File Name: human rights theory and practice .zip
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Human rights are moral principles or norms  that describe certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected in municipal and international law. The doctrine of human rights has been highly influential within international law and global and regional institutions. The idea of human rights  suggests that "if the public discourse of peacetime global society can be said to have a common moral language, it is that of human rights".
The strong claims made by the doctrine of human rights continue to provoke considerable scepticism and debates about the content, nature and justifications of human rights to this day. The precise meaning of the term right is controversial and is the subject of continued philosophical debate;  while there is consensus that human rights encompasses a wide variety of rights  such as the right to a fair trial , protection against enslavement , prohibition of genocide , free speech  or a right to education , there is disagreement about which of these particular rights should be included within the general framework of human rights;  some thinkers suggest that human rights should be a minimum requirement to avoid the worst-case abuses, while others see it as a higher standard.
Many of the basic ideas that animated the human rights movement developed in the aftermath of the Second World War and the events of the Holocaust ,  culminating in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris by the United Nations General Assembly in Ancient peoples did not have the same modern-day conception of universal human rights.
From this foundation, the modern human rights arguments emerged over the latter half of the 20th century. In Britain in , the English Bill of Rights and the Scottish Claim of Right each made illegal a range of oppressive governmental actions.
Additionally, the Virginia Declaration of Rights of encoded into law a number of fundamental civil rights and civil freedoms. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Philosophers such as Thomas Paine , John Stuart Mill and Hegel expanded on the theme of universality during the 18th and 19th centuries. In William Lloyd Garrison wrote in a newspaper called The Liberator that he was trying to enlist his readers in "the great cause of human rights"  so the term human rights probably came into use sometime between Paine's The Rights of Man and Garrison's publication.
In a contemporary, Henry David Thoreau , wrote about human rights in his treatise On the Duty of Civil Disobedience  which was later influential on human rights and civil rights thinkers. United States Supreme Court Justice David Davis , in his opinion for Ex Parte Milligan , wrote "By the protection of the law, human rights are secured; withdraw that protection and they are at the mercy of wicked rulers or the clamor of an excited people.
Many groups and movements have managed to achieve profound social changes over the course of the 20th century in the name of human rights. In Western Europe and North America, labour unions brought about laws granting workers the right to strike, establishing minimum work conditions and forbidding or regulating child labour.
The women's rights movement succeeded in gaining for many women the right to vote. National liberation movements in many countries succeeded in driving out colonial powers. One of the most influential was Mahatma Gandhi 's movement to free his native India from British rule. Movements by long-oppressed racial and religious minorities succeeded in many parts of the world, among them the civil rights movement , and more recent diverse identity politics movements, on behalf of women and minorities in the United States.
The foundation of the International Committee of the Red Cross , the Lieber Code and the first of the Geneva Conventions in laid the foundations of International humanitarian law , to be further developed following the two World Wars. The League's goals included disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries through negotiation, diplomacy and improving global welfare. Enshrined in its Charter was a mandate to promote many of the rights which were later included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The League of Nations had mandates to support many of the former colonies of the Western European colonial powers during their transition from colony to independent state. On the issue of "universal", the declarations did not apply to domestic discrimination or racism. Richardson III has argued:. The UDHR urges member states to promote a number of human, civil, economic and social rights, asserting these rights are part of the "foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world".
The declaration was the first international legal effort to limit the behavior of states and press upon them duties to their citizens following the model of the rights-duty duality. The members of the Commission did not immediately agree on the form of such a bill of rights, and whether, or how, it should be enforced.
The document was structured by Cassin to include the basic principles of dignity, liberty, equality and brotherhood in the first two articles, followed successively by rights pertaining to individuals; rights of individuals in relation to each other and to groups; spiritual, public and political rights; and economic, social and cultural rights. The final three articles place, according to Cassin, rights in the context of limits, duties and the social and political order in which they are to be realized.
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law. Some of the UDHR was researched and written by a committee of international experts on human rights, including representatives from all continents and all major religions, and drawing on consultation with leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi.
Though this principle was not opposed by any member states at the time of adoption the declaration was adopted unanimously, with the abstention of the Soviet bloc , Apartheid South Africa and Saudi Arabia , this principle was later subject to significant challenges. The onset of the Cold War soon after the UDHR was conceived brought to the fore divisions over the inclusion of both economic and social rights and civil and political rights in the declaration. Capitalist states tended to place strong emphasis on civil and political rights such as freedom of association and expression , and were reluctant to include economic and social rights such as the right to work and the right to join a union.
Socialist states placed much greater importance on economic and social rights and argued strongly for their inclusion. Because of the divisions over which rights to include, and because some states declined to ratify any treaties including certain specific interpretations of human rights, and despite the Soviet bloc and a number of developing countries arguing strongly for the inclusion of all rights in a so-called Unity Resolution , the rights enshrined in the UDHR were split into two separate covenants, allowing states to adopt some rights and derogate others.
Though this allowed the covenants to be created, it denied the proposed principle that all rights are linked which was central to some interpretations of the UDHR. Although the UDHR is a non-binding resolution, it is now considered to be a central component of international customary law which may be invoked under appropriate circumstances by state judiciaries and other judiciaries. Since then numerous other treaties pieces of legislation have been offered at the international level.
They are generally known as human rights instruments. Some of the most significant are:. The United Nations UN is the only multilateral governmental agency with universally accepted international jurisdiction for universal human rights legislation. The United Nations has an international mandate to:. The UN Human Rights Council, created in , has a mandate to investigate alleged human rights violations.
Members serve a maximum of six years and may have their membership suspended for gross human rights abuses. The Council is based in Geneva , and meets three times a year; with additional meetings to respond to urgent situations. Independent experts rapporteurs are retained by the Council to investigate alleged human rights abuses and to report to the Council. In addition to the political bodies whose mandate flows from the UN charter, the UN has set up a number of treaty-based bodies, comprising committees of independent experts who monitor compliance with human rights standards and norms flowing from the core international human rights treaties.
They are supported by and are created by the treaty that they monitor, With the exception of the CESCR, which was established under a resolution of the Economic and Social Council to carry out the monitoring functions originally assigned to that body under the Covenant, they are technically autonomous bodies, established by the treaties that they monitor and accountable to the state parties of those treaties — rather than subsidiary to the United Nations, though in practice they are closely intertwined with the United Nations system and are supported by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights UNHCHR and the UN Centre for Human Rights.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights ACHPR is a quasi-judicial organ of the African Union tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective peoples' rights throughout the African continent as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and considering individual complaints of violations of the Charter.
The Commission has three broad areas of responsibility: . In pursuit of these goals, the Commission is mandated to "collect documents, undertake studies and researches on African problems in the field of human and peoples, rights, organise seminars, symposia and conferences, disseminate information, encourage national and local institutions concerned with human and peoples' rights and, should the case arise, give its views or make recommendations to governments" Charter, Art.
With the creation of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights under a protocol to the Charter which was adopted in and entered into force in January , the Commission will have the additional task of preparing cases for submission to the Court's jurisdiction.
The Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights entered into force in January  but its merging with the Court of Justice has delayed its establishment.
The Protocol establishing the Court of Justice will come into force when ratified by 15 countries. There are many countries in Africa accused of human rights violations by the international community and NGOs.
Its members are the thirty-five independent states of the Americas. Over the course of the s, with the end of the Cold War , the return to democracy in Latin America, and the thrust toward globalization , the OAS made major efforts to reinvent itself to fit the new context. Its stated priorities now include the following: .
Its human rights duties stem from three documents: . The Inter-Americal Court of Human Rights was established in with the purpose of enforcing and interpreting the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights.
Its two main functions are thus adjudicatory and advisory. Under the former, it hears and rules on the specific cases of human rights violations referred to it. Under the latter, it issues opinions on matters of legal interpretation brought to its attention by other OAS bodies or member states. There are no Asia-wide organisations or conventions to promote or protect human rights. Countries vary widely in their approach to human rights and their record of human rights protection. The Council of Europe , founded in , is the oldest organisation working for European integration.
It is an international organisation with legal personality recognised under public international law and has observer status with the United Nations. The seat of the Council of Europe is in Strasbourg in France. The Council of Europe is an organisation that is not part of the European Union , but the latter is expected to accede to the European Convention and potentially the Council itself. The European Convention on Human Rights defines and guarantees since human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe.
Several theoretical approaches have been advanced to explain how and why human rights become part of social expectations. One of the oldest Western philosophies on human rights is that they are a product of a natural law , stemming from different philosophical or religious grounds.
Other theories hold that human rights codify moral behavior which is a human social product developed by a process of biological and social evolution associated with Hume. Human rights are also described as a sociological pattern of rule setting as in the sociological theory of law and the work of Weber. These approaches include the notion that individuals in a society accept rules from legitimate authority in exchange for security and economic advantage as in Rawls — a social contract.
Natural law theories base human rights on a "natural" moral, religious or even biological order which is independent of transitory human laws or traditions.
Of these, Aristotle is often said to be the father of natural law,  although evidence for this is due largely to the interpretations of his work of Thomas Aquinas.
The development of this tradition of natural justice into one of natural law is usually attributed to the Stoics. Some of the early Church fathers sought to incorporate the until then pagan concept of natural law into Christianity.
In the Seventeenth Century Thomas Hobbes founded a contractualist theory of legal positivism on what all men could agree upon: what they sought happiness was subject to contention, but a broad consensus could form around what they feared violent death at the hands of another. The natural law was how a rational human being, seeking to survive and prosper, would act. It was discovered by considering humankind's natural rights , whereas previously it could be said that natural rights were discovered by considering the natural law.
In Hobbes' opinion, the only way natural law could prevail was for men to submit to the commands of the sovereign. In this lay the foundations of the theory of a social contract between the governed and the governor. Hugo Grotius based his philosophy of international law on natural law.
He wrote that "even the will of an omnipotent being cannot change or abrogate" natural law, which "would maintain its objective validity even if we should assume the impossible, that there is no God or that he does not care for human affairs. This is the famous argument etiamsi daremus non-esse Deum , that made natural law no longer dependent on theology. John Locke incorporated natural law into many of his theories and philosophy, especially in Two Treatises of Government. Locke turned Hobbes' prescription around, saying that if the ruler went against natural law and failed to protect "life, liberty, and property," people could justifiably overthrow the existing state and create a new one.
The Belgian philosopher of law Frank van Dun is one among those who are elaborating a secular conception  of natural law in the liberal tradition.
There are also emerging and secular forms of natural law theory that define human rights as derivative of the notion of universal human dignity. The term "human rights" has replaced the term " natural rights " in popularity, because the rights are less and less frequently seen as requiring natural law for their existence.
The philosopher John Finnis argues that human rights are justifiable on the grounds of their instrumental value in creating the necessary conditions for human well-being. Human rights law, applied to a State's own citizens serves the interest of states, by, for example, minimizing the risk of violent resistance and protest and by keeping the level of dissatisfaction with the government manageable.
The biological theory considers the comparative reproductive advantage of human social behavior based on empathy and altruism in the context of natural selection.
But freedom is also essentially dependent on others and other cultures. According to Western legal theory, "it is the individual who is the beneficiary of human rights which are to be asserted against the government", whereas Soviet law declared that state is the source of human rights. See further ch 8 par 6. Since the end of World War II, the core importance of human rights has been universally acknowledged. Herbert L. Hart , a British legal scholar, is credited with developing the will theory of rights. He cited Kant as inspiring his thinking about the importance of human freedom, or liberty.
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Human rights tend to structure the space, both at national and international levels, within which human beings attempt to construct a moral order of universal and.
In the third edition of his classic work, revised extensively and updated to include recent developments on the international scene, Jack Donnelly explains and defends a richly interdisciplinary account of human rights as universal rights. He shows that any conception of human rights-and the idea of human rights itself-is historically specific and contingent. Since publication of the first edition in , Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice has justified Donnelly's claim that "conceptual clarity, the fruit of sound theory, can facilitate action. At the very least it can help to unmask the arguments of dictators and their allies.
They are the great ethical yardstick that is used to measure a government's treatment of its people. A broad consensus has emerged in the twentieth century on rhetoric that frames judgment of nations against an international moral code prescribing certain benefits and treatment for all humans simply because they are human.
In the third edition of his classic work, revised extensively and updated to include recent developments on the international scene, Jack Donnelly explains and defends a richly interdisciplinary account of human rights as universal rights. He shows that any conception of human rights—and the idea of human rights itself—is historically specific and contingent. At the very least it can help to unmask the arguments of dictators and their allies. Reviews "Every once in a while a book appears that treats the leading issues of a subject in such a clear and challenging manner that it becomes central to understanding that subject.
Human Rights: Politics and Practice provides an introduction to human rights. Combining political science, philosophy, law, and policy-making, the text provides a broad range of perspectives on the theoretical and practical issues in this constantly evolving field. In addition to in-depth theoretical content, the text also features coverage of human rights issues in practice, with a wide range of case studies to explore concrete examples from around the world. The third edition has been brought fully up-to-date with the most recent events and latest research developments in the area.
Part I sketches the outline of a theory of human rights. Chapter 1 begins analytically, looking at the character of Read Online · Download PDF. Save. Cite this.
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