Introduction to Human Rights
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Introduction to Human Rights. BY THE END OF THIS LECTURE, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE: What are human rights? How important are human rights? How far are human rights universal?.

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Introduction to Human Rights

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Introduction to human rights

Introduction to Human Rights


Introduction to human rights

BY THE END OF THIS LECTURE, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE:

What are human rights?

How important are human rights?

How far are human rights universal?


Introduction to human rights

“Human rights are inscribed in the hearts of people”

Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Are human rights legally binding?

Can human rights be legally binding?


Introduction to human rights

“Humanity will not enjoy security without development; it will not enjoy development without security; and it will not enjoy either without respect for human rights.”

Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary General


Introduction to human rights

WHAT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS?

Human rights are the rights and freedoms that we all have.

•Some human rights are based on our physical needs. The right to life. To food. To shelter.

•Other human rights protect us.The right to be free from torture, cruel treatment and abuse.

•Human rights are also there to ensure we develop to our fullest potential.The right to education. To work. To participate in your community.

Everybody has human rights. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what language you speak or what religion you belong to. You have a duty to respect the rights of others, just as they have a duty to respect yours. Nobody can take your rights away. (INALIENABLE / INHERENT)


Introduction to human rights

WHERE DO RIGHTS COME FROM?

Human rights are based on the values of:

•Dignity

•Justice

•Respect

•Equality

Human rights were officially recognised as values by the world when the United Nations was set up.


Introduction to human rights

HISTORIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS

400 B.C.E. est. - Mo Tzu founded Mohist School of Moral Philosophy in China

Importance of duty, self-sacrifice, and an all-embracing respect for others – “universally throughout the world”

300 B.C.E. est. – Chinese sage Mencious

Wrote on the “human nature” – “humans are fundamentally good, but goodness needs to be nurtured”

300 B.C.E. est. – Hsun-tzu

Asserted “to relieve anxiety and eradicate strife, nothing is as effective as the institution of corporate life based on a clear recognition of individual rights”


Introduction to human rights

HISTORIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS

1750 B.C.E. – King Hammurabi in Babylon

Necessary to honour broad codes of justice among people. Created one of the earliest legal codes to govern behavior – “let the oppressed man come under my statue” to seek equal justice in law

Ancient Egypt

Explicit social justice – “comfort the afflicted…refrain from unjust punishment. Kill not…make no distinction between the son of a man of importance and one of humble origin”

Early Sanskrit writings in Indian

Responsibility of rulers for the welfare of people. “No one should be allowed to suffer… either because of poverty or of any deliberate actions on the part of others”


Introduction to human rights

HISTORIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS

300 B.C.E. – Asoka of India

Freedom of worship and other rights of his subjects. Believed in impartial justice and social equality and no castes should exist since all are from one tree

16th century - Hindu philosopher Chaitanya

“There is only one caste – humanity”

Sikh leader Guru Gobind Singh

Proclaimed “recognize all the human race as one”

10th Century - Al-Farabi, an Islamic Philosopher

Wrote The Outlook of the People of the City of Virtue, a vision of moral society in which all individual were endowed with rights and lived in love and charity with their neighbors.


Introduction to human rights

HISTORIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Greek Philosophers

Equal respect for all citizens (insotimia). Equality before the law (isonomia). Equality in political power (isokratia) and Suffrage (isopsephia).

Marcus Tillius Cicero (106 BC)

“Universal justice and law guided human nature to act justly and be of service to others” – This natural law “binds all human society” together, applies to every member of “the whole human race” without distinction and unique dignity of each person.

French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762)

“Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains”


Introduction to human rights

WHAT IS THE UNITED NATIONS?

•The United Nations (UN) is an international organisation that was e established in 1945, the year the Second World War ended.

•Its founders hoped it would be able to prevent catastrophes like the Holocaust from happening in the future.

•So promoting human rights became an aim of the UN, along with e maintaining international peace and reducing poverty.


Introduction to human rights

THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the most famous human rights agreement in the world. It contains 30 human rights.

According to the UDHR, you have the right to:


Introduction to human rights

THE KEY MESSAGES OF THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ARE THAT HUMAN RIGHTS ARE:

•Universal

Should be applied to everyone, regardless.

•Equal

Are equally important.

•Interdependent & indivisible

These rights provide the foundation on which the enjoyment of other rights depends.

•Inalienable

These rights are inherent and cannot be transferred. They cannot be restricted or taken away without affront to human dignity which society has a fundamental duty to protect at all times.


Introduction to human rights

WHO WROTE THE UDHR?

The people who wrote the UDHR came from: Australia, Chile, China, France, Lebanon, the former Soviet Union, the UK and the US.

Lebanon


Introduction to human rights

WHO WROTE THE UDHR?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was drafted by the UN Commission on Human Rights chaired by, then first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. The UDHR was adopted by the 56 member nations of the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948.

December 10th is celebrated around the world as International Human Rights Day. The 192 member states in the U.N., upon membership, agreed to educate their citizens about the principles of the UDHR. Most of these countries have incorporated the principles of the UDHR into their constitutions.

“The UDHR specifies minimal conditions of a dignified life.”


Introduction to human rights

HOW DOES THE UDHR PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS?

The UDHR is an international statement of values that has inspired over 80 treaties containing human rights laws, including the main UN human rights treaties.


Introduction to human rights

HOW IMPORTANT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS?

A Moral Vision of Human Nature

Human Rights set the limits and requirements of social (especially state) action. But the state and society, guided by human rights, play a major role in realizing that “nature.” When human rights claims bring legal and political practice into lines with their demands, they create a person in line with a moral vision. (Donnelly, 2003)


Introduction to human rights

COMMON MYTHS OF THE UDHR?

Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (i.e., healthcare, housing) are privileges.

Human Rights applies only in poor, foreign countries.

Human Rights are only concerned with violations.

Only lawyers can understand the significance of Human Rights.


Introduction to human rights

LET’S REVISIT THIS STATEMENT MADE EARLIER:

Everybody has human rights. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what language you speak or what religion you belong to. You have a duty to respect the rights of others, just as they have a duty to respect yours. Nobody can take your rights away.


Photographs by james nachtwey

Photographs by James Nachtwey


Somalia 1992 child starved by famine a man made weapon of mass destruction

Somalia, 1992 - Child starved by famine, a man-made weapon of mass destruction


Somalia 1992 lifting a dead son to carry him to a mass grave during the famine

Somalia, 1992 - Lifting a dead son to carry him to a mass grave during the famine


Sudan 1993 famine victim in a feeding center

Sudan, 1993 - Famine victim in a feeding center


Sudan 1993 famine victim about to receive water in a feeding center

Sudan, 1993 - Famine victim about to receive water in a feeding center


Introduction to human rights

HIV/AIDS•10 new HIV infections every minute•as many as 46 million people are infected•40% infection rate in Botswana and Swaziland


South africa 2000 grandmother caring for young girl affected by hiv

South Africa, 2000 - Grandmother caring for young girl affected by HIV


Zimbabwe 2000 in a tuberculosis ward where the great majority of the patients suffer from aids

Zimbabwe, 2000 - In a tuberculosis ward where the great majority of the patients suffer from AIDS


South africa 2000 care giver comfortingan aids sufferer

South Africa, 2000 - Care giver comfortingan AIDS sufferer


Indonesia 1998 a beggar washed his children in a polluted canal

Indonesia, 1998 - A beggar washed his children in a polluted canal


West bank 2000 palestinians fighting the israeli army

West Bank, 2000 - Palestinians fighting the Israeli army


West bank 2002 digging out the ruins of a shop in jenin refugee camp

West Bank, 2002 - Digging out the ruins of a shop in Jenin refugee camp


Introduction to human rights

Article 5-“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”


India 1993 untouchables working in a brick factory

India, 1993 - Untouchables working in a brick factory


India 1993 untouchables haul a boatload of sand up the ganges

India, 1993 - Untouchables haul a boatload of sand up the ganges


Introduction to human rights

Article 4-“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms”


Introduction to human rights

BY THIS POINT, YOU SHOULD ALREADY BE ABLE TO ANSWER THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS:

What are human rights?

How important are human rights?

How far are human rights universal?


Introduction to human rights

MANDATORY TERM 2 GROUP PROJECT

Each group will research an area of human rights abuse or violation and present the case study to the class. The presentation should last about 20 mins. On the next slide, you will find the questions you minimally should answer in your presentation.

After your presentation, your group will lead a 30-min seminar-style discussion. For this, you would need to prepare a list of 5 questions that you would like discussed, and take the lead from there. You should confirm these questions with me 2 days before your presentation is due.


Introduction to human rights

  • QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED IN YOUR PRESENTATION

  • IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM

  • What is the form of abuse / violation?

  • Which article(s) of the UDHR is/are violated? Do provide a brief explanation. Do not merely state the obvious.

  • Where does the abuse / violation take place?

  • Who is / are involved? Consider the victims, the perpetrators and third parties.

  • Why did/does the abuse/violation take place? For what purpose?

  • How did / does the abuse take place?

  • SUGGESTING A SOLUTION

  • What is being done and what can be done to stop such abuse?

  • Who can intervene / stop / prevent the abuse/violation?

  • How can this be achieved?

  • What are some problems and difficulties faced by enforcers?

  • Why is there a need to end the abuse / violation?

  • What part can you play to stop the abuse / violation?


Introduction to human rights

GROUPINGS


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