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Human Rights Theories
Submitted By Rockford Publishers on 2012-11-11( Views : 584 ) ( Votes : 0 )
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Human Rights Theories


Today, human rights activism is almost transforming into a religion. It is basically a yardstick of measuring how a government treats its people. It is generally agreed globally that by virtue of being a human being, people do deserve some kind of treatment irrespective of his or her race, sex caliber education and power. World over there are debates on the abuse of rights to humanity. These rights are often documented legally aiming at protecting the human rights. Practices of power beyond the expectations of the people that will interfere with the rights of the humanity will automatically lead to a penalty by the law.

Human rights events and theories

There are several human rights events that do take place globally.  We have the human rights day which is always celebrated on 10th of December every year. During this day, there is declaration to the human rights. This activity involves people all over the globe. During this day people do participate from all corners of the world, irrespective of their race, their religions their sex and ethnicity. In commemorating this day, there are several theories of human rights that go in line with it. For instance, this event relies on the theory of human dignity. In this theory, the dignity of human life is one of the foundation or bases on which the human rights lie. It is argued that human rights are in existence simply because they are to protect the human life dignity. Relating this theory to this event, we find that by virtue of being a human being, one is involved in it. For preparations, and attendance, people are involved from all levels, from all countries, from all walks of life. Also, the fact that the Human rights declarations are based on this foundation proves that human dignity is the core to the human rights. According to Jack Donnelly, someone’s health is not tie to his or her dignity of life. It is this dignity that is fought for when everybody is welcome in events like this. He argues that there are rights to human life t6hatv gives it some dignity, thus differentiate it from that of other animals. Through this, we are able to say that human life will be worth to live. However, the difficulty comes in the construction of the universal standards of morals. Identifying the nature of dignity is a bit technical. According to Donnelly, he argues that human rights are not an individuals issue but a social thing that will depend on the choice of the people on the vision of morality and the potential it will have in bringing out the dignity that can be seen. Another complexity comes in that there is no standard value of dignity. The roles that religions and the social stratification play make the matter to be more complex. What might be dignified life a Hindu may not be so to a Christian and so on.

Another event is the human rights award day which this year was held on 9th of December. This award draws people from all corners of life and the award panel sits down to see the suitors of the awards. This also considers the dignity that is recognized by the Donnelley’s approach to human rights. Another approach to human rights here is that of well being of human being. According to Allan Gewirth, human rights come by from the moral nature of the human beings. However, he refutes that human rights can be equalized to the moral visions of the dignity of human life. On contrary, Gewirth argues that because action is the subject of morality we can not say that human rights are tied only to morality but also do protect and preserve the well being and freedom of humanity.  However, this approach has been widely criticized in that some scholars say that human rights can not be common to everybody i.e. they can not be universal.  According to Douglas Husak, there are not human rights that can be extended to all individuals in the universe and he uses his argument to establish the difference between the humans and persons.

Another approach to human rights is that of John O'Manique. This approach is based on development and evolution of human beings. He argues that there should be theories to human rights that are not susceptible to contradicting interpretations or theories that can be denied by other people. He says that human right should be from something innate to all human beings and not what can be created by human beings this events try to make people be at  people at par as far as human right are concerned.


Human rights are for all human beings. However, just like ethics and morals they differ from place to place. This means that we can be in one society but have different perceptions on what to be called a human right. For this reasons, scholars should come together and come up with a a theory that is well harmonized to cater for the differences.

Generally, there are foundations on which human rights lie. These foundations are important in that they generate different understandings of different benefits that are protected by the human rights. They also have different weaknesses as well as strengths.

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 Edmund B. Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1987

Jean-Jacques R. The Social Contract,Baltimore: Penguin, 1968,

Thomas P. The Rights of Man, New York: Penguin Books, 1985

Tom C. The Left and Rights: Analysis of the Idea of Socialist Rights, London: Routledge,1983.

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