What Are Human Rights?

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Human rights are a set of principles that are designed to promote the dignity and worth of human beings. They are based on the idea that all people have a right to live in freedom and peace.

Human Rights are not just ideas or a moral code; they are essential legal principles that have been incorporated into many countries’ laws. Individuals in those nations can also seek a legal remedy by taking a complaint to a human rights tribunal, which can give an opinion as to whether or not the government has violated these principles.

The origins of human rights can be traced back to the early 17th century, when the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen both recognised certain values that were considered important to the development of society. These values included freedom of speech, religion, and the press as well as equality and fraternity.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, issues such as slavery, serfdom and racial discrimination began to be addressed at the international level. This was the period in which the first international human rights treaties were signed. These were mainly mutual commitments between states.

However, as human rights progressed and evolved over time, they became more focused on the individual. They were no longer merely intended to protect people from other members of their society, but were also meant to help prevent the abuses that they themselves had witnessed.

As a result, human rights are viewed as a tool for political action and a means of raising awareness amongst the public about issues such as poverty, inequality, discrimination, and exploitation. They are also seen as a way of helping governments make better decisions and improve their systems.

Nevertheless, human rights are not without criticism and have often been accused of being divisive. For example, some people say that human rights are too restrictive, while others argue that they promote inequality and make things worse.

Some of the most controversial issues of human rights are those that involve culture and tradition. For example, female genital mutilation is a practice that occurs across different cultures but is widely condemned as a violation of women’s rights.

It is also important to note that while harmful traditional practices can be prevented by repression and condemnation, it is the individuals themselves who maintain them through their behaviour. Changing these practices requires education and engagement with the family, community, and local authority.