CICS 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Good Governance, Disjointed, Nato

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Human Rights
Prior to the 1940s the term “human rights” was very rarely used
oNo laws to protect individual rights
oNo NGOs with a global reach to protect rights
By the 1990s we have a set of laws, institutions, international/regional
bodies promoting human rights, and thousands of NGOs working on
behalf of human rights in the world today
It’s a language we use to speak across borders and between nation-states
The graph (Google Books Ngram Viewer) tells us that the use of the word
“human rights” rose exponentially since the 1940s onward
oClassic works in history were more concerned with other words,
such as slavery and discrimination
What explains this graph?
Ideas started flowing in the West, and once they got going
they flowed quite rapidly around the world
With communication and transportation technologies, we’re
much more aware of human rights abuses
Once we had the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
more and more organizations started to form
Origins of Western Human Rights
Hugo Grotius
oMost scholars would agree that the first step was taken with Hugo
Grotius in the 1600s when he started talking about natural rights,
which we have separate from God’s will
oHis idea is that people can use their rights, unaided by religion, to
set up a contractual relationship with the government
oThis began to make sense for secularizing Europe during the
Renaissance, because it wanted an alternative view separate from
oWhat are natural rights?
Philosophers and politicians distinguish between natural and
legal rights
Natural rights are not reliant upon the laws of a country, you
have them simply by being human
Legal rights are bestowed to you by the virtue of a legal
system of government
oGrotius got us on the right path, but without the political shocks of
the American and French Revolutions, human rights would not be
started in the West
American & French Revolutions
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oLocke and Hobbs made rants about political grievances during the
American Revolution that turned into a statement of human rights
oJefferson shared the view that rights should flow from the nature of
human beings themselves
oDeclaration of Independence was on the basis that King George the
3rd violated human rights
oAbout 13 years later, Jefferson was in Paris visiting his friend
Marquis de Lafayette and started helping him write a French
oThis was delayed because of the fall of Bastille, eventually they
came together and in about 8 days, the Marquis and about 30 other
people wrote the French declaration about the rights of man
This took another step because it is stunning in its simplicity,
it does not mention the King or Church, and pronounces
everyone is equal before the law (this is revolutionary)
It also states that this is for all people, not just the French
What is odd about this is that the terms “natural rights” and
“natural law” were taken to be very obvious, even though
they were made unspecified in these documents
Jefferson even wrote himself that we hold these truths to be
Cultural Context (Lynn Hunt)
Historian Lynn Hunt had an answer to how these ideas came to be seen
self-evident and obvious
Views of the body
oAt this time, our views of the body were changing
oWhat was changing was that there was a rising sense of shame of
the human body
oFor example, around this time people would go to hotels and sleep
which whoever was put in the same room as them, now it’s spouse
or family
oThere are clear lines of distinction about the body
oWe have this sense of body discreteness that our bodies are ours
and should not be violated
Rise of novels
oFrom about 1740 on, people started to empathize with each other
across social boundaries
oThis came about because there was a form of novels called
epistolary novels (kind of like a sitcom, it would come out in letter
form in installments)
oA novel called Pamela was interesting because she was a servant,
but when readers read her inner thoughts they realizes she
completely violated the stereotype of a downtrodden, pitiful person
and she had the same kind of rich inner life as they did
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oSo, people started to empathize and see themselves as more alike
than they had in the past, it is clear that there is a change in the
hierarchy in society
Changing ideas about torture
oTransformation would not be complete without changing ideas
about torture
oThis was a time when torture was used, especially to contract
oIn Boston, use of public humiliation was used as a sort of form of
public education
oOnce the body belonged to the individual, not the community, and
we had the ability to empathize, laws came about to forbid torture
Creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Aftermath of WWII
oAfter WWII, every country was affected
oAt least 60 million people died, this was a huge source of
inspiration to come together to increase interdependence and
create institutions to create war
The UN Charter came out in this context
oSome people would go further to say human rights rose from the
ashes of WWII as the final solution to the Nazi Holocaust
There is a strong connection between sentiments after WWII
and the rise of the human rights regime as we know it
But, we must remember that at the time that they gathered
in San Francisco and New York, we didn’t understand the
full magnitude of the atrocities because this was only weeks
after Europe stopped the war
UN Charter
oThey gathered in San Francisco and called for the creation of a
commission to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Collectively authored
oIt was collectively authored but shared by Eleanor Roosevelt, it
would not have happened without her expert skills and her bringing
people together to bridge differences, she said herself this was her
finest achievement
oMallick, born in Lebanon, was an early drafter
Studied under a famous philosopher
Believed that truth is found in each individual’s subjective
He came together with Jiang, who was a scholar of Islam and
Confucianism (right away you can see there are people of
diverse religion and ethnic backgrounds who came together
to make this document)
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