What Judaism says about Human Rights (and what we do about them)

(יד) הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, חָבִיב אָדָם שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם. חִבָּה יְתֵרָה נוֹדַעַת לוֹ שֶׁנִּבְרָא בְצֶלֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית ט) כִּי בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים עָשָׂה אֶת הָאָדָם.

(14) [Rabbi Akiva] would say: Beloved is humankind, since they are created in the image [of God]. A deeper love - it is revealed to them that they are created in the image, as it says (Genesis 9:6): "for in God's image God made humankind."

(טו) וְנִשְׁמַרְתֶּ֥ם מְאֹ֖ד לְנַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶ֑ם

(15) For your own sake, therefore, be most careful [lit - guard your souls/ protect your lives]

(כז) וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹת֑וֹ זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃ (כח) וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֹתָם֮ אֱלֹהִים֒ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לָהֶ֜ם אֱלֹהִ֗ים פְּר֥וּ וּרְב֛וּ וּמִלְא֥וּ אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ וְכִבְשֻׁ֑הָ וּרְד֞וּ בִּדְגַ֤ת הַיָּם֙ וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּבְכָל־חַיָּ֖ה הָֽרֹמֶ֥שֶׂת עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

(27) And God created the human being in God's image, in the image of God, God created it; male and female God created them. (28) God blessed them and God said to them, “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.”

this verse becomes the proof text in which we are required, as a positive commandment, to respect human dignity and physical and mental health

The principle of equality is of major importance. This means that every person should be equal in our eyes, whether that person lacks knowledge or whether he knows the whole Torah. How does one attain this attitude of equality? It is attained by constantly clinging to God, for out of a constant concern to cling to God, one has no time to think of other matters. (Teaching of the Ba’al Shem Tov)

(יח) לֹֽא־תִקֹּ֤ם וְלֹֽא־תִטֹּר֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י עַמֶּ֔ךָ וְאָֽהַבְתָּ֥ לְרֵעֲךָ֖ כָּמ֑וֹךָ אֲנִ֖י יְהוָֽה׃

(18) You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your people. Love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Eternal

(5) How do we press the witnesses in a capital case? We bring them in [to the court's chambers] and press them: "Perhaps what you say [isn't eyewitness testimony] is but your own assessment, or from rumors, or your witnessing an actual witness testify, or your reporting what a trustworthy said. Or perhaps you were unaware that by the end we'd interrogate you, with examination and inquiry. Know that capital cases are not like monetary ones. In monetary cases, [a false witness] can return the money and achieve atonement. But in capital cases, the blood of [the victim [and all his future offspring hang upon you until the end of time. For thus we find in regard to Cain, who killed his brother, "The bloods of your brother scream out!" (Genesis 4:10) - the verse does not say blood of your brother, but bloods of your brother, because it was his blood and also the blood of his future offspring [screaming out]! ... [The judges' speech continues] "It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam], to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world." And also, to promote peace among the creations, that no man would say to his friend, "My ancestors are greater than yours.".. And also, to express the grandeur of The Holy One [blessed be He]: For a man strikes many coins from the same die, and all the coins are alike. But the King, the King of Kings, The Holy One [blessed be He] strikes every man from the die of the First Man, and yet no man is quite like his friend. Therefore, every person must say, “For my sake ‎the world was created.”‎ Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5

Love your neighbor as yourself: R. Akiba states, "this is a great principle of the Torah". Ben Azzai states: "This is the book of the descendants of Adam" (Genesis 5:1): This is even a greater principle.
Sifra, on Sefer Va-Yikra (ad loc.) see also TJ Nedarim 9:4

Ben Azzai comes to teach that the ground of Jewish interpersonal ethics is not merely a social contract between disparate individuals but is rooted in the fact that every human being was created in the image of God. Hence, the end of Genesis 5:1 is the crucial key. That is the point ofthe Torah stating “This is the book of the descendants of Adam”. It is precisely the fatherhood of God that is the ground of our duty to embrace the brother hood of man. Hence, even if one has broken the social contract and harmed someone else, one dare not retaliate. Every human being is created in the image of God, and no one may ever forget it (David Horwitz)

“God formed Adam out of dust from all over the world: yellow clay, white sand, black loam, and red soil. Therefore, no one can declare to any people that they do not belong here since this soil is not their home.” (Pirkei dRabbi Eliezer, Tannaitic)

(טו) לֹא־תַעֲשׂ֥וּ עָ֙וֶל֙ בַּמִּשְׁפָּ֔ט לֹא־תִשָּׂ֣א פְנֵי־דָ֔ל וְלֹ֥א תֶהְדַּ֖ר פְּנֵ֣י גָד֑וֹל בְּצֶ֖דֶק תִּשְׁפֹּ֥ט עֲמִיתֶֽךָ׃
(15) You shall not render an unfair decision: do not favor the poor or show deference to the rich; judge your kinsman fairly.
(כב) מִשְׁפַּ֤ט אֶחָד֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֔ם כַּגֵּ֥ר כָּאֶזְרָ֖ח יִהְיֶ֑ה כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

(22) You shall have one standard for stranger and citizen alike: for I the Eternal am your God.

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow” (Hillel in Shabbat 31a)

Hear disputes between your brothers and judge justly between any person and a fellow Israelite or stranger. You shall not favour persons in judgment; rather you shall hear the small just as the great; you shall not fear any person, for the judgment is God’s. Deuteronomy 1:16-17

When a stranger lives with you in your land, do not ill treat them. The stranger who lives with you shall be treated like the native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt. I am the Eternal your God. Leviticus 19:33-34

You shall not deliver a slave to his master that has escaped to you from his master. He shall dwell with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose within one of your gates, where it is good for him; you shall not wrong him. Deuteronomy 23:16-17

“Happy are those who act justly, who do right at all times” Psalms 106:3

..Do not steal from the poor, for they are oppressed, nor should you oppress the downtrodden.." Proverbs 22:22

"Wash you, make you clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes, cease to do evil...learn to do well...seek judgement...relieve the oppressed...judge the fatherless...plead for the widow" Isaiah 1:16-17

"..You shall neither vex a stranger, nor oppress them..If you at all afflict them, & they cry to Me, I will surely hear their cry.." Exodus 22:20-22

"..Woe to them that devise iniquity..taking them by violence; & houses, & take them away: so they oppress a man & his house, even a man & his heritage.." Micah 2:1-2

One must repeat from time to time: The world was created for my sake. Never say: What do I care about this or that? Do your part to add something new, to bring forth something that is needed, and to leave the world a little better because you were here briefly. Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

“Justice, justice, shall you pursue” (Deut 16:20)

Sefer HaHinukh

One who violates the obligation to rescue someone in distress and does not save him through injuring, or even killing the pursuer, has neglected this obligation and has also violated two prohibitions ("do not shut your eyes" and "do not stand idly while your brother's blood is spilled") as I shall list, with God's help, among the prohibitions (mitzvah 601). And his punishment is very great, as though he destroyed a soul of Israel.

(א) קְרָ֤א בְגָרוֹן֙ אַל־תַּחְשֹׂ֔ךְ כַּשּׁוֹפָ֖ר הָרֵ֣ם קוֹלֶ֑ךָ וְהַגֵּ֤ד לְעַמִּי֙ פִּשְׁעָ֔ם וּלְבֵ֥ית יַעֲקֹ֖ב חַטֹּאתָֽם׃
(1) Cry with full throat, without restraint; Raise your voice like a ram’s horn! Declare to My people their transgression, To the House of Jacob their sin.

The essence of the Torah, as summarized by Hillel’s statement: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow” (Shabbat 31a), reflects the experience and ethical consciousness of the Jewish people. The Torah states explicitly: “Do not wrong a stranger who resides with you in your land. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens: you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34). Our historical experience of exile and redemption, as well as our ethical consciousness, must sensitize us to the suffering of others and compel us to defend the rights of all who dwell among us. (on RHR website)

Jonathan Sacks, The Trace of God

What differentiates the world after the Flood from the world before is that the terms of the human condition have changed. God no longer expects people to be good because it is in their nature to be so. To the contrary, God now knows that “every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood” (Gen. 8: 21) — and this despite the fact that we were created in God’s image...That is why, with one simple move, God transformed the terms of the equation. After the Flood, God taught Noah and through him all humanity, that we should think, not of ourselves, but of the human other as in the image of God. That is the only way to save ourselves from violence and self-destruction.

(יד) הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי. וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי. וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו, אֵימָתָי:

(14) He [Rabbi Hillel] used to say: If I am not for me, who will be for me? And when I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, then when?