Human rights in the World

The human rights basically refer to the freedoms and rights that are entitled to all human beings irrespective of the social or even geographical backgrounds. They further include the right to liberty and life, the freedom of expression and thought and also the equality before the law. In the United Nations universal declaration of the human rights it clearly states that all the human beings are born free and they are equal in rights and dignity. The human beings are also endowed with conscious and the reason and they should act in a spirit of brotherhood towards one another.

(Barzilai 2003) Historical social background Throughout the human history the human rights have been revolving constantly. The human rights have been tied intricately to the laws religions and customs globally. An example of the codification of laws in reference to the individual human rights is the Hamurabi tablet that was created by the king of Sumerian in about 4000 years ago. The system which is considered barbaric by the present standards had 282 laws that had been created for a precedent legal system.

However there were some defects with the Hamurabis code due to its cause and effect nature that held no protection on the abstract ideas such based on religion, racism, individual freedoms as well as beliefs. The concept of human rights began in the ancient Greece and it then became more synonymous with the natural rights which sprung from the natural laws. In accordance to the Greek tradition of Plato and Socrates the natural law was a law that reflected the universe natural order and it was the will of the gods to essentially control the nature. (Steiner 1996)

The idea of the natural rights then continued to the ancient Rome where the jurist Urpian of the Roman Empire believed that the natural rights belonged to every person whether they were roman citizens or whether they were not. There exists a fundamental difference in today’s human rights and the past’s natural rights. On the other hand in the Middle Ages and the latter years of the renaissance there was a decline in power of the church which led to the society placing more emphasis on individuals and this in turn caused a shift away from the monarchist and feudal societies.

The individual’s expression was then left to flourish. The next philosophy of the fundamental human rights arose from the idea of the positive law. Under the positive law the human rights were then taken away and modified to suit the societal needs instead of them being absolute. A right is therefore a child of law and from the real laws there emerged real rights and from the imaginary laws which are the laws of nature came the imaginary rights. (Bernard 1994) Will the human rights improve around the world?

In my opinion I don’t think that the human rights will further improve around the world. This is because first of all the human rights concept suffers from the cultural imperialism and in particular instances it is fundamentally rooted in a liberal political outlook which has not been necessarily taken as standard all over the world. Even though it is generally accepted in most parts on the world. (Donnelly 2003) This argument of cultural imperialism achieves greater potency especially when religion is involved.

The second reason why I don’t think that the human rights will improve around the world is because of the debate which has been going on for a very long time around the question of who has the obligation of upholding the human rights. Historically the human rights have arose so as to protect the citizens by the state and thus all mankind have the duty of protecting and intervening for the people wherever they maybe. There are also national loyalties which are divisive and they emphasize on the differences rather than the similarities between the people.

This can further be seen as a destructive influence on the rights of the human beings since the people are denied their innate similar human qualities. Some states in the world also use force to further influence what they believe about the human rights and it is in such instances that the human rights cannot improve at all in the world. Similarly the human rights have been violated and abused by many people in various ways and the violations keep escalating gradually.

This also is inclusive of some governments who violate the international as well as the national laws that relate to protecting the rights of the human beings. (Chauhan 2004) These violations include; denying a certain creed or race recognition, dealing with punishments unilaterally or even arbitrally without any fair trial, forbidding the citizens to return or even leave their countries and also any cruel or inhuman degrading punishment is used on a person.

In conclusion the human rights have been a major preoccupation for the United Nations over a long period of time and the respect for the human rights and the human dignity creates the main foundation of peace freedom and justice in the whole world today. (Arthur & John 1996)


Arthur, H. & John, G. (1996): Human Rights in the World. An Introduction to the Study of the International Protection of Human Rights. Manchester University Press. Chauhan, K. (2004): Human Rights, Promotion and Protection. Anmol Publications Bernard, L. (1994): Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Oxford University Press