Since the atrocities of World War 2, the concept of human rights has been brought to the forefront of international politics. Human rights are rights which are inherent to every human being and are universally applied to everyone regardless of location or physical attributes. The essay will firstly discuss the various categories of human rights and how each one interrelates. Then I will make the case that human rights isn’t a western contruct on the basis that rights are universal irrespective of culture.
What are the different categories of human rights?
Human rights come under three main categories; negative rights, positive rights and group rights. Negative rights are characterized as civil or political rights or ‘first generation rights.’ They are framed as ‘freedom forms’ or ‘freedoms of,’ These rights focus on the individual and authorize people to freely participate in political, civil and economic society. It does not necessitate any state funding or intervention, all it requires is laws which secure these freedoms by empowering individuals to make their own choices. Civil rights include equality before the law, freedom of religion and freedom from arbitrary arrest. Political rights secure a citizen’s involvement in the affairs of the state, which include freedom of speech, assembly and the right to vote. Many first generation rights arose from the French and American revolutions and are protected in sections 3-21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR.) The second main category of rights are titled positive rights or economic and social rights. These rights necessitate funding and intervention from the state as a certain service must be provided. These rights are characterised as ‘freed...
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...arily championed by people from third world countries. Second generation rights are universally promoted through institutions such as the World Bank, developmental assistance programs, foreign aid and trade agreements. Globalisation has enabled western and non-western countries alike to unify around the common goal of spreading human rights throughout the world.
In this essay I have defined the categories of human rights and argued that human rights is not a western concept. Firstly I have outlined the success of human rights in various Asian countries and its worldwide appeal to prove it is not only favoured by those with a western worldview. In addition, I contended that several non-western nations helped draft the UDHR and led efforts to advance human rights. The spread of human rights is part of a worldwide goal to acknowledge the dignity of every individual.
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