Human rights has become a dominant language politically, legally and morally, both in Sweden and in the rest of the world. International development should have human rights as a basis. The Swedish elementary school aims to provide knowledge about human rights. Large companies are comprise them in their ethical guidelines. Military interventions are carried out in their name. Human rights is obviously a phenomenon to be reckoned with, but how are they understood and what can they accomplish? By integrating historical, philosophical and legal perspectives we study and analyse human rights in all their complexity.