Professor Rick Halperin
February 12, 2014
ORIGINS AND EVOLUTION OF THE NEVER-ENDING HUMAN RIGHTS DILEMMA
I consider myself lucky… to have been raised under the sun. With three boys and three girls to raise, my mother made all our clothes with her bare hands (and her sewing machine) — We had a many struggles, like most families— we were not always financially stable; we were never really wealthy with money, but I have always felt like my life has been rich. As far as my life has been concerned, I’ve witnessed— first handedly, mostly good sides of the human right’s divide. Not long ago, human rights were only granted to a lucky few in most of the societies around the world. In fact, throughout most of our history, the belief that each and every individual has equal inalienable rights was a belief held only by the minority view. The first human rights theory was developed by British philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), who came up with a comprehensive theory (of human rights) which stated that citizens had “natural” rights that should be protected by the government, in order for the government to be owed its’ citizen’s allegiance. Initially, Locke’s theory was put in place primarily (and solely) for one target audience; the European property-owning male. Even though this attempt towards equality was in no way void of all prejudices, it was still an important breakthrough for the work that was soon to follow. Finally, after adopting the U.S. Constitution in 1789, and adding the Bill of Rights two years later in 1791, the world experienced the first
trial run of creating a government designed to be judged by the extent to which it respected and protected the rights of its citizens.
Sadly, it took the murder of millions of people by Nazi Germany to realize that officials — highly ranked governmental officials— were explicitly held to blame for the actions that directly introduced the idea of crimes against humanity. (The nuremberg War Crime Trials of 1945.) For the first time in our history, government officials were legally held accountable to the international community for offenses against individual (and most importantly, innocent) citizens. Shortly after came the UDHR. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was endorsed by Eleanor Roosevelt, chairwoman to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights at the time. The UDHR declared that e the way that states treat their own citizens is a matter of international concern and would therefore be subject to international standards. e The growth of totalitarian regimes, like the one lead by Adolf Hitler and the loss of 50 million lives in World War II, and the lessons learned from that vast human tragedy focused the attention of nations on the need for human rights. It was finally realized that adherence to human rights was fundamental to securing world peace! The UDHR was the Nations first attempt to develop a comprehensive statement of human rights, and was specifically intended to prevent the horrors of history from happening again. By the end of 1948, the General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights— a historic milestone in the evolution of our common understanding, and affirmation, of values we deem inviolable: THAT ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE BORN FREE & WITH EQUAL & INALIENABLE RIGHTS & FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS!!!
By mid 1970s, human rights began its influential reign over reign policy decision-
making. In 1975, thirty-five countries signed the Helsinki Accords, which was a treaty that distinguished ten specific principles: respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms such as freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, were among the new ruling standards. Flash forward past Y2K (Year 2000) and onward to President Obama’s election to Presidency, where he begun attempts at taking a more active role within the United Nations in promoting human rights worldwide. Currently, the U.S. agenda on human rights (for...
...Origins of HumanRights
The emergence of rights in political thought is generally regarded as relatively recent, though any historical study of rights reveals how indeterminate the philosophical charting of the evolution of rights has been. Humanrights are considered the offspring of natural rights, which themselves evolved from the concept of natural law. Natural law, which has played a dominant role in Western political theory for centuries, is that standard of higher-order morality against which all other laws are adjudged. To contest the injustice of human-made law, one was to appeal to the greater authority of God or natural law.
Eventually this concept of natural law evolved into natural rights; this change reflected a shift in emphasis from society to the individual. Whereas natural law provided a basis for curbing excessive state power over society, natural rights gave individuals the ability to press claims against the government The modern conception of rights can be traced back to Enlightenment political philosophy and the movement, primarily in England, France, and the United States, to establish limited forms of representative government that would respect the freedom of individual citizens.
John Locke, in his Second Treatise on Government (1690), described a 'state...
...Are humanrights innate and universal?
Post WWII on the 10 December 1948, the Universal Declaration of HumanRights (UDHR) was espoused by the General Assembly of the United Nations in order to agree on the notion that such atrocities that occurred throughout the Great War and the Second World War would not ever be reciprocated. The document that was drawn up in less than two years by the UN and Western states, and although ambitious it would guarantee a premise for life and living for every individual all over the world. The UDHR are founded on nobility, equality and reverence, and are said to be aimed at all cultures and religions within the West and East of the globe. However there is great discrepancy regarding the justification and practicality of humanrights all over the world due to political, economic and cultural differences and limitations. Universal means that ‘something’ affects, applies or is completed by everyone all over the world – there is no distinctive bias shown and equal policies are applied. Innate, in relation to humanrights, means that people are given natural rights purely based on the fact that he/she is human and alive. Therefore, are humanrights universal and innate or is the Universal Declaration of Human...
...The Creation of the
Universal Declaration of HumanRights
Though humanrights as a whole (or for most of history, the idea of humanrights) have been present since the beginnings of civilization, its prevalence as a “normal” and “obvious” component of international relations did not emerge until much recently, with the ratification of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights (UDHR) in 1948. The Universal Declaration of HumanRights was created by the United Nations in order for all people in all nations to recognize each individual’s humanity, and the equal rights that are given to them on the basis of that humanity. As the UDHR’s preamble articulates, the Document aims for the “recognition of inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”, grounded by the “foundation of freedom, justice, and peace”. 1 In other words, no human is excluded from possession of humanrights; regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, religion, or class, so long as one is a member of the human race, they are inherently entitled to the rights listed in the UDHR.
Today, the UDHR, legitimized by the United Nations in 1948, is widely regarded as one of the most important documents of the twentieth...
...slavery, sickness and other arbitrary executions. To prevent such atrocities in the future, there are legal responses and non-legal responses to deal with the contemporary humanrights issues which is genocide.
First of all, legal responses refer to the UN humanright treaties and Genocide Convention that were adopted in 1948 and approved the Universal Declaration of HumanRight (UDHR) by the United Nation.
The Genocide Convention (1948) outlaws genocide, crime against humanity and crime under international law . All participating countries that ratified the convention will be prevented and punished the genocide in the war or a peace of time.
The Declarations defines the civil and political rights ( including the right to life, the right of liberty, and a fair trial) as well as the economic social and cultural rights( including the right to social security and participating in cultural right in one’s community).
In this case, Cambodia was a party that ratified the Genocide Convention on 14.10.1950. It was enforceable where the Senior Leader of Khmer Rouge between1975 -1979 under the definition of Convention. In contradiction, it was enforceable but it could not desist the massacre that happened in the 1975-1979.
Next, Cambodia was ratified the UDHR and International Convention on Civil and...
Animal Rights: A HumanDilemma
August 21, 2012
Medical research conducted in scientific laboratories utilizing certain animals and tissue for the purposes of biomedical research is critical to the continued health of society. Utilizing animals for medical research is a legal and allowable method under specific restrictions placed by law. This research over time reveals methods for cures, treatments, medical devices and the ultimate eradication of disease for humans and animals alike. However, it also presents an argument and ethical dilemma for animal rights activist groups who believe medical research using animals is cruelty to animals and must be discontinued. Conversely, medical scientists have a duty to society to protect the world from environmental factors that would cause illness and mass death unnecessarily. For this reason, it is essential that a common ground or balance of needs be determined between these two groups so that the continuation of life is uninterrupted by disagreements in the ethics of right and wrong.
Animal Rights: A HumanDilemma
The ills of society extend the continuum from overpopulation to obesity and global warming to the extinction of life, as we know it. To that end, some would say that it is at society’s own hands that would bring about the...
...exterminated by Hitler’s Nazi regime, the Universal Declaration of HumanRights was adopted and proclaimed on December 10th 1948 to prevent a another holocaust and to achieve a universal standard of humanrights. Over the last sixty years various regional and international treaties and conventions have been adopted to protect and advance humanrights towards universality. Furthermore, it equally important to mention that there has been a western dominated movement to universalise humanrights. Nevertheless, Universal Human remains a contentious issue of debate among intellectual and policy circles. The purpose of this essay is to outline a few of the prominent issues and problems that are associated with the concept of Universal humanrights.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (UDHR. 1948. P.2) Humanrights in its contemporary perception is a fairly recent concept. In fact the Universal Declaration of HumanRights which is often cited as the corner stone of humanrights only came into force following World War II and the most “systematic and blatant” violation of humanrights in record history that was the Holocaust...
What are HumanRights
What are humanrights?
Humanrights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our humanrights without discrimination. T hese rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. Universal humanrights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law. International humanrights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect humanrights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.
Universal and inalienable
T he principle of universality of humanrights is the cornerstone of international humanrights law. T his principle, as first emphasized in the Universal Declaration on HumanRights in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international humanrights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. T he 1993...
...Humanrights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Humanrights are thus conceived as universal (applicable everywhere) and egalitarian (the same for everyone). These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in local, regional, national, and international law. The doctrine of humanrights in international practice, within international law, global and regional institutions, in the policies of states and in the activities of non-governmental organizations, has been a cornerstone of public policy around the world. The idea of humanrights states, "if the public discourse of peacetime global society can be said to have a common moral language, it is that of humanrights." Despite this, the strong claims made by the doctrine of humanrights continue to provoke considerable skepticism and debates about the content, nature and justifications of humanrights to this day. Indeed, the question of what is meant by a "right" is itself controversial and the subject of continued philosophical debate.
Many of the basic ideas that animated the human...