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International Human RIghts: Week 1

by: Alyssa McClearnon

International Human RIghts: Week 1 POL 2089

Marketplace > University of Cincinnati > Political Science > POL 2089 > International Human RIghts Week 1
Alyssa McClearnon
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About this Document

Do you know what human rights are/where they are from? These notes outlines the diverging philosophical perspectives of the origin of Human Rights.
International Human Rights
Dr. Rebecca Sanders
Class Notes
enlightenment, philosophy, rights, Politics, Liberty




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alyssa McClearnon on Saturday January 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POL 2089 at University of Cincinnati taught by Dr. Rebecca Sanders in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 28 views. For similar materials see International Human Rights in Political Science at University of Cincinnati.

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Date Created: 01/16/16
Alyssa McClearnon University of Cincinnati Week 1: The Fundamentals of Human Rights It’s Complicated The question; ‘what are Human Rights’, at first seems very simple. Yet defining exactly what Human Rights are tends to bring great debate. For example, a person may say, “Human Rights are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Does everyone has the right to live? If so, then how does abortion or a criminal on death row play into this right? Is liberty infringed upon when the TSA does not let you get on your flight until you have gone through security? Are governments responsible to make us happy, and how is that defined? Many times civil liberties to one person (gay marriage) can inhibit another person’s civil rights (religious freedom). Four Schools of Thought: Where Human Rights come from? 1. Natural Law: Rights are inalienable, and have always existed. People are entitled to them on the basis of simply being human. They exist regardless of their social recognition. Can (not always) have a divine connotation, alike God’s universal social contract with people. This argument is often used by activists who are proving a human right has value to a society that has yet to except it. 2. Deliberative: Rights are something that liberal societies specifically decide to adopt. Rights are man-made concepts that we make priorities as social awareness progresses. There is no holistic or one definition of moral code. 3. Protest: Rights are addressed at times of shocking injustice. They are results of awful events and are something the able have the duty to stand up for the disenfranchised. 4. Discourse: Rights only exist when we talk about them and when we don’t they disappear. People are not entitled to rights. Politics does not change or give legitimacy to rights. Instead societies must talk, debate, and accept them. Rights are not universal but socially constructed. Historical Context Human rights bloomed from ancient ideas of Natural Law (the divinely ordained moral order of how life ought to be, God’s commandment). Enlightenment philosophy promoted individualism and freedom of thought/religion became popular as result of the American and French Revolutions. These ideas were imprinted into these new constitutions, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Rights outlined in those documents derived from natural rights (God-given), thus could not be changed or challenged. Critics claim that Alyssa McClearnon University of Cincinnati this concept fosters a status-quo that the rich are powerful and the poor are not and that is the natural order of things. This is advantageous for in the elite. After WWII, the world was shocked by theirown moral order. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created, marking a new global standard of rights. A universal definition of human rights is challenged today by: -Cultural Relativism (norms are made by culture aren’t standardized), -Human Rights Imperialism (when countries spread their own agenda in the name of human rights), - Feminism (all of these declarations and conversations have always been written about the ‘rights of men’ and not inherently included women), -and Religious thought (divine rights cannot change which contradicts new human rights). Three Types of Rights: 1. Negative Rights: Comes Enlightenment philosophy, are rules for the government, thou Individual people shall not’s for a given regime. It is easier to measure when negative rights are violated. Known as the first generation rights. Examples: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion 2. Positive Rights: Comes from socialist rations to poverty and inequality. Protect and promote one’s ability to flourish, the pursuit of happiness. Known as second generation rights. Examples: Equal Opportunity Employment, Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies Group of people 3. Collective Rights: Comes as a reaction to colonialism, collective bargaining, self- determination, indigenous rights, known as third generation rights.


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