Summary of : HUMAN RIGHTS : WHAT THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY ARE NOT

  • The neglect of real human rights is a reflection of a shift in the academic debate, which now talks of three waves in human rights:
    ◦ political and civil rights Only the genuinely human rights.
    ◦ economic and social rights
    ◦ cultural, or the rights of peoples.
  • Not being clear of what are human rights, it has following consequences:
    ◦ reduces moral force of the claim if a minimum wage is the equivalent of burning books
    ◦ enables those govts wo systematically fail to respect human rights claim that while they have a poor record in some areas, they have a better record in others
    ◦ It distracts attention from other human rights
  • Right is moral entitlement, much more than a want not desire.
  • One of the major goals of Human Rights Movement is to turn human rights into positive rights. “Human” means it belongs equally to all regardless of nationality, sexuality, ethnicity.
  • Not only they apply to every human, they belonged to every human being that has ever existed.
  • 3 criterians of human right:
    ◦ universality-belong to everyone throughout entire time
    ◦ absolute-it can’t be limited by any call, except when it is clashing with other right
    ◦ inalienable-it isn’t possible to surrender that right (you can’t sell yourself into slavery
  • Political & Civil Rights:
    ◦ French: Liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression
    ◦ UDHR: Article 1 to 20, described as “liberty rights”, everyone has equal right to be free from interference by state or others
    ◦ Not to be killed, tortured, cripples; freedom of expression, freedom to own justly
    acquired land, freedom to movement, freedom to religion, fair trial and equality before law
    ◦ Right to vote: should not be a right, because democracy itself might be not right.
    Because democracies sometimes become tyranny of the majority. Minority suffers.
  • Economic & Social Rights:
    ◦ Articles 21-30 are ‘economic social and cultural rights’. Article 24: “right to rest and
    leisure, including periodic holidays with pay!!” Self-employed or homemakers or
    unemployed couldn’t demand ‘holidays with pay’.
    ◦ Other articles include right to employment, equal pay for equal work, just and favorable conditions.
    ◦ These are desirable, but not human rights, they should be “welfare rights”, rather than liberty rights.
    ◦ These were accepted in UN because of Soviet recommendation against west.
  • Cultural Rights:
    ◦ Right to preserve culture, right of natural wealth and resources, right to be equal.
    ◦ These are not universal (can’t be implied on all humans), absolute (rights of one group pitched against other) or inalienable (immigrants)
  • Conclusion: Not all rights are human, not everything desirable should be a right. States
    should not get away with conscious or unconscious ideological allies.
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