Human rights are internationally agreed values, standards, or rules regulating the conduct of states towards their own citizens as well as non-citizens. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) a great number of international treaties and declarations have seen the light. Their implementation is deficient, however. Many states, especially in Asia, pay lip- service to the universal validity of human rights, but see their supervision as chiefly a domestic affair. In some parts of the world there are regional supervision mechanisms to which citizens can turn when domestic remedies have been exhausted. Non-governmental organizations provide reliable information about violations of human rights. International criminal tribunals, on the former Yugoslavia and on Rwanda, and truth- and-reconciliation commissions are recently established institutions which aim to implement international humanitarian and human rights law. As a political scientist, the author emphasizes the political features of human rights without ignoring, however, their legal aspects.