Rights-holders are individuals or social groups that have particular entitlements in relation to specific duty-bearers. In general terms, all human beings are rights-holders under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In particular contexts, there are often specific social groups whose human rights are not fully realised, respected or protected. More often than not, these groups tend to include women and girls, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, and migrants and youth.

A human rights-based approach not only recognises that the entitlements of rights-holders need to be respected, protected and fulfilled, it also considers rights-holders as active agents in the realisation of human rights and development – both directly and through organisations representing their interests.

Source: UNICEF Gender Equality - UN Coherence and You – Glossary: p.5.