and inalienable: they cannot be given, nor taken away. In an emergency context, key human rights, such as non-discrimination, protection and the right to life, take immediate priority, while the progressive realization of other rights may rely on available resources. As education is instrumental to protection, non-discrimination, and survival, it must be seen as a key human right. International human rights law is the body of international legal treaties and normative standards that govern states' obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights at all times, including during emergencies. During conflict, international humanitarian, and criminal law also apply. International humanitarian law is a set of rules that seek to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects people who are not or are no longer participating in hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare, and place duties on both State parties to armed conflict, and non-State armed groups who are parties to armed conflict. International criminal law criminalizes serious violations of IHL (i.e., war crimes) and also applies in situations outside of armed conflict, for examples where it is established crimes against humanity or genocide.