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.
◦ 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.