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SOSC 1210 - UDHR - Class 2.docx

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Social Science
SOSC 1910
Kerry Taylor

Human rights are about social equality and social justice - What is social equality? - It involves questions about "the distribution of social goods and burdens such as income, wealth, opportunity, education and health care..." - ... "in order for a society to consider itself a bastion of social equality, it will mean that there are no legally enforced social class boundaries, and that there is no unfair discrimination motivated by personal characteristics - Equal opportunity? (not necessarily the same treatment) - About social tolerance (idea that everyone should be accepted for who they are) AND economic opportunity Human Rights - The United Nations - Four main purposes: - To keep peace throughout the world; - To develop friendly relations among nations; - To be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations relative to these goals - To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people to conquer hunger, disease and literacy Canadian Human Rights Contributors - John P. Humphrey - original drafter of UDHR - first director of the UN Human Rights division - Lester B Pearson - peace-keeping forces - Stephen Lewis - Canadian Ambassador to UN and WHO (world health organization) - Louise Arbour - first Chief Prosecutor for International War Crimes Tribunal - UN high commissioner for HRs Background for the Creation of Human Rights - Prior to WW2 human rights were not the focus of international concern, they were treated as being exclusively within the jurisdiction of each nation state. - Realization of WW2 atrocities - genocide - HRs are moral principles - A moral is a set of ideas about right and wrong. They help us to make very general statements of what we should/should not do. - HRs are universal - They apply to all human beings and they apply to us no matter what our presenting characteristics are. - UDHR is the first piece known as international bill of human rights International Bill of Human Rights - Core documents that comprise the Bull of Human Rights are: - UDHR-1948 - International Covenant on economic, Social and Cultural Rights ("ICESCR", 1966) - International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR", 1966). - Includes two optional protocols: access to UN Tribunals, and attempting to abolish the death penalty - When we think about analyzing rights in 1210 we have t include all of these documents in our analysis. And, - There are a series of subsequent documents that refer to specific populations (disabled, women children, racialized populations, ethno-cultural or religious minorities, refugees...). These must be included as well - Our understanding of HRs continues to evolve. It is not static (it is changing all the time) - It is a body of ideas that continues to evolve - HR instruments are a declaration of norms and standards that should apply to all individuals, which every nation should obey and incorporate into the "law of their land." - Big course argument: just because we have a law about something, does not mean it will be respected, does not mean it will work the way it was intended to work...Nor does it mean that laws will be interpreted by the judiciary in the spirit of international covenants. - 1210 is a critical study of law, and its effects. Human Rights at the International Level - There are 3 main types of rights: 1. Individual - Political/civil - Economic - Social 2. Collective (association with culture) - Rights of Aboriginal peoples - Ethno-cultural/Ethno-religious 3. Categorical - Human rights are inalienable. They are not earned, we don't have to achieve them, it means they can be claimed by all persons, not matter their status/ability/political & religious ideas might be. - Individual Rights are INDIVISIBLE and INTERDEPENDENT (cant be separated, and must be together) - We will not view rights are generational... - We will move beyond the (artificial) distinction
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