Human Rights Essay

4019 words - 17 pages

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms which everyone is entitled to. Human rights demand recognition and respect for the inherent dignity and value of every human beings, and provide the shared values and the legal basis to ensure that everyone is protected against abuses which undermine their dignity, and give the opportunities they need to realise their full potential, free from discrimination. Human rights are for all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status.
The history of rights can be articulated to the ancient laws (such as the Hammurabi Codes of Babylon), to ...view middle of the document...

In the beginning, the Nazi regime established discriminatory laws controlling who could own property, hold jobs, and go to school and in the end, they launched a world war and enslaved and murdered millions of civilians. The results of the Nazi attempt to annihilate all the Jews of Europe and to enslave and destroy millions of others as well Poles, gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war, homosexuals, the mentally and physically handicapped and political opponents had shocked leaders and citizens throughout all cultures and societies of the post-war world.
Prior to World War II the prevalent attitude had been that the protection of human rights was primarily a domestic concern, that is, a concern of sovereign governments. Efforts to defeat the Axis, however, became for many people synonymous with a struggle to make human rights a universal concern, that is, a concern of all human beings. The world united to defeat fascism and to secure human rights for everyone and everywhere. During the war, the momentum towards universal recognition of inalienable human rights was propelled by the Atlantic Charter and by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech before the United States Congress in 1941. In his address, Roosevelt proclaimed four basic freedoms that could never be legitimately abridged; they were freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. This message was communicated to the people very explicitly in statements like the "United Nations Declaration" and pamphlets like the "United Nations Fight for the Four Freedoms.”
As the War neared an end, the need to codify human rights was not on the minds of diplomats and leaders alone. After Germany’s unconditional surrender, further information of Nazi atrocities slowly became available. With these horrific revelations the determination to secure enduring respect for human rights became indelibly ingrained in the minds of all peoples. The allied countries began planning for peace well before the war was over. An important event in this planning process was a conference held at the Dumbarton Oaks estate outside Washington D.C. in the early fall of 1944. It was at this conference that the Big Four war powers (the United States, Britain, the Soviet Union and China) met to discuss their proposals about how peace might be maintained in the post-war world. Their ultimate goal was an international organization that would have the power to maintain security and foster prosperity.
When representatives from forty-six nations gathered in San Francisco on 25 April 1945 to form the United Nations, they brought with them a hatred of war combined with a spirit of respect for human dignity and worth. Still, their work threatened to fall short of the concrete protections that people sought. It was the concerted pressure from forty-two American organizations acting as consultants to the U.S. delegation that eventually convinced participating governments of...

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