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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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?


“Human rights THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE: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?


THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE: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


WHAT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS? THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE:

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)


WHERE DO RIGHTS COME FROM? THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE:

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.


HISTORIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE:

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”


HISTORIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE:

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”


HISTORIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE:

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.


HISTORIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE:

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”


WHAT IS THE UNITED NATIONS? THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE:

•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.


THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS THESE 3 KEY QUESTIONS, AND INDEED BY NOW, YOU SHOULD HAVE SOME PRECONCEPTIONS ABOUT THESE:

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:


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.


WHO WROTE THE UDHR? RIGHTS ARE:

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

Lebanon


WHO WROTE THE UDHR? RIGHTS ARE:

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.”


HOW DOES THE UDHR PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS? RIGHTS ARE:

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.


HOW IMPORTANT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS? RIGHTS ARE:

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)


COMMON MYTHS OF THE UDHR? RIGHTS ARE:

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.


LET’S REVISIT THIS STATEMENT MADE EARLIER: RIGHTS ARE:

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.







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



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 majority of the patients suffer from AIDS





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




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


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?


MANDATORY TERM 2 GROUP PROJECT KEY QUESTIONS:

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.


  • QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED IN YOUR PRESENTATION KEY QUESTIONS:

  • 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?


GROUPINGS KEY QUESTIONS:


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