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The Concept of Human Rights - Research Paper Example

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 This paper explores the concept of human rights in relation to its meaning, origin, history, theory, and place in the contemporary world. It focuses on the history of the human rights development both globally and with regard to the Western society…
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The Concept of Human Rights
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Download file to see previous pages  Theory of human rights is explored in terms of the three generations theory suggested by Vasak. Finally, the place of human rights and various controversies related to their violations in the modern world are discussed. Human Rights Most often we hear the phrase “human rights” when someone talks about the protection of human rights in the modern world. Indeed, as Hafner-Burton & Tsutsui observe, “the protection of human rights is one of the most pressing and yet most elusive goals of the international community” (Hafner & Tsutsui, 2005, p. 1373). Claude & Weston, too, admit that the idea of human rights “has found its way around the globe”, so that every day people are reminded of its importance (Claude & Weston, 2006, p. 3). In the United States, people demand that the homeless get better condition, health insurance be fit for all, torture be brought to an end on the military bases; in Brazil and other countries, the indigenous peoples fight against colonization of their lands and their dispossession; Tibetan monks resort to demonstrations to stop the Chinese from meddling with customs; Cuban people petition for just elections and free speech; the Burmese challenge enslavement practices used by the country’s government to force them construct a gas pipeline which belongs to one multinational company, etc. All these issues are classified as human rights (Claude & Weston, 2006). The fact that people all around the globe have to deal with it evidences its universal character and capacity to impact people’s aspirations. Yet, what exactly is “human rights”? This paper explores the concept of human rights in relation to its meaning, origin, history, theory, and place in the contemporary world. The Human Rights Concept The concept of human rights is based on an understanding of human rights as – literally – the rights that a person has because of being human. Hence, human rights are exercised universally by all people as well as they universally hold against any other person or institution. Human rights, believed to be the highest moral rights, regulate basic structures and major practices of political life; besides, in everyday situations, they are known to have an advantage over other claims of moral, political, or legal nature (Donelly, 2003, p. 1). The universality of human rights is their distinctive feature. As ideal standards, or in the word, human rights have been accepted almost in every country, since all states proclaim adherence to the international norms of human rights on a regular basis. However, these days the concept of human rights is more often spoken of in relation to human rights violations. Constant reports in the media about people becoming victims of state regimes suffer from “crimes against humanity”, injustices, and cruelties. This is the modern discourse of human rights and it is predominantly legal (Freeman, 2011, p.9). Freeman argues that legal understanding of human rights and turning them into an exclusively technical term by lawyers has led to the distortion of this concept.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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