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athgarvan

WHAT IS A HUMAN RIGHT ANYWAY?

We hear a lot about human rights these days. But where do human rights come from in the first place? Is there a danger that the words become rhetorical catch-alls, expanded to suit the passing tastes of the age?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a powerful reminder of our common humanity and the solidarity that flows from it. It demands universal respect and observance.

Today, human dignity and rights are being denied, suppressed and violated in various ways across the globe: civilians are being targeted in war and armed conflict; persons are being trafficked for slave labour, or sex; religious minorities are being singled out for persecution; human beings deemed unwanted or useless are being discarded in a “throwaway culture”; hundreds of millions of peoples risk their lives to flee from persecution and extreme poverty; countless individuals are victims of various forms of discrimination.

But what is the source and foundation of 'human rights'? Everyone speaks about human rights, but where do human dignity and rights come from?

Our human rights do not come from State policy. They cannot be conceded or taken away by the State. A human right is intrinsic to every human being, and being antecedent to the demands of the State, must always be recognized and protected by the State. Consequently, the term “human right” must be strictly and prudently applied and its responsiblities upheld.

The work of the United Nations over the last 70 years in upholding and protecting the human rights and dignity of all must be applauded.

Comments

> Everyone speaks about human rights, but where do human dignity and rights come from?

They're a counterfactual moral claim which has their ontological grounding in autonomy of one's body and independence of mind.

If we could feel each other's feelings and had a shared mind, I suspect we'd probably have a different notion of such rights.
I'm a theist.

If theism is true, I have a sound foundation for morality.

If theism is false, I don't have a sound foundation for morality (Craig & Kurtz et al).

Without a ‘sound foundation’, Craig insists, morality is illusory.
> If theism is false, I don't have a sound foundation for morality (Craig & Kurtz et al).

Yes you do. I just gave the reasons why the sound foundation still exists.
You may be right but I'm afraid I don't understand your language - probably from old age!
Well OK. You have you're own body with feelings right? And your own mind? And other people have the same? There's your foundations of moral behaviour.
Is there a difference between 'morality' and 'ethics'?

Have they different foundations?
The most common suggestion is morality is actual behaviour, ethics is the philosophy of morality.

There is an alternative point of view that says that morality is principles of behaviour, and ethics is the situational implementation.

I am of the latter school of thought.
Thank you. I'll work on that for a while.
How very well put - thank you.
I concur with your entire post. Some may view the United Nations with jaundiced eye, but I too applaud its intentions in a divided world.
Apart from Christianity, the UN is our only hope.
"When the whole world is silent,
even one voice becomes powerful."

- Malala Yousafzai