Communication is a human right.

Justice Scales evenly balanced with a bird on top

What are Human Rights?

Human rights are those things that we should have because we are alive. Everyone is entitled to these rights. Groups of people decide what they believe to be important. A group of people may be a family, a community or the whole world. These groups sometimes make statements about what they believe what rights all people have.

Human rights do not depend on our status. They are for everyone. It doesn’t matter the race or sex of a person. It doesn’t matter a person’s religion. It doesn’t depend on a person’s abilities. Human rights are the same for every person.

Many groups discuss what are the rights afforded to each person. Some groups make statements about human rights. The United States wrote the Bill of Rights. The United Nations has a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Churches often make statements about human rights. For the most part, people agree.

We have a human right to liberty. We have a human right to be free from slavery and torture. We have a right to work. We have a right to learn. We have a right to our own opinion. We have a right to privacy. We have freedom of speech. We have the right to express our opinion.

What is the freedom of expression and opinion?

We have freedom of speech. Freedom of expression and opinion is a fundamental human right. This right is in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This right is one that makes possible other rights.

Access to a means to communicate provides this human right. We can’t deny a person this right because of a disability. All people have a right to communicate because they are alive.

How does a person who doesn’t talk have this right?

When a person doesn’t have an effective way to communicate, we need to help. We find another way. We supplement what they can do with more ways to communicate. We help each person express ideas of all kind through any form or media. This could be talking. This could be using writing, sign language or pictures.


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This video suggests that we can think about how every living person, regardless of ability, has a human right to communicate.

Deepen Your Understanding

Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is below with the pertinent parts in bold.

Article 19

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may, therefore, be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals.