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HUMAN RIGHTS. What are human rights ?.
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What are humanrights? Humanrights are commonlyunderstoodasbeingthoserightswhich are inherentto the humanbeing. The concept of human rightsacknowledgesthatevery single human beingisentitled to enjoyhis or her human rightswithoutdistinctionas to race, colour, sex, language,religion, political and other opinion, national and social origin,property,birth and other status. Humanrights are legallyguaranteedbyhumanrightslaw. Humanrights are: Founded on respectfor the dignity and worthofeachperson. They are: «Universal», whichmeansthatthey are appliedequally and withoutdiscrimination to all people. «Inalienable», in that no one can havehis or her human rightstakenaway. «Indivisible», «interrelated» and «interdependent», in the sensethatitisimpossible to violate one of themwithoutviolatingotherrights.
The history of human rights Fundamentalsteps: • The Universal Declarationof human rights issued in 1948 is undoubtedly the document which marks a fundamental step towards the affirmation of human rights. Nevertheless, we cannot say that “human rights” were born in 1948 and perhaps we cannot exactly establish a precise date. To tell the truth, each right proclaimed by the Declaration is the fruit of a long historical path which has determined it. • Ancient Greece:An evocative element of Athens is the “Agorà”, that is the square where the social and public life of the town took place, However, most of the citizens, such as slaves, children and women, were excluded. Nearly the same happened in ancient Rome, where, as in Athens, the acknowledgement of rights depended on a certain social position.Onthe contrary, the modern conception of human rights implies that any man can exercise such rights independently of his social position.
FEUDALISMAn important contribution was given by Christianity, which is based on the idea of men’s equality before God. This principle, indeed, was against the situation of the time, in particular it was against the political power, which supposed a strong hierarchy and profound social differences. An important document which dated back to this period is the Magna Charta Libertatum, issued in 1215 by the English King John Lackland, which contains a list of rights, such as the right to personal property, the right to freedom, the right not to be condemned without reason or to be judged by a legitimate authority. However, all these rights, which can be considered similar to the ones included in the Universal Declaration, were not recognized to all citizens, but only to the most important social classes: archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, counts and barons. In England a fundamental document for the affirmation of human rights, the Habeas Corpus Act, was issued in 1679. It established that nobody could be arrested, and deprived of his own freedom, arbitrarily, that is without real evidence of his guilt. On the basis of this document also The Bill of Rights was approved in England in 1689, which affirmed the freedom of religion, of speech and of press.
The Declaration of Independence of the American colonies and the French Declaration of Man and Citizen’s rightsIn the 18th century a lot of philosophical and political currents developed in America and in France. They brought to the approval of two important documents in the history of the evolution of human rights: 1) The Declaration of Independence of the American colonies and 2) the Declaration of Man and Citizen’s rights in France. The Declaration of Independence was signed by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, enclosed to it there was also the Declaration of Man’s rights, which claimed in particular the right to life and freedom, in addition to the rights of speech, of press, of religion and of political reunion. At the end of the French Revolution in 1789, the Declaration of Man and Citizen’s rights was drawn up. It established fundamental rights such as equality, liberty of press, of thought and religion, the presumptuousness of innocence, the right to personal property. Thanks to these two precedents, the beginning of the new century witnessed a phenomenon which spread everywhere in western Europe. In the constitutions, i.e. in the fundamental laws of the new states, the necessity to establish the same rights affirmed in the Declaration of American Independence and in the Declaration of Man and Citizen’s rights was particularly felt.
The Organization of the United Nations and the universality of Human RightsToend this historical review getting to some conclusions, we can say that human rights were not born in a precise historical moment, but they are the result of an evolution, due to those fringes of population, who felt naturally entitled to certain rights, which, on the other hand, were not recognized to them by their rulers.It is worth underlining that the acknowledgement of universal rights was still premature: the declarations we have mentioned above are linked to the citizens of particular countries (for ex. England, France or the American States), there is no mentioning of the rights of all human beings as well as of the acknowledgement of universal rights. In this sense the Universal Declaration of Man’s Rights represents a historical step forward: because it is not the Declaration of an only State. How was this change in perspective possible? The answer is easy: because a lot of States in the world joined it, giving life to a great organization: the Organization of the United Nations
The U.N.O. was officially born in 1945, when the representatives of 50 States elaborated and approved, during the Conference of St. Francisco, the Charter of the United Nations, which contained the general rules for the functioning of the Organization. Today the States Members of the United Nations are 189, practically all world nations. The main aim of the U.N.O. is to keep peace and guarantee international security, in particular, by promoting and encouraging the respect of man’s rights as well as of the fundamental freedoms of everyone, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion. Within the United Nations, which indeed attend to many other matters, there are representatives from every nation, who discuss and in the endtake a decision after voting the proposal. In short the United Nations work as such, even if there would be more problems, which are not worth being underlined now. The main thing is that, thanks to this institution,it was finally possible to take decisions on the subject of human rights, which did not act for an only State. With this procedure the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 and, after it many other documents important to the promotion and the safeguard of human rights. Starting from this date onwards, in fact, the work in the field of human rights has been increasing a lot, giving life to many other declarations and treatises concerning the defense of the rights of particular categories of people: such as women, children, refugees, etc. It is important to underline that the States Members of the U.N.O. have to respect the principles established in the documents approved by the organization when they issue national laws.
InAfrica The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (1981) issued by the organization of African Unity (OAU) pays less emphasis on the individual and more stress on the community, emphasizing the role of human rights and social ethics: '' the promotion and protection of moral and traditional values recognized by the community is a duty of the State'‘.
In Asia In 1991 the Government of Singapore public note on Shared Values and in 1993 four countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and China signed the Bangkok Declaration by starting a debate that continued on Human Rights concern in Vienna (1993).These documents criticize the individualistic cutting on human rights, the low weight that Eastern cultures have in the Universal Declaration and the priority that they have rights beyond duties.
From the 2003 Annual Report of Amnesty International (Israel and the occupied territories):Use of civilians as human shields:"Israeli soldiers often used Palestinians as human shields during military operations, forcing them to risk their lives, by taking actions in which they had to go into homes to liberate the people, searched homes in search of explosives, remove dangerous objects and provide them with coverage when shooting other Palestinians. At least one Palestinian was killed while being used as a human shield by idF1».Inappropriate use of force: "Hundreds of unarmed Palestinians, including more than 100 children, were killed by the Israeli army in shootings, shelling and indiscriminate bombings or as a result of excessive use of force, in the course of operations of public policy or of the prohibitions. Other hundreds of them were killed in clashes with the Israeli army and at least 35 were killed in targeted killings, which have often resulted in the deaths of innocent by slanders. Some Palestinians were killed during the demolition of their homes by the IDF at them."
Mass arrests and torture: "The IDF has arrested thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of minors, in all the Occupied Territories. Most of them were released without charge and many without being questioned. During the arrests and interrogations tortures have been frequent and were reported numerous incidents of torture in detention. The detainees have denounced various forms of torture and ill-treatment, including beatings, being tied up in uncomfortable positions for long periods, threats to detainees and their families, and sleep deprivation. At least one detainee died in custody after being beaten. "Arbitrary detention: "More than 1,900 of those arrested were held in administrative detention up to one year. They have not been charged with any offense and were detained on the basis of secret evidence, whose vision or dispute in court has not been granted to them or to their lawyers. More about 1,000 people arrested have been accused of participation in attacks against Israelis and more than 3,800 were tried by military courts in proceedings that have not fully complied with international standards for a fair process. The majority of Palestinian prisoners was not allowed to receive visits from relatives, even when, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the relatives met the required safety standards. "Forced Transfer: "On September 4, Intisar and Kifah 'Ajuri were forced to relocate from their home city of Nablus in the Gaza Strip due to the fact that they would have helped their brother, who had been killed by the IDF on August 6, in attacks against Israelis. The two had been in detention since June 4th and July 18th , but they had never been accused, nor had it ever been instructed to bring any action in the court against them.>>
The generations of human rights There are fourgenerations of human rights: • THE FIRST GENERATION: includes civil and political rightsThe first generation of human rights dates back to 1789, with the approval of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.They are rights that arise from the claim of a series of fundamental freedoms that were not possible in large sections of the population, in particular the right to life and physical integrity, and then all the rights related to the freedom of thought, religion, expression, association, the right to political participation, to vote.These rights recognize a series of freedoms, related in particular to aspects of political participation. • THE SECOND GENERATION: includes economic, social and cultural rights.This second generation, originated from the Universal Declaration of 1948 and includes economic, social and cultural rights (such as the right to education, employment, housing, health, etc..).The effective exercise of these rights should contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of citizens. In this sense we speak of rights to social matrix, contrasting them with those of liberal matrix of the first generation.In fact, the first-generation rights are very important, but it is also true that it is necessary to ensure first of all minimum conditions of survival equal for all the people involved, whether as a common base for the effective exercise of fundamental freedoms.
THE THIRD GENERATION: includes the rights of solidarity.These rights are collective : it means that the recipients are not individuals but nations. So here we are talking about the right to self-determination of peoples, peace, development, ecological balance, the control of national resources, environment protection.They are also community rights: this means that every nation has a responsibility towards other peoples, especially towards those who find themselves in difficult situations. An example is the problem of development: many countries are poor either because they are not able to provide food for all the inhabitants or because they suffer from diseases they are not able to cure for lack of money. • THE FOURTH GENERATION: includes new rights.Finally, there is a fourth generation rights, which however has not been processed yet, on being a very recent phenomenon: the rights belonging to the fourth generation are related to the field of genetic engineering, bioethics and to the new technologies of communication.The emergence of these new rights is a consequence of the discovery of new technologies: in this sense new rights arise from the threat caused by the new technologies. Let’s consider the damage they genetically modified foods can cause to health, or the dangers that especially children can incur through the use of the internet. Being assumed as a new category will still take some time because these rights are precisely formulated and introduced in official documents.
THE RAINBOWA long time ago, all colours had a furious argument. Each of them said that it was the favourite, the most important, the most useful, the best of all.GREEN said:"I’m obviously the greatest. I’m the symbol of life and hope. I’ve been chosen by the grass, by trees, by plants; all animals would die without me. Look aroundyou, you’llfind me in the countryside. You’llrealizethat I amnearlyeverywhere”.BLUE interrupted it:"You think only about the earth, but don’t you consider the sky and the sea? Water is the source of life, it comes down from clouds into the sea depths. The sky enlarges space, it gives peace and serenity; you would be nothing without me…” YELLOW then said:"You’re all so serious! I bring smile, joy and warmth to the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Whensunflowersblossom, the whole world lookssmiling. There wouldn’t be joy without me…”
ORANGE made a step forward:" I’m the colour of health and strength. I can be rare, but precious, because I am necessary to human life. I bring the main vitamins with me. Think about carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mango and papaya. I am everywhere, but when I fill the sky, at sunrise or at sunset, my beauty is so impressive that nobody thinks about one of you anymore…” RED which was not far from them shouted at them:"I’m the king of you all. I’m the colour of blood and blood is life, moreover it’s the colour of risk and courage. I’m ready to fight for any cause as I have fire in my belly, the earth would be as desert as the moon without me. I’m the colour of passion, love, the red rose and the poppy…” PURPLE stood up in allitsheight: itwasverytall and spokewithgreatpomp and ceremony: "I’m the colour of rulers and I mean power. Kings, statesmen and high clergy have always chosen me since I’m the symbol of authority and knowledge. People do not make me questions…they obey after listening to me!...”
In the end INDIGO spoke very calmly, but firmly, to the others:"You hardly notice me, but you become all superficial without me. I’m the symbol of thought and meditation, of twilight and deep waters…All of you need me to balance and contrast, to pray and sing hymns to peace…” . But all colours continued arguing, each of them considering itself superior to the others. They quarreled more and more aggressively without listening to each other’s reasons. Suddenly a lightning pierced the sky followed by a very strong noise. The thunder and rain which followed frightened all colours so much that they drew all together near to one another to confront each other…In the middle of the row RAIN began speaking: "You, foolish colours, who fight to win over the others… Don’t you know that each of you was made with a precise unique and different purpose? Hold on your hands and come with me”. After making peace, all colours held on their hands. RAIN went on saying: “From now onwards, when it rains, each of you will stretch out across the sky in a big bow to remind you that you must all live in peace”.The RAINBOW is the symbol of hope and peace for the future… So, when a good rain washes the world and a rainbow appears in the sky, let’s remember to appreciate one another!
Austerity…and desertification of future hopes Don’tcutour future…wedon’twant to suffer from «schoolinjuries» !
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Rule Security Sex Social class Stalking Universality Violence Xenophobia Zone Regola Sicurezza Sesso Classe sociale Insidiare Universalità Violenza Xenofobia Zona
“I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it’’ (Marie De Voltaire)
UDA: Human Rights Liceo Scientifico Statale «G.Galilei» - Pescara A.S. 2012/2013 created by: MARIAPINA LAURIOLA Class: I A English teacher: prof.ssa Roberta Miscia