Summary of Chapter 37 on Human Rights

of Chapter 37 on Human Rights

Thetheory of human rights began a long time ago. Even though this theorywas not widespread during the ancient period it has roots from theancient past such as the days of Plato and Aristotle. However, theRomans had an understanding of the nature of being and influenced thedevelopment of human rights to provide difference with othercreatures. These theories have evolved over the centuries. GeneBlocker begins by defining what a right entails. He states that aright is a legitimate claim that an individual has against the otherfor the act committed. He compares human right to other forms ofreason that people may have and differentiates it by stating thathuman rights are universal and permanent and individuals from birthpossess it to death. A human possesses it by being humans.

Accordingto Gene Blocker, human rights have been modified considerably fromthe Romanian natural law. The theories developed by John Locke andThomas Hobbes`, an extension of Thomas Aquinas`s natural lawformulated in the thirteen century, formed the basis of the Nazi warcrimes tribunals and was later cited by the World Court during thetrials of leaders from Rwanda, Liberia, Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone.After the eighteenth century, much of the political thinking wastowards the defending of the privileges and the rights of individualsof the lower and middle class from oppression coming from theiraristocratic rivals. Those in the middle class had the right toeducation, to choose where they wish to or carry out businessactivities that they wish and to democratically choose the governmentthey want to have for their country. The freedom made the societyespecially the middle class to identify themselves as equal membersof the community as far as the political community is concerned.

Thedoctrine of universal human right expanded during the nineteenthcentury to add various universal human rights that were not part ofthose that were established in the eighteenth century. It includedthe rights to adequate education, the standard of living, healthcare, food and many others. The most fundamental rights wereconsidered during this period because some rights were not beneficialto the lower class, for example, the freedom of the press. Theaddition of these rights resulted from the disparities of wealthwitnessed by the middle class and the working class. By the end ofthe nineteenth century, the liberties were divided into two i.e. Billof Rights and social welfare rights.

Duringthe twentieth century, the idea to extend the rights to include theanimals, plants, rivers, and mountains were raised. Most human rightswere constructed on the basis that people can reason compared toother creatures who do not think rationally. The criteria fordetermining equality as far as human rights are sometimes too wide ornarrow such that it may exclude some persons. Gene Blocker says thatthe mentally disabled and the infants may be seen as those who are inneed of most concepts of human rights yet human rights are consideredto be equal to all.

Internationallaws have enforced human rights in various capacities where statelaws do not protect the rights of the citizens. For example, thepresident of Iraq was immune to the country laws, yet he committed acrime against humanity. The crime against humanity charged used inthe Nuremberg war crime tribunal was a reference tomedieval-Roman-Greek philosophical concept providing a description ofuniversal human rights showing that these rights have a long historyin the process of their development.