human rights

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Related to Basic human rights: Basic human needs, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

human rights,

universal rights held to belong to individuals by virtue of their being human, encompassing civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights and freedoms, and based on the notion of personal human dignity and worth. Conceptually derived from the theory of natural lawnatural law,
theory that some laws are basic and fundamental to human nature and are discoverable by human reason without reference to specific legislative enactments or judicial decisions.
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 and originating in Greco-Roman doctrines, the idea of human rights appears in some early Christian writers' works and is reflected in the Magna CartaMagna Carta
or Magna Charta
[Lat., = great charter], the most famous document of British constitutional history, issued by King John at Runnymede under compulsion from the barons and the church in June, 1215.
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 (1215). The concept winds as a philosophical thread through 17th- and 18th-century European and American thought, including the Declaration of IndependenceDeclaration of Independence,
full and formal declaration adopted July 4, 1776, by representatives of the Thirteen Colonies in North America announcing the separation of those colonies from Great Britain and making them into the United States.
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 (1776) and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and CitizenDeclaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen,
a fundamental document of French constitutional history, drafted by Emmanuel Sieyès, adopted by the Constituent Assembly on Aug. 26, 1789, and embodied in the French constitution of 1791 as a preamble.
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 (1789). The United Nation's Commission on Human Rights, with Eleanor RooseveltRoosevelt, Eleanor
(Anna Eleanor Roosevelt) , 1884–1962, American humanitarian, b. New York City. The daughter of Elliott Roosevelt and niece of Theodore Roosevelt, she was an active worker in social causes before she married (1905) Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a distant
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 as chair, created the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which reasserted the concept of human rights after the horrors of World War II. Human rights have since become a universally espoused yet widely disregarded concept.

Organizations such as Amnesty InternationalAmnesty International
(AI,) human-rights organization founded in 1961 by Englishman Peter Benenson; it campaigns internationally against the detention of prisoners of conscience, for the fair trial of political prisoners, to abolish the death penalty and torture of prisoners,
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 and Human Rights Watch promote human rights and denounce human-rights abuses. In addition, such abuses around the world are monitored and documented by independent investigators ("special rapporteurs") appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, which, in turn, rebukes cited nations for their human-rights failures. (The council replaced the UN Human Rights Commission, which had been accused of protecting human-rights violators, in mid-2006; similar accusations have been leveled at the new council.) In Europe, the supranational European Court of Human Rights, established under the Council of EuropeCouncil of Europe,
international organization founded in 1949 to promote greater unity within Europe and to safeguard its political and cultural heritage by promoting human rights and democracy. The council is headquartered in Strasbourg, France.
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, is intended to protect individual human rights from government abuse.

The charging in 1998 by a Spanish court of former Chilean president Augusto PinochetPinochet Ugarte, Augusto
, 1915–2006, president and dictator of Chile (1973–90). An army general who served as chief of staff (1972–73) and commander of the army (1973), he led the coup that overthrew socialist president Salvador Allende (Sept., 1973).
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 with human-rights violations and the 1999 British ruling that he could be extradited to Spain, as well as the indictment and arrest (2000) in Senegal of former Chadian president Hissène Habré for human-rights violations during his presidency (although charges were later dropped, he was subsequently rearrested on a Belgian warrant), were regarded as small steps forward in the international protection of human rights.

See also civil rightscivil rights,
rights that a nation's inhabitants enjoy by law. The term is broader than "political rights," which refer only to rights devolving from the franchise and are held usually only by a citizen, and unlike "natural rights," civil rights have a legal as well as a
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; feminismfeminism,
movement for the political, social, and educational equality of women with men; the movement has occurred mainly in Europe and the United States. It has its roots in the humanism of the 18th cent. and in the Industrial Revolution.
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; gay-rights movementgay-rights movement,
organized efforts to end the criminalization of homosexuality and protect the civil rights of homosexuals. While there was some organized activity on behalf of the rights of homosexuals from the mid-19th through the first half of the 20th cent.
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; war crimeswar crimes,
in international law, violations of the laws of war (see war, laws of). Those accused have been tried by their own military and civilian courts, by those of their enemy, and by expressly established international tribunals.
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.

Bibliography

See M. A. Glendon, A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2001); A. Fagan, The Atlas of Human Rights (2010); S. Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (2010); A. Neier, The International Human Rights Movement (2012).

human rights

see CIVIL RIGHTS.
References in periodicals archive ?
So our basic human rights include the right to the resources necessary for our moral development (pp.
The DPJ also submitted a counteroffer to one of the ruling coalition's bills on dealing with attacks by other countries, spelling out the basic human rights that must be protected during such emergencies, including freedom of thought and conscience.
initiated war may not be the best way to accomplish the goal of ending the tyranny of Saddam Hussein's government or to produce a political authority that guarantees and promotes respect for basic human rights.
However, we are prepared to defend the thesis that Islam has historically presented a framework for protecting basic human rights, and that it presents a system of jurisprudential principles that allow for the creation of a viable modern human rights regime, totally consistent with the letter and spirit of Islam.
They must have a voice in their country's future in order to protect their basic human rights.
Now that the Taliban have fled, after relentless American air strikes and pressure from Northern Alliance soldiers, women are welcoming the return of their basic human rights.
Although the precise details of the forthcoming legislation are not yet known, there is concern that such measures may further undermine the basic human rights of asylum seekers, " said Hilary Brown, of Cardiff-based Wales Assembly Against Racism, which organised tonight's meeting.
But free trade also has this bothersome tendency to drive everybody--excluding, of course, the insulated and extremely wealthy--to the lowest common denominator in terms of living wages, health standards and basic human rights.
These activities laid the basis for later action by such groups as Blacks and women, who found further encouragement in the Haitian revolution and Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman, both of which inspired demands for basic human rights.
In the days when the most basic human rights were denied, the priorities of the black community were clear-cut.
The violent, deadly actions of the repressive regime in Iran clearly violate international law and show a flagrant disregard for the basic human rights of its citizens," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ and ECLJ.

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