Human rights are divided into three classes or levels:

First generation rights are general rights many governments all over the world support, like your right to life, dignity, equality and privacy. For example, no-one, including the government, is allowed to spy on you. These rights include freedoms we are all entitled to. These include freedom of expression (saying what you want to), association (belonging to whatever group you like), assembly (freedom to gather in a group), freedom to think and believe in what you like, and the freedom to travel anywhere in the country.

Second generation rights are those to do with our social and work or economic lives. We are one of the few countries in the world to say everyone needs and must have water, food, housing, health care and social security (for example the child care grants). Government must help people have those things. The right to education and the special rights of children also fit in here.

Third generation rights spell out our rights to things like a healthy and unspoiled environment, to development as people and communities and the rights to follow our own cultures and use our own languages. ‘Third generation rights’ are a new idea in the field of human rights.