human rights

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Related to human right: 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 ?
He accepts the implication that the concept of a human right has changed as a result of developments in the shared understanding of the aims and purposes of human rights norms.
Rex Martin asks whether human rights exist prior to and independently of conventional rules or only as socialized practices.
The paper, launched at the Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva, focuses on actions Nestle has taken to improve its human rights performance at both country operations and corporate level.
Established in accordance with the Bonn Agreement of 2001 and codified in the Afghan constitution, the commission is the main institution within the Afghan government responsible for promoting human rights.
The two central pillars of China's human rights theory are the sovereignty principle and the right to development.
It is an infringement on the freedom of expression and opinion guaranteed by the constitution and international conventions, including the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights which Lebanon ratified in 1972," said a statement released by a consortium of human rights organizations.
Navanthem Pillay the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed during her recent visit to Jordan, is key in any effort aimed at creating a sustainable culture of human rights,.
First, the Advisory Council on Human Rights would like to recall the standards of international human rights institutions under the Paris Principles, governing such institutions, which stipulate that national institutions should play a major role in promoting and protecting human rights in their respective countries and insist on guarantees of their independence and pluralism;
We are establishing such an agency to preserve and improve human rights, monitor national and international human rights developments, inform people and institutions about issues concerning human rights, examine human rights complaints, and prevent human rights violations," Cicek, who is also the government spokesman, told reporters after the cabinet meeting in Ankara.
Based on a firm belief that all human rights are sacrosanct, Mazda is proactively and sincerely committed to human rights protection activities, and has established a system for promoting respect for human rights.
Since 1948, many major human rights treaties have come into force, ratified by nations around the world (see www.
Content will cover issues relating to such topics as international law versus national sovereignty; the relationship of personal rights to public responsibilities; different standards of measurement of political systems; the role of economic development; and, the place of foreign intervention in mandating a human rights agenda in transitional regimes.

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