history of human rights



We explain the history of Human Rights, its background, its role in the Modern Age and its declaration in 1948.

Human Rights were declared in the 20th century but their conception is old.

History of Human Rights

It is often thought that Human rights They are a modern western invention, but the truth is that they have a history with numerous background ancient and medieval. That is why there is a certain margin of debate regarding its historical origin.

However, no one doubts that it was in the West where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights emerged, and where it began to play an important role in the philosophy politics, from the Modern age.

Human Rights Background

There were important political and legal gestures in the Antiquity that one can think of today as an antecedent of Human Rights. The first case is that of the Code of Hammurabi from the 18th century BC. A., Arisen in Babylon during the reign of Hammurabi, in which the crimes possible and their way of punishing themselves. Thus, the Babylonian people could exercise a Justice impartial, fair, oblivious to the whims of the monarch.

Something similar happened, centuries later, after the conquest of Babylon by the emperor Cyrus the Great, approximately in the 5th century BC. The conquering Persians granted the Liberty to slaves and freedom of worship to all citizens newly annexed to empire, thanks to a decree of the emperor whose words were engraved on a ceremonial cylinder, the "cylinder of Cyrus."

So that already in Antiquity the importance of laws fair that defended a sense of equality. To those laws, later, the Roman law He called them "natural rights": those possessed by all Roman citizens by birth, despite the fact that at that time not everyone was considered a "citizen." Slaves, foreigners and enemies, for example, were never protected by these rights.

This is largely due to the fact that societies Ancient ones were based on honor, in which birth determined the conditions of life: the aristocracy was noble because it was born noble, and it did not have to have the same rights as commoners.

But that began to change in the West thanks to the rise of the religion Christian, whose dogma professed equality in the eyes of God, because at the end of life we ​​would all have to be judged with the same bar, regardless of our origin, but only our actions.

This new way of understanding society was key so that centuries later fundamental Human Rights could emerge, since the Christianity he professed forgiveness even for those who were our enemies.

However, the Middle Ages, during which Christianity and its church ruled over EuropeIt was not exactly the most respectful era of human rights in human history. The burning of witches, the persecution of heresy and many other bloody episodes testify to this.

However, at that time there were important initiatives in other latitudes, such as the Mandén Charter (the Kukuran Fugue) of the Mali Empire (1235-1670), which contemplated the laws of this African nation, and in which an idea of ​​"human dignity”Similar to the one we associate with Human Rights today.

At the same time, Western thinkers such as William of Ockham (1288-1349) defended the concept of "subjective right", Which paved the way for the resurgence of the"natural law"In the West with the Renaissance.

Human Rights in the Modern Age

Thomas Paine noted "The Rights of Man" in 1792.

The Modern Age brought with it the triumph of a new social class, the bourgeoisie wealthy but commoner, who through different revolutions was imposing a liberal vision of society. The bourgeoisie sought greater equal opportunities, regardless of the origin of the persons, nor the mandates of the monarch.

Thinkers such as Voltaire (1694-1778), John Locke (1632-1704), Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), among many others, founded a new vision of the world. Its main moment of manifestation was the French Revolution of 1789, in which the monarchy and a republican order was established that aspired to three great things: liberty, equality and fraternity.

In fact, it was the French Revolutionaries, immersed in their thirst for changes and to refound the system, who for the first time in history spoke of Universal Human Rights. For this, the newly constituted National Assembly carried out the Proclamation of the Rights of Man in Society, taking up a concept previously exposed by Thomas Paine in his work The Rights of Man ("The rights of man") of 1792.

Despite the failure of the French Revolution, things never went back to the way they were before. The idea of ​​Human Rights was picked up by the working-class, union and socialist political movements of the 18th and 19th centuries that, in the face of the industrial capitalist system, pushed for changes and new freedoms, just as the bourgeoisie had done in previous centuries.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Although Human Rights are still violated, this is considered a crime that must be punished.

The 20th century was characterized by long and cruel wars, such as the First Y Second World Wars, in which the military conflict was for the first time aided by technologies industrial, and never before seen horrors were committed: the warlike use of gases and chemicals, the Nazi death camps, the atomic bombs Americans over Japan, etcetera.

The social and cultural trauma of this last conflict was such that in 1945 the United Nations to ensure that nothing similar would occur again.

The General Assembly of this body adopted, on December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was the first of many international treaties on the subject, such as the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950, the International Covenants on Human Rights of 1966 or the American Convention on Human Rights of 1969.

Unfortunately, these numerous agreements on Human Rights did not prevent or prevent in recent times that the fundamental rights of the woman continue to be violated. humanity. However, today they are understood as universal (without discrimination any for any type of social, political, ethnic or religious criteria), inalienable and inalienable, that is, common to any human being Anywhere in the world.

But even so, it is true that for the first time in history the concept of human dignity has a defender. In addition, it is important that today the violation of a person's Human Rights is considered a punishable offense anywhere on the planet and that it does not prescribe regardless of how long it has been.

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