Introduction to Human Rights Lecture 10/09/2013
according to business insider what is the most dangerous city in the US?
What is a cross between a camel and a Ilama called?
What was Frankenstein’s first name in the famous Mary Shellely horror story?
What powerful world leader was barred from visiting Disneyland in 1959 for security
In what surface is Leonardo da Vinvi’s Mona Lisa painted?
Wood- poplar panels
The language of human rights is designed to be spoken of universally.
not bound by sex, religion, boarder, ethnicity, race, nationality We have human rights and we can talk about them because we are simply human
Why do we have Human Rights?
the core of the Universalist Perspective:
we have human rights because: WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS
basic and powerful
As human beings we are considered rights holders, we hold rights
while this is an innocent statement, this what we call a “game changer”; this transforms
history according to human rights advocates, as recognizing humans as rights holders
we are changing the game that is played out in society
Universalists argue this will have considerable consequences for people around the
world. Whether we like it or not.
For much of modern history in order to be considered a right holder you had to be a
land hold adult male, however in time, this idea was rejected by those who existed
beyond this small group. THIS IS WHERE THE GAME CHANGED
Once we introduced human rights, this is what Goodhart calls the revolutionary
character of human rights. pg. 3 “the idea of human rights it swept away in one swoop
all the grounds through which the subordination of some individuals, groups, or
categories of people have been justified”. It eliminated the subordination of particular
This first attacked monarchies and aristocracies, we needed to expand rights beyond
women against male dominated societies
slaves against land owners
colonized by colonizers USED THESE IDEAS TO GET THEIR OWN EMANCIPATION revolutionary character
it limits exclusivity and widens human rights
Today Who is still outside the veil of human rights?
Native Canadians, and aboriginals of other colonies
Women in the middleeast
it’s a concept that is growing, but it is not universal just yet
What is a Right? The definition
a human right is a justified claim on someone for something that is owed
Other Conceptions of Rights
he suggested that natural rights are properties of individuals, much like a soul
a property we have
part of the very fabric of our being as people
Problems with this conception:
for example, if you commit a crime how can you justify the imprisonment of a criminal if
they have innate rights to liberty?
either imprisonment was unjustified and against human rights or criminals gave up their humanity when they commit a crime.
if this is the case their treatment in prison wont be nice
Rights as Proscriptions
a reason to treat other people with respect, human rights are human constructions that
we created human rights as humans in a society
a prescription: way of treating
Orend: human rights tell us how to treat fellow human beings, they are who or what we
follows the above definition of HR
Human Rights exist in our Language
Claiming a Right
By giving a reason to be treated in a respectful way, the right holder is asserting that he
or she is entitled to be treated this way by other people or by social institutions, thus
claiming a right.
So in this equation, these other persons or institutions are considered as duty bearers
a right holder then needs to show the duty bearer why they are entitled to such
thus we come back to the basic idea that rights are reasons: tell them why they are
treated in such a way
these positions change depending on the situation
rights holders can be groups as well as individuals
Rights v. Their Objects 1. a right is a claim to something and the object of that right is the thing being
2. so we have property rights in Canada that protect our assets, so we have
deed to homes, the house is the object of our right to it
3. so to make a right real, it is not enough to simply write it into law , you need to
ensure that the right holder actually possess the object of his/her right claim
4. There is more to the processes than simply declaring “I have a right”, we
need something or someone to protect those right