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.