The UN Security Council has interceded with peace keeping forces, and other states and treaties NATO have intervened in situations to protect human rights. Human rights can be classified and organised in several different ways.
These organisations collect evidence and documentation of alleged human rights abuses and apply pressure to enforce human rights laws. Wars of aggression , war crimes and crimes against humanity , including genocide , are breaches of International humanitarian law and represent the most serious of human rights violations. In efforts to eliminate violations of human rights, building awareness and protesting inhumane treatment has often led to calls for action and sometimes improved conditions.
The UN Security Council has interceded with peace keeping forces, and other states and treaties NATO have intervened in situations to protect human rights. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. The right to life is the essential right that a human being has the right not to be killed by another human being.
The concept of a right to life is central to debates on the issues of abortion , capital punishment , euthanasia , self defence and war.
According to many human rights activists, the death penalty violates this right. Throughout history, torture has been used as a method of political re-education , interrogation, punishment, and coercion. In addition to state-sponsored torture, individuals or groups may be motivated to inflict torture on others for similar reasons to those of a state; however, the motive for torture can also be for the sadistic gratification of the torturer, as in the Moors murders.
Since the midth century, torture is prohibited under international law and the domestic laws of most countries. It is considered to be a violation of human rights, and is declared to be unacceptable by Article 5 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Signatories of the Geneva Conventions of and the Additional Protocols I and II of June 8, officially agree not to torture captured persons in armed conflicts , whether international or internal.
Torture is also prohibited by the United Nations Convention Against Torture , which has been ratified by countries. National and international legal prohibitions on torture derive from a consensus that torture and similar ill-treatment are immoral, as well as impractical. Freedom from slavery is internationally recognised as a human right.
Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. Despite this, the number of slaves today in is higher than at any point in history ,  remaining as high as 12 million  to 27 million,    Most are debt slaves , largely in South Asia , who are under debt bondage incurred by lenders , sometimes even for generations.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him. The right to a fair trial has been defined in numerous regional and international human rights instruments. It is one of the most extensive human rights and all international human rights instruments enshrine it in more than one article. As a minimum the right to fair trial includes the following fair trial rights in civil and criminal proceedings: Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship.
The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as on libel, slander, obscenity, incitement to commit a crime, etc.
Article 19 of the ICCPR states that "[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion are closely related rights that protect the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to think and freely hold conscientious beliefs and to manifest religion or belief in teaching , practice, worship , and observance; the concept is generally recognised also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any religion. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International organises campaigns to protect those arrested and or incarcerated as a prisoner of conscience because of their conscientious beliefs, particularly concerning intellectual, political and artistic freedom of expression and association.
Events and new possibilities can affect existing rights or require new ones. Advances of technology, medicine, and philosophy constantly challenge the status quo of human rights thinking.
Education encompasses several thematic areas, including comprehensive sexuality education, which is also considered to be relevant for human rights. The right to keep and bear arms for defence is described in the philosophical and political writings of Aristotle, Cicero, John Locke, Machiavelli, the English Whigs and others.
The Declaration opens with the words:. Mindful of the will of the peoples, set out solemnly in the Charter of the United Nations , to 'save succeeding generations from the scourge of war' and to safeguard the values and principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , and all other relevant instruments of international law.
Article 1 of the declaration states "the present generations have the responsibility of ensuring that the needs and interests of present and future generations are fully safeguarded". The preamble to the declaration states that "at this point in history, the very existence of humankind and its environment are threatened" and the declaration covers a variety of issues including protection of the environment , the human genome , biodiversity , cultural heritage, peace , development, and education.
Sexual orientation and gender identity rights relate to the expression of sexual orientation and gender identity based on the right to respect for private life and the right not to be discriminated against on the ground of "other status" as defined in various human rights conventions, such as article 17 and 26 in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and article 8 and article 14 in the European Convention on Human Rights.
As of , homosexual behaviour is illegal in 76 countries and punishable by execution in seven countries. A global charter for sexual orientation and gender identity rights has been proposed in the form of the ' Yogyakarta Principles ', a set of 29 principles whose authors say they apply International Human Rights Law statutes and precedent to situations relevant to LGBT people's experience. The principles have been acknowledged with influencing the French proposed UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity , which focuses on ending violence, criminalisation and capital punishment and does not include dialogue about same-sex marriage or right to start a family.
An alternative statement opposing the proposal was initiated by Syria and signed by 57 member nations, including all 27 nations of the Arab League as well as Iran and North Korea. Although both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights emphasise the importance of a right to work, neither of these documents explicitly mention free trade as a mechanism for ensuring this fundamental right.
And yet trade plays a key role in providing jobs. Some experts argue that trade is inherent to human nature and that when governments inhibit international trade they directly inhibit the right to work and the other indirect benefits, like the right to education, that increased work and investment help accrue.
On the other hand, others think that it is no longer primarily individuals but companies that trade, and therefore it cannot be guaranteed as a human right.
Finally, it is difficult to define a right to trade as either "fair"  or "just" in that the current trade regime produces winners and losers but its reform is likely to produce different winners and losers. The right to water has been recognised in a wide range of international documents, including treaties, declarations and other standards. For instance, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women CEDAW requires State parties to ensure to women the right to "enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to … water supply".
The Convention on the Rights of the Child CRC requires States parties to combat disease and malnutrition "through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking-water". This treaty body interpreting legal obligations of State parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ICESCR issued in a non-binding interpretation affirming that access to water was a condition for the enjoyment of the right to an adequate standard of living and inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of health see ICESCR Art.
The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses. Since then, all States have at least ratified one human rights convention which explicitly or implicitly recognises the right, and they all have signed at least one political declaration recognising this right.
Human rights include women's rights and sexual and reproductive rights. Sexual and reproductive rights are part of a continuum of human rights, which includes the rights to life, health and education, the rights to equality and non-discrimination, and the right to decide the timing, number and spacing of one's children. Sexual and reproductive health and rights SRHR encompass both entitlements and freedoms. This includes the definition of reproductive rights in paragraph 7. Reproductive rights were first established as a subset of human rights at the United Nations International Conference on Human Rights.
Reproductive rights may include some or all of the following rights: Reproductive rights may also be understood to include education about contraception and sexually transmitted infections , and freedom from coerced sterilisation and contraception, protection from gender-based practices such as female genital cutting FGC and male genital mutilation MGM. In October , Finland 's Ministry of Transport and Communications announced that every person in Finland would have the legal right to Internet access.
In March , the BBC , having commissioned an opinion poll , reported that "almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right". Non-refoulement is the right not to be returned to a place of persecution and is the foundation for international refugee law, as outlined in the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
A central worry about the right to asylum is that it can limit a state's power to handle a mass influx of refugees. This creates an incentive for more refugees to apply, since they are allowed to stay in the country during the application process. One potential solution to the problem of mass influx is proposed by U.
Lamey proposes a portable procedural model that focuses on the right to non-refoulement. There are two basic conceptions of environmental human rights in the current human rights system. The first is that the right to a healthy or adequate environment is itself a human right as seen in both Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights , and Article 11 of the San Salvador Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights.
This second theory enjoys much more widespread use in human rights courts around the world, as those rights are contained in many human rights documents. The onset of various environmental issues , especially climate change , has created potential conflicts between different human rights.
Human rights ultimately require a working ecosystem and healthy environment, but the granting of certain rights to individuals may damage these. Such as the conflict between right to decide number of offspring and the common need for a healthy environment, as noted in the tragedy of the commons.
Environmental rights revolve largely around the idea of a right to a livable environment both for the present and the future generations. With the exception of non-derogable human rights international conventions class the right to life, the right to be free from slavery, the right to be free from torture and the right to be free from retroactive application of penal laws as non-derogable ,  the UN recognises that human rights can be limited or even pushed aside during times of national emergency — although.
The declaration of emergency must also be a last resort and a temporary measure. Rights that cannot be derogated for reasons of national security in any circumstances are known as peremptory norms or jus cogens. Such United Nations Charter obligations are binding on all states and cannot be modified by treaty. Examples of national security being used to justify human rights violations include the Japanese American internment during World War II ,  Stalin's Great Purge ,  and the modern-day abuses of terror suspects rights by some countries, often in the name of the War on Terror.
The UDHR enshrines universal rights that apply to all humans equally, whichever geographical location, state, race or culture they belong to. However, in academia there is a dispute between scholars that advocate moral relativism and scholars that advocate moral universalism.
Relativists do not argue against human rights, but concede that human rights are socially constructed and are shaped by cultural and environmental contexts. Universalists argue that human rights have always existed, and apply to all people regardless of culture, race, sex, or religion. More specifically, proponents of cultural relativism argue for acceptance of different cultures, which may have practices conflicting with human rights.
Relativists caution that universalism could be used as a form of cultural, economic or political imperialism. The White Man's Burden is used as an example of imperialism and the destruction of local cultures justified by the desire to spread Eurocentric values. Opponents of relativism argue that some practices exist that violate the norms of all human cultures.
A common example is female genital mutilation , which occurs in different cultures in Africa, Asia and South America. It is considered a violation of women's and girl's rights by much of the international community, and is outlawed in some countries. The former Prime Ministers of Singapore , Lee Kuan Yew , and of Malaysia , Mahathir bin Mohamad both claimed in the s that Asian values were significantly different from Western values and included a sense of loyalty and foregoing personal freedoms for the sake of social stability and prosperity, and therefore authoritarian government is more appropriate in Asia than democracy.
Lee Kuan Yew argued that:. What Asians value may not necessarily be what Americans or Europeans value. Westerners value the freedoms and liberties of the individual. As an Asian of Chinese cultural background, my values are for a government which is honest, effective, and efficient.
In response, critics have pointed out that cultural relativism could be used as a justification for authoritarianism. An example is in , when the Iranian representative to the United Nations , Said Rajaie-Khorassani, articulated the position of his country regarding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by saying that the UDHR was "a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition", which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law.
To say that freedom is Western or unAsian is to offend our traditions as well as our forefathers, who gave their lives in the struggle against tyranny and injustices. Defenders of moral universalism argue that relativistic arguments neglect the fact that modern human rights are new to all cultures, dating back no further than the UDHR in They argue that the UDHR was drafted by people from many different cultures and traditions, including a US Roman Catholic, a Chinese Confucian philosopher, a French zionist and a representative from the Arab League, amongst others, and drew upon advice from thinkers such as Mahatma Gandhi.
Although the argument between universalism and relativism is far from complete, it is an academic discussion in that all international human rights instruments adhere to the principle that human rights are universally applicable.
The World Summit reaffirmed the international community's adherence to this principle:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Claim rights and liberty rights Individual and group rights Natural and legal rights Negative and positive rights.
Civil and political Economic, social and cultural Three generations. History of human rights. Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. Philosophy of human rights. International human rights law. Leval in Foreign Affairs , . Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Geneva Conventions and International humanitarian law. United Nations Security Council. United Nations General Assembly. United Nations Human Rights Council. Regional human rights regimes.
List of human rights articles by country and National human rights institutions. War , Genocides in history , Human rights defender , and Corporate accountability for human rights violations. Right to a fair trial. Freedom of thought , Conscience , and Freedom of religion. Right to keep and bear arms. LGBT rights by country or territory. Human right to water and sanitation. Right to Internet access and Digital rights.
National security and Anti-terrorism legislation. Cultural relativism , Moral relativism , and Moral universalism. Archived from the original on March 28, Retrieved November 8, Life Sciences, Society and Policy. Publisher, APH Publishing, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Studies in Honor of Matthew W. International Review of the Red Cross Archive. Retrieved 11 August Retrieved 27 November The key landmark is the Bill of Rights , which established the supremacy of Parliament over the Crown Human Rights in the Twentieth Century.
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Archived from the original on February 9, Retrieved March 14, New Slavery in the Global Economy. University of California Press. Archived from the original PDF on July 16, Archived from the original on May 27, Archived from the original on May 1, Introduction to International Human Rights Law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: New York Review of Books. Accessed October 18, An evidence-informed approach PDF. That Every Man Be Armed: North Carolina Law Review: Archived from the original on August 23, Archived from the original on May 16, At bottom, human rights qualify state sovereignty and power, sometimes expanding the latter even while circumscribing the former as in the case of certain economic and social rights, for example.
Third, reflecting varying environmental circumstances, differing worldviews, and inescapable interdependencies within and between different value or capability systems, human rights refer to a wide continuum of claims, ranging from the most justiciable or enforceable to the most aspirational.
Human rights partake of both the legal and the moral orders, sometimes indistinguishably. Fourth, most assertions of human rights—though arguably not all freedom from slavery, genocide , or torture are notable exceptions —are qualified by the limitation that the rights of individuals or groups in particular instances are restricted as much as is necessary to secure the comparable rights of others and the aggregate common interest.
Finally, if a right is determined to be a human right, it is understood to be quintessentially general or universal in character, in some sense equally possessed by all human beings everywhere, including in certain instances even the unborn. In stark contrast to the divine right of kings and other such conceptions of privilege, human rights extend in theory to every person on Earth, without regard to merit or need, simply for being human or because they mitigate inherent human vulnerability or are requisite to social justice.
In several critical respects, however, all these postulates raise more questions than they answer. For instance, if, as is increasingly asserted, human rights qualify private power, precisely when and how do they do so? What does it mean to say that a right is fundamental, and according to what standards of importance or urgency is it so judged? What is the value of embracing moral as distinct from legal rights as part of the jurisprudence of human rights?
Do nonjusticiable rights harbour more than rhetorical significance? When and according to what criteria does the right of one person or group of people give way to the right of another? What happens when individual and group rights collide? How are universal human rights determined? Are they a function of culture or ideology , or are they determined according to some transnational consensus of merit or value? If the latter, is the consensus in question regional or global?
How exactly would such a consensus be ascertained , and how would it be reconciled with the right of nations and peoples to self-determination? Is the existence of universal human rights incompatible with the notion of national sovereignty? For some in the human rights debate, this raises a further controversy concerning how such situations comport with Western conceptions of democracy and representative government. In other words, though accurate, the five foregoing postulates are fraught with questions about the content and legitimate scope of human rights and about the priorities, if any, that exist among them.
Like the issue of the origin and justification of human rights, all five are controversial. Like all normative traditions, the human rights tradition is a product of its time. Therefore, to understand better the debate over the content and legitimate scope of human rights and the priorities claimed among them, it is useful to note the dominant schools of thought and action that have informed the human rights tradition since the beginning of modern times.
Inspired by the three themes of the French Revolution , they are: Nor is it to imply that one generation is more important than another, or that the generations and their categories of rights are ultimately separable. The three generations are understood to be cumulative , overlapping, and, it is important to emphasize, interdependent and interpenetrating.
The first generation, civil and political rights, derives primarily from the 17th- and 18th-century reformist theories noted above i. Belonging to this first generation, thus, are rights such as those set forth in Articles 2—21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including freedom from gender, racial, and equivalent forms of discrimination; the right to life, liberty, and security of the person; freedom from slavery or involuntary servitude; freedom from torture and from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; freedom from arbitrary arrest , detention, or exile; the right to a fair and public trial; freedom from interference in privacy and correspondence; freedom of movement and residence; the right to asylum from persecution; freedom of thought, conscience , and religion; freedom of opinion and expression; freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and the right to participate in government, directly or through free elections.
Also included are the right to own property and the right not to be deprived of it arbitrarily—rights that were fundamental to the interests fought for in the American and French revolutions and to the rise of capitalism. The right to security of the person, to a fair and public trial, to asylum from persecution, or to free elections, for example, manifestly cannot be assured without some affirmative government action.
What is constant in this first-generation conception is the notion of liberty, a shield that safeguards the individual—alone and in association with others—against the abuse of political authority. This is the core value. The second generation, composed of economic, social , and cultural rights, originated primarily in the socialist tradition , which was foreshadowed among adherents of the Saint-Simonian movement of early 19th-century France and variously promoted by revolutionary struggles and welfare movements that have taken place since.
In large part, it is a response to the abuses of capitalist development and its underlying and essentially uncritical conception of individual liberty, which tolerated, and even legitimized, the exploitation of working classes and colonial peoples.
Nevertheless, most of the second-generation rights do necessitate state intervention, because they subsume demands more for material than for intangible goods according to some criterion of distributive justice. Second-generation rights are, fundamentally, claims to social equality.
On the other hand, as the social inequities created by unregulated national and transnational capitalism become more and more evident over time and are not directly accounted for by explanations based on gender or race, it is probable that the demand for second-generation rights will grow and mature, and in some instances even lead to violence. Finally, the third generation, composed of solidarity or group rights, while drawing upon and reconceptualizing the demands associated with the first two generations of rights, is best understood as a product of both the rise and the decline of the state since the midth century.
The three remaining claimed solidarity or group rights—the right to peace, the right to a clean and healthy environment , and the right to humanitarian disaster relief —suggest the impotence or inefficiency of the state in certain critical respects. All of these claimed rights tend to be posed as collective rights, requiring the concerted efforts of all social forces, to a substantial degree on a planetary scale.
However, each of them also manifests an individual dimension. It is important to note, too, that the majority of these solidarity rights are more aspirational than justiciable in character and that their status as international human rights norms remains somewhat ambiguous.
Thus, at various stages of modern history, the content of human rights has been broadly defined, not with any expectation that the rights associated with one generation would or should become outdated upon the ascendancy of another, but expansively or supplementally.
Such dynamics are reflected, for example, in a rising consensus that human rights extend to the private as well as to the public sector—i. The fact that the content of human rights has been broadly defined should not be taken to imply that the three generations of rights are equally accepted by everyone. Nor should broad acceptance of the idea of human rights suggest that their generations or their separate elements have been greeted with equal urgency. The suggestion that first-generation rights are more feasible than other generations because they stress the absence over the presence of government is somehow transformed into a prerequisite of a comprehensive definition of human rights, such that aspirational claims to entitlement are deemed not to be rights at all.
The most-compelling explanation for such exclusions, however, has more to do with ideology or politics than with operational concerns. Persuaded that egalitarian claims against the rich, particularly where collectively espoused, are unworkable without a severe decline in liberty, first-generation proponents, inspired by the natural law and laissez-faire traditions, are committed to the view that human rights are inherently independent of organized society and are necessarily individualistic.
This liberty-equality and individualist-collectivist debate was especially evident during the period of the Cold War , reflecting the extreme tensions that then existed between liberal and Hegelian - Marxist conceptions of sovereign public order. Although Western social democrats during this period, particularly in Scandinavia, occupied a position midway between the two sides, pursuing both liberty and equality—in many respects successfully—it remains true that the different conceptions of rights contain the potential for challenging the legitimacy and supremacy not only of one another but, more importantly, of the sociopolitical systems with which they are most intimately associated.
With the end of the Cold War , however, the debate took on a more North-South character and was supplemented and intensified by a cultural- relativist critique that eschewed the universality of human rights doctrines, principles, and rules on the grounds that they are Western in origin and therefore of limited relevance in non-Western settings. The viewpoint underlying this assertion—that the scope of human rights in any given society should be determined fundamentally by local, national, or regional customs and traditions—may seem problematic, especially when one considers that the idea of human rights and many of its precepts are found in all the great philosophical and religious traditions.
Nevertheless, the historical development of human rights demonstrates that the relativist critique cannot be wholly or axiomatically dismissed. Nor is it surprising that it should emerge soon after the end of the Cold War. Against the backdrop of increasing human rights interventionism on the part of the UN and by regional organizations and deputized coalitions of states as in Bosnia and Herzegovina , Somalia, Liberia , Rwanda , Haiti , Serbia and Kosovo , Libya , and Mali , for example , the relativist viewpoint serves also as a functional equivalent of the doctrine of respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity , which had been declining in influence not only in the human rights context but also in the contexts of national security, economics , and the environment.
As a consequence, there remains sharp political and theoretical disagreement about the legitimate scope of human rights and about the priorities that are claimed among them. On final analysis, however, this legitimacy-priority debate can be dangerously misleading. Although useful for pointing out how notions of liberty and individualism have been used to rationalize the abuses of capitalism and Western expansionism and for exposing the ways in which notions of equality, collectivism, and culture have been alibis for authoritarian governance, in the end the debate risks obscuring at least three essential truths that must be taken into account if the contemporary worldwide human rights movement is to be understood objectively.
First, one-sided characterizations of legitimacy and priority are very likely, at least over the long term, to undermine the political credibility of their proponents and the defensibility of the rights they regard as preeminently important. In an increasingly interdependent global community, any human rights orientation that does not support the widest possible shaping and sharing of values or capabilities among all human beings is likely to provoke widespread skepticism.
The period since the midth century is replete with examples, among them the official U. Second, such characterizations do not accurately reflect reality.
In the real world, virtually all societies, whether individualistic or collectivist in essential character, at least consent to, and most even promote, a mixture of all basic values or capabilities. A later demonstration is found in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the conference mentioned above, adopted by representatives of states. To be sure, some disagreements about legitimacy and priority can derive from differences of definition e. Similarly, disagreements can arise also when treating the problem of implementation.
For instance, some insist first on certain civil and political guarantees, whereas others defer initially to conditions of material well-being.
Such disagreements, however, reflect differences in political agendas and have little if any conceptual utility. As confirmed by numerous resolutions of the UN General Assembly and reaffirmed in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, there is a wide consensus that all human rights form an indivisible whole and that the protection of human rights is not and should not be a matter of purely national jurisdiction.
The extent to which the international community actually protects the human rights it prescribes is, on the other hand, a different matter. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.
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Human rights definition is - rights (such as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons. rights (such as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons. There is no question these are important rights, but the full scope of human rights is very broad. They mean choice and opportunity. They mean the freedom to obtain a job, adopt a career, select a partner of one’s choice and raise children. Human rights definition, fundamental rights, especially those believed to belong to an individual and in whose exercise a government may not interfere, as the rights to speak, associate, work, etc. See more.