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HUMAN RIGHTS

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					                                      Human Rights

                           A Short History of Human Rights
People in the West have made many attempts to establish basic rights to protect their life and
liberty (freedom). Some of the most important milestones in this struggle are shown below:

1215 Magna Carta (Britain)                                   1959 Declaration of the Rights of the
Issued by King John, this established                        Child (United Nations)
important rights and principles for ‘all                     This sets out some basic rights for
free men’, e.g. the right to be consulted                    children e.g. the rights to equality, love
about taxes and the right to a fair trial. It                and health and a decent standard of
became the basis for the concept of                          living, play and protection from cruelty. It
natural justice.                                             forms the basis of the UN Convention on
                                                             the Rights of the Child.

1689 Bill of Rights (Britain)
This set out certain rights and freedoms
                                                             1963 European Convention on Human
that English subjects could claim against
                                                             Rights (Europe)
the King (William III) e.g. that he was not
                                                             This was passed to support human rights
allowed to suspend the laws, as James II
had done.                                                    throughout Europe. It is based on the
                                                             UN Declaration of Human Rights, but
                                                             excludes certain right, such as those to
                                                             housing, work and education. It is
1776 Declaration of Independence                             upheld by the European Commission on
(USA)                                                        Human Rights, which may pass on to the
This is the foundation document of the                       European Court of Human Rights in
USA which declares that all people are                       Strasbourg.
‘created equal’ and have ‘inalienable
rights’ to life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness.
                                                             1998 Human Rights Act (Britain)
                                                             Although the European Convention on
1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man                        Human Rights has supported human
and the Citizen (France)                                     rights in Europe for nearly 40 years, the
 This stated new principles that lay                         procedure for pursuing justice has been
behind the French Revolution: that ‘men                      complex, costly and time-consuming. If
are born free and remain free and equal                      British citizens felt that their rights were
in rights’                                                   violated, they had to take their case
                                                             through the whole system of UK courts
                                                             before having it heard in the European
                                                             Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In
1948 Universal Declaration of Human                          1998, therefore, the UK government
Rights (United Nations)                                      made the European Convention on
This was designed to protect the rights of                   Human Rights part of UK law.
everyone in the world after abuses of
WWII. It begins ‘All human beings are
born free and equal in dignity and rights’.
In 30 ‘articles’ it defines some
fundamental rights e.g. those of ‘life,
liberty and security of the person’,
‘freedom of movement’ and ‘freedom of
thought, conscience and religion’. The
Declaration forms the basis of the UN
Commission on Human rights.

				
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posted:10/19/2011
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