Human Rights are something that, if denied, fundamentally harms the entire essence of humanity in a morally unacceptable way.

The concept of “rights” faces two significant issues.
First, the concept of “what fundamentally harms” varies over time and space more than one might think. The 30 articles of the Universal Declaration approved in 1948 would not have been comprehensible in the Rome of Octavian Augustus and are not currently shared by a part of humanity.
Additionally, today, as in any historical moment, humans tend to confuse their desires and aspirations with “rights,” altering the sense and meaning of the issue. Analyzing and debating this framework is complex and difficult due to its complexity, but it is at least possible to try to clarify the words that appear in this context.

– The concept of Human Rights.
As a basic concept, one can repeat that “Human Rights” are something that, if denied, fundamentally harms the entire essence of humanity in a morally unacceptable way. Whether this system of rights is natural, intrinsic to the human being and not determined by man, or positive, arising from human cultural conventions, does not detract from the concept itself. Instead, it can be reflected that often something that is not a right is elevated to the status of a “right,” as has already been mentioned, but is only a sectoral application of the right: there may be a right to property, but there is not, in itself, a right to own a sheep or a Ferrari.
– Right and Necessity.
Necessity is a term that indicates an inalienable need inherent in the individual to access a good or service, regardless of their will and consciousness but logically accepted as essential for survival. The need to eat or breathe, for example, is an inviolable and irreplaceable reality without which neither the individual nor the species would survive. It is spontaneous to wonder if this category of needs should automatically be counted among the rights, if not even placed in a primary category of absolute rights, without which the possibility of existence is undermined at the root.
Essential Human Rights
Based on the above considerations, a series of rights have been reformulated that can be ambivalent because they also encompass the concept of necessity and are indispensable conditions for a dignified survival, for individuals and for Communities. They must be indiscriminately recognized by all and cannot be coerced:

  • food,
  • access to drinking water,
  • breathing,
  • sleep,
  • sexuality,
  • health,
  • quality of the environment,
  • availability of energy,
  • access to knowledge,
  • work,
  • rest,
  • the right of movement,
  • the possibility to communicate and interact with other human beings.

Space and Boundary of Freedoms.
Freedom indicates the autonomous possibility of personal choice and the performance of a certain action. If the recognition of freedom of thought and freedom of opinion is indisputable, not every freedom is unquestionable because it must be characterized by not harming other subjects, taking away their symmetrical prerogatives. If freedom of thought and feeling, such as hatred, is reasonable, its manifestation may not be allowed when it promotes violent or harmful behaviors to others’ freedoms.

Possibility of Making Choices.
“Choice” is a selection among various possibilities that a subject makes based on their criteria of convenience and that concretizes freedoms. A personal choice is a vegetarian diet. A political choice is the vote given to a party.

The Chain of Rights and Freedoms
Symmetry of Freedom.
If a Right is something cardinal and indisputable, a particular freedom of choice may not be inherently a right and can be limited or modified by a superior reason or an overriding right. But not only. Every freedom of choice must allow a similar and symmetrical choice by others: my unquestionable choice to choose the profession of a wandering shepherd is legitimate as long as it allows others to choose to be a sedentary farmer. We both have the “right” to choose our profession, but the possibility of choosing agriculture is a freedom that, for example, in a barren and mountainous country, may have no space, while the freedom to herd flocks may not be recognized in a region with a strictly agricultural vocation.
Freedom and Conventions.
An administrative choice is driving on the right side of the road. The choice of driving on the left side would be in itself legitimate (and it is in many States) but is prohibited in many countries that have decided for all to drive on the right-hand side for road safety reasons, without infringing on the population’s freedom but rather ensuring a uniformity of behavior that raises the level of safety for everyone.
Freedom to Express Opinions.
In a country with British road culture, driving is on the left side, except for one-way streets. However, it is imaginable that any British citizen, forced to drive in various European countries, publicly advocates for driving on the right side in the United Kingdom. If the person in question does not take justice into their own hands by driving against traffic but advocates for their thesis, they cannot be prosecuted for publicly expressing and advocating for their legitimate ideas. The choice of a vegan diet may be in itself legitimate but could, according to some nutritional opinions, be harmful to some organisms. Doctors opposed to veganism must be recognized the right to opinion and the freedom to express it. If then, some biased individuals destroy vegan stores, the freedom of expression of non-vegans cannot be limited, but violent bias must be combated instead.

Opportunity is a set of appropriate circumstances or conditions that offer a subject the possibility to access a condition deemed advantageous and, in particular, allow exercising a freedom – choosing a type of work – and exercising a right: working. A just society should provide all its members with equal opportunities in various social fields, ensuring that there are no access barriers.