Human Rights - Notes

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Human Rights Notes | Fadi Madanat
1. The Nature and development of human rights
* The definition of human rights;
Human rights are the basic entitlement accorded to every human being, they are considered to be universal, in alienable and inherit to all humanity.

* Outline how human rights have changed and developed over time; Various cultures around the world have different views on the place of human rights within their societies. The western view of human rights has been one of freedom, liberty and equality, while in some societies such as one of an Asian or Islamic background it is more duty-based which emphasises the community over the individual. For that reason, the nature of human rights has continued to develop, spring boarding from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. The modern day understanding of human rights has developed throughout stages, the abolition of slavery and the collective power of trade unionism with the commencement of the industrial revolution being significant, as well as many other rights.

* Investigate the evolving recognition and importance of universal human rights Slavery was a key issue of human rights, it was used throughout the ancient civilisations of the world and up into the 16th century. Most colonial powers took slavery for granted until revolutions such as the French’s and American’s, as well as many protestants against slavery, for that reason the British Government passed the Emancipation Act 1833, abolishing slavery throughout British colonies. Trade unions aswell were apart of the evolving human rights, due to the industrial revolution.

*Missing : labour rights, universal suffrage universal education self-determination environmental rights & peace rights

* Examine major human rights documents and explain their contribution to the development of Human rights;

1) Universal declaration of human rights 1948
The UN declaration of human rights was not intended to be a legally binding document yet there is an argument that it has become part of international law by subsequent recognition and custom. Subsequent treaties have effectively expanded on the rights contained in any event. It covers a wide range of rights including: Liberty and security of the person/equality before the law/effective remedies/due process/prohibition in torture/assembly/…. It includes social and economic rights such as: right to work/right to equal pay/right to social security/right to education.

2) Civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights (international covenant on civil and political rights) 1996 The articles are clearly intended as binding rights as the covenant states that all signatory states agree to ensure that the rights set out in the covenant apply within their jurisdiction. Civil and political rights relate to the treatment of the individual both as an individual and as a member of society. The covenants main function is to protect the people from oppressive governments.

Rights include: right to self-determination, right to life, prohibition on torture and slavery, right to liberty and security of the person, due process, freedom of thought and conscience and religion, freedom of association, right to minorities to enjoy their own culture.

3) International covenant on economic, social and cultural rights (1996) This convention places obligations on states of a more limited nature than the ICCPR. State parties are required to make use of their maximum available resources in carrying out the convention. This recognizes that many of these rights are not particularly attainable due to the limited economic resources of many states. States are expected to achieve the rights listed progressively. The function of the covenant is to ensure that everyone is provided with everything they need to maintain human dignity. Rights established include: right to work/ right to social security/right to an adequate living...
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