c   c
Human Right Course
Home Site map     Mail us Prin PolishNorwegian


What are human rights?
The history of human rights
What right do we have?
Civil and political rights
Economic, social and cultural rights
Human rights in times of war
The protection of Human Rights
Human rights in everyday life
Human Rights

Did you know

Did you know that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion? (Universal Declaration, Article 18)




Civil and political rights are defined in articles 3 to 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are defined in more detail in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The convention’s articles contain provisions concerning:

  • the right to life (Article 6)
  • the right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 7)
  • a prohibition against slavery (Article 8)
  • the right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention (Article 9)
  • the fact that all people deprived of their liberty shall be treated humanely (Article 10)
  • the freedom of movement and the right to decide yourself where you want to live (Article 12)
  • the right to equality in front of courts and tribunals and guarantees regarding legal protection (Article 14)
  • a prohibition against penal laws having retroactive effect (Article 15)
  • everyone having the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law (Article 16)
  • the right not to be subjected to arbitrary interference regarding one’s privacy, family, home or correspondence (Article 17)
  • the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 18) and freedom of opinion and expression (Article 19)
  • the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association including the right to join trade unions (Article 22)
  • the right to take part in the governing of one’s country (Article 25)
  • the right to equality before the law (Article 26)

More than 150 states have ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They are legally bound to implement the rights immediately after ratification.



Amnesty International defines torture as deliberate attacks on a person’s mind, body and dignity carried out by a public servant or someone else who is acting with the state’s acceptance. Between 1997 and 2000, Amnesty registered torture and abuse in more than 150 countries. People died as a result of torture in more than 80 countries

In the summer of 1996, the Norwegian police arrested a Tibetan monk, Palden Gyatso. He was participating in a peaceful demonstration against the then Chinese president, Jiang Zemin, who was visiting Norway

Fact box

Freedom of expression has its limits. In 1997, Jack Erik Kjuus, the leader of the Norwegian political party, Hvit Valgallianse (White Election Alliance), was sentenced to a fine of NOK 20,000 and a 60 day suspended prison sentence for his racist statements

c 2005 © Den Norske Helsingforskomiteen DEN NORSKE HELSINGFORSKOMITÉ Aktive FredsreiserAKTIVE FREDSREISER - TRAVEL FOR PEACE AS c