History of Human Rights

History of Human Rights


The concept of human rights did not exist till recently, Societies expected their rulers to govern wisely and for common good but this expectation was based on divine commandments (Fear of God) natural law, tradition, or contingent political arrangements. But the people have no rights against unjust rulers i.e. they did not as such have a claim to be ruled justly, so an unjust ruler could not be tamed.

In the west, the concept of Human Rights first began in the 17th Century with John Locke’s ‘Second Treatise of Government’ which presented a theory of natural rights, that equal, individuals have natural rights to their lives, liberties, and estates. The government plays an important role in protecting natural rights, as a single objective agency is needed to ensure the protection of rights. Locke ‘described government as based on a social contract between the rulers and the ruled i.e. citizens are obliged to obey only if the government protects their human rights, which are of greater importance than the interests of the government.

The protection of human rights was accepted as an international issue only after the Second World War.

The United Nations Charter-1945 The UN Charter was signed by 51 nations after the Second World War in 1945. It established the United Nations Organization, dedicated to maintaining peace and security and cooperation in solving economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems Its signatories disagreed on the nature of these human rights, which is why the first U.N> conference rejected a proposal to include protection of human rights, which is why the first UN conference rejected a proposal to include protection of human rights as an article of the Charter. Under the Charter, the U.N. General Assembly and its Commission on Human Rights (UNHCHR) have primary responsibility for promoting human rights. The UNHCHR was instrumental in creating declarations and covenants on human rights, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Though not legally enforceable, these documents are used to interpret the human rights provisions of the UN Charter.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights -1948 As human rights in the UN Charter were very ambiguous, the UN assigned a Commission, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt to clarify the Charter’s references to human rights. This resulted in the UN General Assembly adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a statement of Universal goals concerning human rights and freedoms. Though it is not legally binding its content has been incorporated into many national Constitutional and has become a standard measure of human rights around the world.

Born out of the atrocities and enormous loss of life during World War II the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948 to provide a common understanding of what everyone’s rights are it forms the basis for a world built on freedom, justice, and peace. Today there are 193 member states of the UN, all of whom have signed an agreement with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles

Article1- Right to Equality Article16-Right to Marriage and Family
Article2-  Freedom from Discrimination Article17-Right to Own Property
Article 3- Right to Life, Liberty and Personal Security Article 18- Freedom of Belief and Religion
Article 4- Freedom from Slavery Article 19- Freedom of Opinion and Association
Article 5- Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment Article 21- Right to Participate in Government and in Free Elections
Atricle 6 – Right to Recognition as a Person before the Law Article 22- Right to Social Security or a Social Safety Net.
Article 7- Right to Equality before the Law Article 23- Right to Desirable Work and to Join Trade Unions
Article 8- Right to Remedy for Violation of Rights Article 24- Right to Rest and Leisure
Article 10- Right to Fair Public Hearing Article 25- Right to Adequate Living Standard Including Food, Housing, and Medical Care
Article 11- Right to be Considered Innocent until Proven Guilty Article26- Right to Education
Article 12- Freedom from Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, and Correspondence Article 27- Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of Community
Article 13- Right to Free Movement in and out of Own Country Article 28- Right to a Society that Upholds this Document
Article 14- Right to Asylum in other Countries from Persecution Article 29- Rights Limited by Need to Respect Rights of Other Reasons
Article 15- Right to a Nationality and the Freedom to Change Nationality Article 30- Freedom from State or Personal Interference in the Above Rights.


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