Human rights a short discussion
This earth has seen many atrocities every since man has occupied this world. The twentieth century has been the bloodiest one in human history; over 170,000,000 people were murdered by their governments. This number does not even count the number killed in the two world wars. The first such genocide for the 20th century was the extermination of the Armenian Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire beginning in 1915, with 1.5 million dead and ended in 1995 with 200,000 deaths in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Human rights violations come in large numbers as stated above, and in small numbers as when Daniel Pearl lost his head to a hacksaw blade wielded by Muslins on the internet, or in the June 7, 1998 slaying of James Byrd Jr. in Texas by white supremacists. Violations of human rights are brought to us by governments and by individuals.
Human rights are given to us by God or Natures God (Declaration)” the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.” The first human rights are listed in Exodus 20:13 “thou shall not murder”, Exodus 2016: thou shall not bear false witness” and in Exodus 20:15 “thou shall not steel”. These equate to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property, in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence. Life relates to Security Rights (Nickel) “security rights that protect people against crimes such as murder, massacre, torture, and rape”. Liberty and property relates to due process rights because when a person loses the capability to worship in a manner that they wish or they lose property then there needs to be due process, (Nickel) ” but human rights as we know them today address specific problems (e.g., guaranteeing fair trials, ending slavery,…)”
It has been said that everyone has the right to do what they will anytime they will, but that right stops when it infringes on another person’s rights. About 1,900 years ago, a man asked Rabbi Hillel to teach him the Torah while standing on one foot. Hillel replied (Torah) you want to learn a great deal quickly, don’t you? Very well, I shall teach you the Torah while you stand on one foot. This is our Holy Torah: ‘What is hateful to you, do not do unto others.’” There are many versions of this story. This version fits the rights issue perfectly. Human rights come from God, not from man or government. Human rights are static and are always going to be ours. Man has the power to infringe on human rights and does so quite regularly, as I stated above.
Civil and political rights are not human rights, because they can be seen differently from one person to another, for instance (Nickel) “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests (European Convention, Article 11).” What if I do not want to join a trade union, there is no mention of the right “not to join” in the European Convention. This falls under the human right of property ownership; a mandatory membership fee is property confiscation without due process. In non right to work states it is mandatory to join the union or at least pay for its existence. The union management then sends my dues without my consent to a politician that will indeed work very hard for issues that I believe are immoral and unethical, such as abortion, thereby negating human rights. Nickel writes that John Locks rights are too few and abstract. Yes they are abstract and where Nickel writes about numerous rights (Nickel) “(e.g., guaranteeing fair trials, ending slavery, ensuring the availability of education, and preventing genocide.)” All of these rights are covered under “life” except education, which is a political right. We believe that education is a right and we do have a good educational system. While the Taliban believe that education is not a right for girls. (Taliban) “Militants in a former tourist region of Pakistan have banned girls from school beginning this month, claiming female education is contrary to Islam.”
When I read (Nickel) “Because many human rights deal with contemporary problems and institutions they are not transhistorical.” I totally reject his assertion. This means that human rights can change as government fiat. Today it is a human right, tomorrow it is not.
Social rights are not rights at all. They can be deemed a right by some governmental agency (Nickel) “The Universal Declaration included social (or “welfare”) rights that address matters such as education, food, and employment. Their inclusion has been the source of much controversy (see Beetham 1995). Social rights are often alleged to be statements of desirable goals but not really rights.” I agree with Beetham in this issue. It is good and proper to educate our children so that they can do better than we did and continue to make this a better world. Education is not a right that we must confer on our children. Someone must pay for the social rights, therefore forcing one person to pay for another person’s education, or social right by imposing a government edict and threat of force is steeling and is a violation of the property rights. This then cannot be a right of any kind. One right cannot negate another right, when it does one of them is no right at all.
Declaration of independence (1776) The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
Nickel, James, “Human Rights”, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (fall 2010 Edition), Edward N. Alta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2010/entries/rights-human/>.
Torah on one foot. Adapted from Olat Re’iyah vol. II, pp. 287-289. (first century BCE) http://rabbihillel.com/ Retrieved 04/02/2012
Taliban bans education for girls in Swat Valley. The Washington Times . (January 2009) http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/05/taliban-bans-education-for-girls-in- pakistans-swat/ retrieved 04/02/2012