Human Rights Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old human rights quotes, human rights sayings, and human rights proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities.     

Pope Francis

To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.     

Nelson Mandela

Life is not a matter of place, things or comfort; rather, it concerns the basic human rights of family, country, justice and human dignity.     

Imelda Marcos

Some values must be universal, like human rights and the equal worth of every human being.     

Bjorn Ulvaeus

Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood.     

Jimmy Carter

The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.     

John F. Kennedy

Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.     

Frederick Douglass

Because to take away a man's freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.     

Madeleine L'Engle

Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must at that moment become the center of the universe.     

Elie Wiesel

Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.     

Martin Luther King Jr.

The connection between women's human rights, gender equality, socioeconomic development and peace is increasingly apparent.     

Mahnaz Afkhami

In the future, human rights will be increasingly a universal criterion for designing ethical systems.     

Mahnaz Afkhami

The right to development is the measure of the respect of all other human rights.That should be our aim: a situation in which all individuals are enabled to maximize their potential, and to contribute to the evolution of society as a whole.     

Kofi Annan

Those who today still feel a sense of impotence can do something: they can support Amnesty International. They can help it to stand up for freedom and justice.     

Peter Benenson

A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you.     

Ramsey Clark

Human rights education is much more than a lesson in schools or a theme for a day; it is a process to equip people with the tools they need to live lives of security and dignity.     

Kofi Annan

The evolution of the human rights movement clearly illustrates humanity's ongoing struggle toward creating a better world.     

Robert Alan Silverstein

The right to development is the measure of the respect of all other human rights.That should be our aim: a situation in which all individuals are enabled to maximize their potential, and to contribute to the evolution of society as a whole.     

Kofi Annan

Silence never won rights. They are not handed down from above; they are forced by pressures from below.     

Roger Nash Baldwin

Everyone has a right to peaceful coexistence, the basic personal freedoms, the alleviation of suffering, and the opportunity to lead a productive life...     

Jimmy Carter

If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.     

Abigail Adams

Words like freedom, justice, democracy are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply.     

James Baldwin

What we want to see is the development of human rights and greater democracy, not just because it is our system but because we think that's the best way that economic and political development go hand in hand.     

Tony Blair

The right to development is the measure of the respect of all other human rights. That should be our aim: a situation in which all individuals are enabled to maximize their potential, and to contribute to the evolution of society as a whole.     

Boutros Boutros-Ghali

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.     

Pearl S. Buck

You are a human being. You have rights inherent in that reality. You have dignity and worth that exists prior to law.     

Lyn Beth Neylon

Be as beneficent as the sun or the sea, but if your rights as a rational being are trenched on, die on the first inch of your territory.     

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.     

Abraham Lincoln

Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.     

Robert Ingersoll

It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home.     

Carl T. Rowan