History of human rights

History of human rights

The history of human rights involves religious, cultural, philosophical and legal developments throughout recorded history.

While the modern human rights "movement" hugely expanded in post-World War II era [ [http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED471857&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED471857 Incorporating Human Rights into the College Curriculum.] ] , the concept can be traced through all major religions, cultures and philosophies. Ancient Hindu law (Manu Smriti), Confucianism, the Qu'ran and the Ten Commandments all outline some of the rights now included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The concept of natural law, guaranteeing natural rights despite varying human laws and customs, can be traced back to Ancient Greek philosophers, while Enlightenment philosophers suggest a social contract between the rulers and the ruled. The African concept of ubuntu is a cultural view of what it is to be human. Modern human rights thinking is descended from these many traditions of human values and beliefs. [Ball, Gready (2007) p.14]

Early history of human rights

Human rights in the ancient world

While it is known that the reforms of Urukagina of Lagash, the earliest known legal code (c. 2350 BC), must have addressed the concept of rights to some degree, the actual text of his decrees has not yet been found. The oldest legal codex extant today is the Neo-Sumerian "Code of Ur-Nammu" (ca. 2050 BC). Several other sets of laws were also issued in Mesopotamia, including the Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1780 BC), one of the most famous examples of this type of document. It shows rules, and punishments if those rules are broken, on a variety of matters, including women's rights, men's rights, children's rights and slave rights. [ [http://www.commonlaw.com/Hammurabi.html Code of Hammurabi ] ]

The prefaces of these codes invoked the Mesopotamian gods for divine sanction. Societies have often derived the origins of human rights in religious documents. The Vedas, the Bible, the Qur'an and the Analects of Confucius are also among the early written sources that address questions of people's duties, rights, and responsibilities.

Persian Empire

The Achaemenid Persian Empire of ancient Iran established unprecedented principles of human rights in the 6th century BC under Cyrus the Great. After his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, the king issued the Cyrus cylinder, discovered in 1879 and recognized by many today as the first human rights document. The cylinder declared that citizens of the empire would be allowed to practice their religious beliefs freely. It also abolished slavery, so all the palaces of the kings of Persia were built by paid workers in an era where slaves typically did such work. These two reforms were reflected in the biblical books of Chronicles, Nehemiah, and Ezra, which state that Cyrus released the followers of Judaism from slavery and allowed them to migrate back to their land. The cylinder now lies in the British Museum, and a replica is kept at the United Nations Headquarters.

In the Persian Empire, citizens of all religions and ethnic groups were also given the same rights, while women and men had the same rights. The Cyrus cylinder also documents the protection of the rights to liberty and security, freedom of movement, the right of property, and economic and social rights. [Robertson, Merrills (1996)]

Maurya Empire

The Maurya Empire of ancient India established unprecedented principles of civil rights in the 3rd century BC under Ashoka the Great. After his brutal conquest of Kalinga in circa 265 BC, he felt remorse for what he had done, and as a result, adopted Buddhism. From then, Ashoka, who had been described as "the cruel Ashoka" eventually came to be known as "the pious Ashoka". During his reign, he pursued an official policy of nonviolence ("ahimsa") and the protection of human rights, as his chief concern was the happiness of his subjects. [Chauhan, O.P. (2004).] The unnecessary slaughter or mutilation of animals was immediately abolished, such as sport hunting and branding. Ashoka also showed mercy to those imprisoned, allowing them outside one day each year, and offered common citizens free education at universities. He treated his subjects as equals regardless of their religion, politics or caste, and constructed free hospitals for both humans and animals. Ashoka defined the main principles of nonviolence, tolerance of all sects and opinions, obedience to parents, respect for teachers and priests, being liberal towards friends, humane treatment of servants, and generosity towards all. These reforms are described in the Edicts of Ashoka.

In the Maurya Empire, citizens of all religions and ethnic groups also had rights to freedom, tolerance, and equality. The need for tolerance on an egalitarian basis can be found in the Edicts of Ashoka, which emphasize the importance of tolerance in public policy by the government. The slaughter or capture of prisoners of war was also condemned by Ashoka. [Amartya Sen (1997)] Slavery was also non-existent in ancient India. [Arrian, "Indica", "This also is remarkable in India, that all Indians are free, and no Indian at all is a slave. In this the Indians agree with the Lacedaemonians. Yet the Lacedaemonians have Helots for slaves, who perform the duties of slaves; but the Indians have no slaves at all, much less is any Indian a whore."] Slavery existed in ancient India, where it is recorded in the Sanskrit Laws of Manu of the 1st century BC. [ [http://www.britannica.com/blackhistory/article-24156 Slave-owning societies] , Encyclopædia Britannica]

Early Islamic Caliphate

Many reforms in human rights took place under Islam between 610 and 661, including the period of Muhammad's mission and the rule of the four immediate successors who established the Rashidun Caliphate. Historians generally agree that Muhammad preached against what he saw as the social evils of his day, [ Alexander (1998), p.452 ] and that Islamic social reforms in areas such as social security, family structure, slavery, and the rights of women and ethnic minorities improved on what was present in existing Arab society at the time.Lewis (1998)] [Watt (1974), p.234] [Robinson (2004) p.21] [Haddad, Esposito (1998), p. 98] ["Ak̲h̲lāḳ", "Encyclopaedia of Islam Online"] Joseph, Najmabadi (2007). Chapter: p.293. Gallagher, Nancy. "Infanticide and Abandonment of Female Children"] For example, according to Bernard Lewis, Islam "from the first denounced aristocratic privilege, rejected hierarchy, and adopted a formula of the career open to the talents." John Esposito sees Muhammad as a reformer who condemned practices of the pagan Arabs such as female infanticide, exploitation of the poor, usury, murder, false contracts, and theft.Esposito (2005) p. 79] Bernard Lewis believes that the egalitarian nature of Islam "represented a very considerable advance on the practice of both the Greco-Roman and the ancient Persian world."cite news | last=Lewis | first=Bernard | title=Islamic Revolution |date=January 21, 1998 | publisher=The New York Review of Books | url=http://www.nybooks.com/articles/4557]

The Constitution of Medina, also known as the "Charter of Medina", was drafted by Muhammad in 622. It constituted a formal agreement between Muhammad and all of the significant tribes and families of Yathrib (later known as Medina), including Muslims, Jews, and pagans. [See:
*Firestone (1999) p. 118;
*"Muhammad", "Encyclopedia of Islam Online"
] [ Watt. Muhammad at Medina and R. B. Serjeant "The Constitution of Medina." "Islamic Quarterly" 8 (1964) p.4.] The document was drawn up with the explicit concern of bringing to an end the bitter inter tribal fighting between the clans of the Aws (Aus) and Khazraj within Medina. To this effect it instituted a number of rights and responsibilities for the Muslim, Jewish and pagan communities of Medina bringing them within the fold of one community-the Ummah. [R. B. Serjeant, "The Sunnah Jami'ah, pacts with the Yathrib Jews, and the Tahrim of Yathrib: Analysis and translation of the documents comprised in the so-called "Constitution of Medina." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 41, No. 1. 1978), page 4.] The Constitution established the security of the community, freedom of religion, the role of Medina as a haram or sacred place (barring all violence and weapons), the security of women, stable tribal relations within Medina, a tax system for supporting the community in time of conflict, parameters for exogenous political alliances, a system for granting protection of individuals, a judicial system for resolving disputes, and also regulated the paying of blood-wite (the payment between families or tribes for the slaying of an individual in lieu of lex talionis).

Muhammad made it the responsibility of the Islamic government to provide food and clothing, on a reasonable basis, to captives, regardless of their religion. If the prisoners were in the custody of a person, then the responsibility was on the individual. [Maududi (1967), Introduction of Ad-Dahr, "Period of revelation", pg. 159] Lewis states that Islam brought two major changes to ancient slavery which were to have far-reaching consequences. "One of these was the presumption of freedom; the other, the ban on the enslavement of free persons except in strictly defined circumstances," Lewis continues. The position of the Arabian slave was "enormously improved": the Arabian slave "was now no longer merely a chattel but was also a human being with a certain religious and hence a social status and with certain quasi-legal rights."Lewis (1994) [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/lewis1.html chapter 1] ]

Esposito states that reforms in women's rights affected marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Women were not accorded with such legal status in other cultures, including the West, until centuries later. [Jones, Lindsay. p.6224] "The Oxford Dictionary of Islam" states that the general improvement of the status of Arab women included prohibition of female infanticide and recognizing women's full personhood.Esposito (2004), p. 339] "The dowry, previously regarded as a bride-price paid to the father, became a nuptial gift retained by the wife as part of her personal property."Khadduri (1978)] Under Islamic law, marriage was no longer viewed as a "status" but rather as a "contract", in which the woman's consent was imperative. "Women were given inheritance rights in a patriarchal society that had previously restricted inheritance to male relatives." Annemarie Schimmel states that "compared to the pre-Islamic position of women, Islamic legislation meant an enormous progress; the woman has the right, at least according to the letter of the law, to administer the wealth she has brought into the family or has earned by her own work."Schimmel (1992) p.65] William Montgomery Watt states that Muhammad, in the historical context of his time, can be seen as a figure who testified on behalf of women’s rights and improved things considerably. Watt explains: "At the time Islam began, the conditions of women were terrible - they had no right to own property, were supposed to be the property of the man, and if the man died everything went to his sons." Muhammad, however, by "instituting rights of property ownership, inheritance, education and divorce, gave women certain basic safeguards." [ Maan, McIntosh (1999)] Haddad and Esposito state that "Muhammad granted women rights and privileges in the sphere of family life, marriage, education, and economic endeavors, rights that help improve women's status in society." [Haddad, Esposito (1998) p.163 ]

Sociologist Robert Bellah ("Beyond belief") argues that Islam in its seventh-century origins was, for its time and place, "remarkably modern...in the high degree of commitment, involvement, and participation expected from the rank-and-file members of the community." This is because, he argues, that Islam emphasized the equality of all Muslims, where leadership positions were open to all. Dale Eickelman writes that Bellah suggests "the early Islamic community placed a particular value on individuals, as opposed to collective or group responsibility." [McAuliffe (2005) vol. 5, pp. 66-76. “Social Sciences and the Qur’an”]

There was an early emphasis on freedom of speech in the Caliphate, as summarized by al-Hashimi (a cousin of Caliph al-Ma'mun) in the following letter to one of the religious opponents he was attempting to convert through reason: [citation|first=I. A.|last=Ahmad|contribution=The Rise and Fall of Islamic Science: The Calendar as a Case Study|title=Faith and Reason: Convergence and Complementarity|publisher=Al Akhawayn University|date=June 3, 2002|url=http://images.agustianwar.multiply.com/attachment/0/RxbYbQoKCr4AAD@kzFY1/IslamicCalendar-A-Case-Study.pdf |accessdate=2008-01-31]

Magna Carta

Magna Carta is an English charter originally issued in 1215. Magna Carta was the most significant early influence on the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law today. Magna Carta influenced the development of the common law and many constitutional documents, such as the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, and is considered one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy.

Magna Carta was originally written because of disagreements amongst Pope Innocent III, King John and the English barons about the rights of the King. Magna Carta required the King to renounce certain rights, respect certain legal procedures and accept that his will could be bound by the law. It explicitly protected certain rights of the King's subjects, whether free or fettered — most notably the writ of habeas corpus, allowing appeal against unlawful imprisonment.

For modern times, the most enduring legacy of Magna Carta is considered the right of habeas corpus. This right arises from what are now known as clauses 36, 38, 39, and 40 of the 1215 Magna Carta. The Magna Carta also included the right to due process:

Philosophies of human rights

Several theoretical approaches have been advanced to explain how and why human rights become part of social expectations.

One of the oldest Western philosophies on human rights is that they are a product of a natural law, stemming from different philosophical or religious grounds.

Other theories hold that human rights codify moral behavior which is a human social product developed by a process of biological and social evolution (associated with Hume). Human rights are also described as a sociological pattern of rule setting (as in the sociological theory of law and the work of Weber). These approaches include the notion that individuals in a society accept rules from legitimate authority in exchange for security and economic advantage (as in Rawls) - a social contract.

Natural rights

Natural law theories base human rights on a “natural” moral, religious or even biological order which is independent of transitory human laws or traditions.

Socrates and his philosophic heirs, Plato and Aristotle, posited the existence of natural justice or natural right ("dikaion physikon", "δικαιον φυσικον", Latin "ius naturale"). Of these, Aristotle is often said to be the father of natural law, [Shellens (1959)] although evidence for this is due largely to the interpretations of his work of Thomas Aquinas [Jaffa (1979)] .

The development of this tradition of natural justice into one of natural law is usually attributed to the Stoics. [Sills (1968, 1972) "Natural Law"]

Some of the early Church fathers sought to incorporate the until then pagan concept of natural law into Christianity. Natural law theories have featured greatly in the philosophies of Thomas Aquinas, Francisco Suárez, Richard Hooker, Thomas Hobbes, Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf, and John Locke.

In the Seventeenth century Thomas Hobbes founded a contractualist theory of legal positivism on what all men could agree upon: what they sought (happiness) was subject to contention, but a broad consensus could form around what they feared (violent death at the hands of another). The natural law was how a rational human being, seeking to survive and prosper, would act. It was discovered by considering humankind's natural rights, whereas previously it could be said that natural rights were discovered by considering the natural law. In Hobbes' opinion, the only way natural law could prevail was for men to submit to the commands of the sovereign. In this lay the foundations of the theory of a social contract between the governed and the governor.

Hugo Grotius based his philosophy of international law on natural law. He wrote that "even the will of an omnipotent being cannot change or abrogate" natural law, which "would maintain its objective validity even if we should assume the impossible, that there is no God or that he does not care for human affairs." ("De iure belli ac pacis", Prolegomeni XI). This is the famous argument "etiamsi daremus" ("non esse Deum"), that made natural law no longer dependent on theology.

John Locke incorporated natural law into many of his theories and philosophy, especially in "Two Treatises of Government". Locke turned Hobbes' prescription around, saying that if the ruler went against natural law and failed to protect "life, liberty, and property," people could justifiably overthrow the existing state and create a new one.

The Belgian philosopher of law Frank van Dun is one among those who are elaborating a secular conception [cite web|url=http://users.ugent.be/~frvandun/Texts/Logica/NaturalLaw.htm|author=van Dun, Frank|accessdate=2007-12-28|title=Natural Law] of natural law in the liberal tradition. There are also emerging and secular forms of natural law theory that define human rights as derivative of the notion of universal human dignity. [Kohen (2007)]

The term "human rights" has replaced the term "natural rights" in popularity, because the rights are less and less frequently seen as requiring natural law for their existence. [cite web|author=Weston, Burns H.|url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9106289?query=human%20rights&ct=eb|title=Human Rights|publisher=Encyclopedia Britannica Online, p. 2|accessdate=2006-05-18]

ocial contract

The Swiss-French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau suggested the existence of a hypothetical "social contract" where a group of free individuals agree for the sake of the common good to form institutions to govern themselves. This echoed the earlier postulation by Thomas Hobbes that there is a contract between the government and the governed - and led to John Locke's theory that a failure of the government to secure rights is a failure which justifies the removal of the government.

International equity expert Paul Finn has echoed this view:

The relationship between government and the governed in countries which follow the English common law tradition is a fiduciary one. In equity law, a politician's fiduciary obligations are not only duties of good faith and loyalty, but also include duties of skill and competence in managing a country and it's people. Originating from within the Courts of Equity, the fiduciary concept exists to prevent those holding positions of power from abusing their authority. The fiduciary relationship between government and the governed arises from the governments ability to control people with the exercise of its power. In effect, if a government has the power to abolish any rights, it is equally burdened with the fiduciary duty to protect such an interest because it would benefit from the exercise of its own discretion to extinguish rights which it alone had the power to dispose of.

Reciprocity

The Golden Rule, or the "ethic of reciprocity" states that one must do unto others as one would be treated themselves; the principle being that reciprocal recognition and respect of rights ensures that one's own rights will be protected. This principle can be found in all the world's major religions in only slightly differing forms, and was enshrined in the "Declaration Toward a Global Ethic" by the Parliament of the World's Religions in 1993.

Other theories of human rights

The philosopher John Finnis argues that human rights are justifiable on the grounds of their instrumental value in creating the necessary conditions for human well-being. [cite web|url=http://www.iep.utm.edu/h/hum-rts.htm#SH4b|title="Human Rights"|publisher=The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy|author=Fagan, Andrew|date=2006|accessdate=2008-01-01] [Finnis (1980)] Interest theories highlight the duty to respect the rights of other individuals on grounds of self-interest:

The biological theory considers the comparative reproductive advantage of human social behavior based on empathy and altruism in the context of natural selection. [Arnhart (1998)] [Clayton, Schloss (2004)] [Paul, Miller, Paul (2001): Arnhart, Larry. "Thomistic Natural Law as Darwinian Natural Right" p.1]

Modern human rights movement

The conquest of the Americas in the 16th century by the Spanish resulted in vigorous debate about human rights in Spain. The debate from 1550-51 between Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda at Valladolid was probably the first on the topic of human rights in European history. Several 17th and 18th century European philosophers, most notably John Locke, developed the concept of "natural rights", the notion that people are naturally free and equal [ [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-political/ Locke's Political Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) ] ] [ [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-political/#LawNat Locke's Political Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) ] ] . Though Locke believed natural rights were derived from divinity since humans were creations of God, his ideas were important in the development of the modern notion of rights. Lockean natural rights did not rely on citizenship nor any law of the state, nor were they necessarily limited to one particular ethnic, cultural or religious group.

Two major revolutions occurred that century in the United States (1776) and in France (1789). The Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 sets up a number of fundamental rights and freedoms. The later United States Declaration of Independence includes concepts of natural rights and famously states "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Similarly, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen defines a set of individual and collective rights of the people. These are, in the document, held to be universal - not only to French citizens but to "all men without exception".

1800AD to World War I

Philosophers such as Thomas Paine, John Stuart Mill and Hegel expanded on the theme of universality during the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1831 William Lloyd Garrison wrote in a newspaper called "The Liberator" that he was trying to enlist his readers in "the great cause of human rights" [Mayer (2000) p. 110] so the term "human rights" probably came into use sometime between Paine's "The Rights of Man" and Garrison's publication. In 1849 a contemporary, Henry David Thoreau, wrote about human rights in his treatise "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" [http://www.cs.indiana.edu/statecraft/civ.dis.html] which was later influential on human rights and civil rights thinkers. United States Supreme Court Justice David Davis, in his 1867 opinion for Ex Parte Milligan, wrote "By the protection of the law, human rights are secured; withdraw that protection and they are at the mercy of wicked rulers or the clamor of an excited people." [cite web|title="Ex Parte Milligan", 71 U.S. 2, 119. (full text)|url=http://www.law.uchicago.edu/tribunals/docs/milligan.pdf|date=December 1866|accessdate=2007-12-28 ]

Many groups and movements have managed to achieve profound social changes over the course of the 20th century in the name of human rights. In Western Europe and North America, labour unions brought about laws granting workers the right to strike, establishing minimum work conditions and forbidding or regulating child labour. The women's rights movement succeeded in gaining for many women the right to vote. National liberation movements in many countries succeeded in driving out colonial powers. One of the most influential was Mahatma Gandhi's movement to free his native India from British rule. Movements by long-oppressed racial and religious minorities succeeded in many parts of the world, among them the civil rights movement, and more recent diverse identity politics movements, on behalf of women and minorities in the United States.

The foundation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the 1864 Lieber Code and the first of the Geneva Conventions in 1864 laid the foundations of International humanitarian law, to be further developed following the two World Wars.

Between World War I and World War II

The League of Nations was established in 1919 at the negotiations over the Treaty of Versailles following the end of World War I. The League's goals included disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries through negotiation, diplomacy and improving global welfare. Enshrined in its Charter was a mandate to promote many of the rights which were later included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The League of Nations had mandates to support many of the former colonies of the Western European colonial powers during their transition from colony to independent state.

Established as an agency of the League of Nations, and now part of United Nations, the International Labour Organization also had a mandate to promote and safeguard certain of the rights later included in the UDHR:

After World War II

Rights in War and the Geneva Conventions

The Geneva Conventions came into being between 1864 and 1949 as a result of efforts by Henry Dunant, the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The conventions safeguard the human rights of individuals involved in conflict, and follow on from the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions, the international community's first attempt to define laws of war. Despite first being framed before World War II, the conventions were revised as a result of World War II and readopted by the international community in 1949.

The Geneva Conventions are:

* First Geneva Convention "for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field" (first adopted in 1864, last revision in 1949)
* Second Geneva Convention "for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea" (first adopted in 1949, successor of the 1907 Hague Convention X)
* Third Geneva Convention "relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War" (first adopted in 1929, last revision in 1949)
* Fourth Geneva Convention "relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War" (first adopted in 1949, based on parts of the 1907 Hague Convention IV)

In addition, there are three additional amendment protocols to the Geneva Convention:

* Protocol I (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts. As of 12 January 2007 it had been ratified by 167 countries.
* Protocol II (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts. As of 12 January 2007 it had been ratified by 163 countries.
* Protocol III (2005): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem. As of June 2007 it had been ratified by 17 countries and signed but not yet ratified by an additional 68 countries.

All four conventions were last revised and ratified in 1949, based on previous revisions and partly on some of the 1907 Hague Conventions. Later conferences have added provisions prohibiting certain methods of warfare and addressing issues of civil wars. Nearly all 200 countries of the world are "signatory" nations, in that they have ratified these conventions. The International Committee of the Red Cross is the controlling body of the Geneva conventions (see below).

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

[


rightt|thumb|200px|treaty... [In the future, it] may well become the international Magna Carta." [ [http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/eleanorrooseveltdeclarationhumanrights.htm Eleanor Roosevelt: Address to the United Nations General Assembly] 10 December 1948 in Paris, France] Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish text of the Universal Declaration in 1949] The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a non-binding declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly [(A/RES/217, 1948-12-10 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris)] in 1948, partly in response to the barbarism of World War II. The UDHR urges member nations to promote a number of human, civil, economic and social rights, asserting these rights are part of the "foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world". The declaration was the first international legal effort to limit the behavior of states and press upon them duties to their citizens following the model of the rights-duty duality.

The UDHR was framed by members of the Human Rights Commission, with Eleanor Roosevelt as Chair, who began to discuss an "International Bill of Rights" in 1947. The members of the Commission did not immediately agree on the form of such a bill of rights, and whether, or how, it should be enforced. The Commission proceeded to frame the UDHR and accompanying treaties, but the UDHR quickly became the priority. cite journal|title=The Rule of Law in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights|author=Glendon, Mary Ann|url=http://www.law.northwestern.edu/journals/jihr/v2/5/|journal=Northwestern University Journal of International Human Rights|date=July 2004|volume=2|number=5] Canadian law professor John Humprey and French lawyer Rene Cassin were responsible for much of the cross-national research and the structure of the document respectively, where the articles of the declaration were interpretative of the general principle of the preamble. The document was structured by Cassin to include the basic principles of dignity, liberty, equality and brotherhood in the first two articles, followed successively by rights pertaining to individuals; rights of individuals in relation to each other and to groups; spiritual, public and political rights; and economic, social and cultural rights. The final three articles place, according to Cassin, rights in the context of limits, duties and the social and political order in which they are to be realized.. Humphrey and Cassin intended the rights in the UDHR to be legally enforceable through some means, as is reflected in the third clause of the preamble:

Some of the UDHR was researched and written by a committee of international experts on human rights, including representatives from all continents and all major religions, and drawing on consultation with leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi. [Glendon (2001)] The inclusion of both civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rightsBall, Gready (2007) p.34] was predicated on the assumption that basic human rights are indivisible and that the different types of rights listed are inextricably linked. Though this principle was not opposed by any member states at the time of adoption (the declaration was adopted unanimously, with the abstention of the Soviet bloc, Apartheid South Africa and Saudi Arabia), this principle was later subject to significant challenges.

Notes


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