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Development of the Three Basic Human Rights

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Human Rights
Wordcount: 3439 words Published: 10th May 2021

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         The current world is on a changing trajectory in such an overwhelming and a faster rate. The motivating factor for this phenomenon is Human Rights enforcement in all spheres of life. The centuries travel by our world has come with it various moves pursued by man with the view of ensuring that human beings of the world achieve optimum level of life.

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From the Paleolithic era, humans have sought to find several ways to improve their lives. These improvements have therefore brought a great deal of change in how man has lived life on this earth. There have been a lot of laws, which have changed the lifestyles of humans. Human Rights advocates like John Locke have helped to improve people’s way of life in this current age.

         Human rights are rights that allows a person to function and do lawful things in a society with restrictions. Human rights include the right to life, liberty, and property. These rights make an individual free from slavery, rights restrictions, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination. The right to life is a proper concept based on the notion that any human being has the right and privilege to live freely and not be killed by another person or the government. The principle of right to life increases as the discussions on issues of capital punishment, war, abortion, euthanasia, police brutality, justifiable homicide, and animal rights. Life becomes more peaceful when one is not restricted or deprived of their freedom, in anyway shape or form. Liberty is given specific protection by two provisions of the United States Constitution: "No person shall ... be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law. ...”1? And "No state shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law...."2? These formulations are no more precise than those in the European Convention. The notion of due process, by which legitimate deprivations of personal liberty may be accomplished, is left completely unparticularized. (Stoiber, vol.5, 363). This paper, however, seeks to zero in on the three basic rights; the right to life, right to liberty and right to property.

      So many instances in history, autocracy has raised as human rights are concerned. Such style of rulership (autocracy), was a common thing in England during the 17th- century. That is the time of civil war, repression, and rebellion. He expressed the greatest view that government is solely obligated to serve people by protecting their right to life, liberty, and property. Locke brought about measures of governance and the limits individuals have so as government too. He favored representative government and a rule of law. He denounced tyranny, which is cruel and oppressive governance or rule. Moreover, John Locke insisted that when violation of law by government on individual’s rights, people might stand against such government. These views were most fully developed in Locke’s famous Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government, and they were outstanding, such that he never dared sign his name to it. He acknowledged authorship only in his will. Locke’s writings did much to inspire the libertarian ideals of the American Revolution. As a result of such great enlightenment from John Locke, made Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia begun to embark of gaining human rights. Now, everybody is entitled to liberty, property, and life.  The document “Declaration of the Rights of Women and Female Citizen,” written by Olympe de Gouge in the year 1791, in Paris, France also sought out for these same rights in a different dimension. Women were subdued absolutely, and were deprived of so many rights.  Gouges’ talks about the rights of women, and it is basically a critique of the “Declaration of the Rights of Men, which is a document of rights, documented by some French representatives, consisting of the natural rights of men.” Such that, De Gouges indicated that it was heartbreaking for there to be a Declaration of Rights precisely to only men, without including women to also benefit from such opportunities, liberty, and security. Now this relates to the developmental ideas of human Rights (rights every individual is entitled to regardless of sex or race). In this case, during the French revolution, women were deprived of this human right in a way that, women were suppressed in terms of rights. This is because, there were no rights granted to women like it was done for the French men in the Declaration of Rights for Men.

In the year 1791 Olympe de Gouge, Gouges wrote a document as a statement of beliefs to all French women, in critique of the rights of men. She sought to make them aware that women are as equal as men. And therefore, the “Declaration of Rights of Men,” should be for all genders. Hence, no discrimination of rights, for all people are created the same, and the rights are natural rights to all bodies (either a male or female), so should the Declaration of Rights be for all people. Due to the movement and opposition created against the government and Robespierre, she was executed during the “Reign of Terror,” in 1793. Again, I believe that De Gouges wrote this document as a result of the Enlightenment from John Locke, such as the natural right or liberty, which is, “been free from superior power and not to be under any laws of man,” (John Locke). Here is a reason why Gouges wrote a document of critique. For example, in the document of Declaration of Rights for Men, the first declaration states that, “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be based only on common utility.” This right basically deprives women from their own right of been free as their men too. This means men have a popular sovereignty over women, such as men are entitled to have properties, security, and liberty of which De Gouges also disagrees to those rights. But in terms of natural rights, there’s no distinction, because men as well as women, are all equal. Therefore, right deprivation like the above example ushered Gouges to criticize the right of men. Moreover, De Gouges argues with the rights of men in terms of free communication of thoughts, and opinions in anything. This argument shows that with human rights every individual has the right to life, communicate freely and give opinions in relation to the right in the Declaration of Right for Men. On the contrary, during the French Revolution such rights and opportunities were given to men only. And therefore, it was right for Olympe de Gouges to also make the world know that women are to be heard.

 Marie Josephine Diamond goes on with “Dialectical Anthropology, focusing on how advantageous men were, and women been suppressed during the French Revolution. Diamond argues that, even though there were lots of virtuous women yet still, women were treated in a lot of awful ways and deprived of their Human Rights. However, the only thing that women were not deprived of, was writing. As a result, Gouges used such liberty to criticize the French government in considering women as equal as men. The author also explained how Gouge argues on the “Right of Men” such that women are born free. Prior to that, women remain equal as men so long as human right is concern. These are real agitations made by people to promote Human rights all over the world. Focusing thoroughly on the Right to Life. Human Right Act Article 2 talks about the right to life. This is an insinuation that no person or individual has the right to end another person’s life. Even including government authority, and organizational heads. It is therefore mandatory for the government to protect every individual in one’s country, no matter the race, age or gender of the individual. The general sovereignties also think of the right to life for citizens when making decisions that might put one in danger or that affect the life of a person in any shape or form. A Country like the United Kingdom have Acts, that makes the death penalty illegal in the UK and that can be found in (Protocol 13, Article 1 of the Human Rights Act). These Articles are often referred to as an ‘absolute right’. These are rights that can never be interfered with by the state. Along with the right to life, the right to liberty is one of the most fundamental human rights. The right to liberty is the right of all persons to freedom of their person – freedom of movement and freedom from arbitrary detention by others. Historically, the protection of individual liberty was one of the crowning achievements of the common law. The “writ of habeas corpus” is an ancient common law remedy designed to allow a person who is detained to challenge the lawfulness of their detention. Habeas corpus does not secure the release of a person held pursuant to a valid law. Every declaration of rights includes the right of liberty: from the clarion call of the French Revolution (“Liberty, equality, fraternity”) to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR; 1948), Article 3: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”; to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR; 1967), Article 9: “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No-one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.” International human rights conventions do not form part of American laws unless specifically adopted by an American Parliament. The UDHR and the ICCPR have not been incorporated into Australia’s domestic law, so they do not have any legal force in America. Liberty believes that America should adopt and protect these human rights by enacting an American Bill (or Charter) of Rights. Like most rights, the right of individual liberty is not absolute. Governments can legitimately deprive people of their liberty in appropriate circumstances: typically, after conviction for serious offences, in serious mental health cases, and to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Article 9 of the ICCPR recognizes that qualification by prohibiting arbitrary detention. The Migration Act 1958 (Ct.) provides that a non-citizen who enters Australia without a visa must be detained and must remain in detention until they receive a visa or until they are removed from Australia. Thus, both people and other asylum seekers may be held in detention for months or even years – despite the fact they have not committed an offence, are not accused of committing an offence, and present no risk to the community. Asylum seekers are people who have fled their country due to oppression and persecution are held by Australia in high security jails indefinitely, regardless of age, sex or state of health. The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHCR) has found in several cases that this constitutes arbitrary detention, contrary to Article 9 of the ICCPR. The right to liberty is also associated with the right to humane treatment while being deprived of liberty, the right to freedom from forced work or labor, and the right to freedom from torture and property rights. For example, in the mid-1800s, workers in the factory systems of Britain and the U.S often referred to themselves as “wage slaves.” Since workers had no right to liberty at various factories as workers. One may ask what is wage slave? This is a term use to analog difference between slavery/working labor. That is similarities between owing or renting a worker. Therefore, wage slaves are people whose livelihood depend solely on wage or salaries. Now situation results in people been deprived from their human rights, which is the natural right every individual has to liberty, property, and life, but precisely liberty. In the 1800s, Industrial Revolution in Europe was a time where by there was a change in manufacturing of goods from smaller shops and homes to large factories. This shift brought change in culture, as people moved from rural areas to the city to work at factories. Again, there was tremendous change in transportation, and the production of energy. For example, the manufacturing of steel. Moreover, the Bessemer steel furnace was a great change which results in the production of steel for railways and other stuff. Although, the Industrial Revolution has a great impact, however, it had its short comings too. For instance, people worked for longer hours, there was no proper laws to govern workers, and conditions under which workers worked, were poor and child labor was also rampant. Aside these, through Enlightenment, which is the intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in the 18th century, people begun to argue against the inhumane act at various factories. In Adams Smith’s “Wealth of Nation,” discusses the growth of nation. He elaborates on how there should be division of labor at various factories. Adam explains division of labor as the breaking down of large number of works into smaller components where people learn to be expected on only one thing in production. This idea made a great impact and brought forth, “proletarians, which is process by which an apprentice shifts to learning to do only one thing in production. But all these whiles, there was most factories who practiced capitalism, that is an economic system based on private ownership as a means of production for profit. As a result, workers at factories couldn’t express themselves on how owners and overseers treated them at work.

 In the Sadler Report, discusses on how children testify to how they were treated inhumanely at factories like the textile and mill factories. Michael Sadler who compiled this report appealed to the then UK parliament to help abolish such acts in factories in the year 1832. Furthermore, the report explains how these children stood on their feet to work for 12- 14 hours on Saturday, with only 45 minutes to 1-hour break. This shows clearly that the human rights of individuals like those children were trampled upon such that, children had no liberty at work. This solely relates to wage slavery. Again, document on the Commission on Women Coal Miners also discloses the inhumane and bad treatment workers (women, boys, and girls) were going through in the mid-1800s. The document explains more on how workers work underground in pits, half naked, with belts around their waist, and chain in- between their legs pulling coal carts. With the leadership of Lord Anthony Ashley- Cooper, worked against such treatments. As a result of the enlightenment, British government banned child labor, and limited the number of hours people worked. Thus, people were able to work 8 hours daily, and use 8 hours to do their own chores, then rest for another 8 hours by the labor movement. Due to the changes that went on at industries by the British government towards industrialization, workers who had the opportunity to express socialism, which is the democracy at the work place and in politics. Aside people been classified as wage slaves, there was also Women’s wage, that is fathers and husbands taking wages earned by women. This situation brought Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a chief philosopher who lead women to fight against women’s wage and seek for suffrage. Suffrage here is the right for women to vote politically. All these happened in the mid-18th – 19th century. So, from the 1800s to the 1900s, terms at work changed gradually.

   Property rights are general creational rights. Each community controls, by blending formal legislation, common law and custom, which counts as an item of property, and how that item may be used. What is regulated is how the state arbitrates in the property relationship between two or more private persons and how the state may intervene in the exercise of private property rights. The result is called the ‘property rights regime’ in that society. (Needham, Property Rights Between and Social Values, vol. 78, 119- 122, 2007). A property right also typically brings on the right to contract with other parties by renting, pledging, or mortgaging a good or asset, or by giving other parties the opportunity to use it, for example, in an employment relationship.While the classical economists, from Smith to Marx, accorded a central position to the role of property rights (or, “relations of production”) in the process of economic development, it is only recently that mainstream economics has come around to this point of view.

Locke established that private property is essential, “every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself. The Labor of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his.” He continues: “The great and chief end therefore, of Men uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property.”

Locke believed people legitimately turned common property into private property by mixing their labor with it, improving it. Marxists liked to claim this meant Locke embraced the labor theory of value, but he was talking about the basis of ownership rather than value. He insisted that people, not rulers, are sovereign. Government, Locke wrote, “can never have a Power to take to themselves the whole or any part of the Subjects Property, without their own consent. For this would be in effect to leave them no Property at all.” He makes his point even more explicit: rulers “must not raise Taxes on the Property of the People, without the Consent of the People, given by themselves, or their Deputies.” This was a clear indication that all humans have the same rights of making and acquiring properties.

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         From the above information adduced, it is absolutely clear that, irrespective of your age, gender, race, status etc., you have the right to life, right to liberty, right to property as well as any other human rights and that it behooves on political leaders, frontrunners of organizations and institutions to eradicate all inhumane activities so the world will enjoy absolute peace and freedom. Irrespective of class and status, through enlightenment by John Locke and other scholars the world is at a pace of freedom. Therefore, no one should be allowed to let his or her right to be taken away from.


  • Stoiber, Carlton R. “THE RIGHT TO LIBERTY: A COMPARISON OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS WITH UNITED STATES PRACTICE.” Human Rights, vol. 5, no. 3, 1976, pp. 333–363. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/27879034.
  • Diamond, Marie Josephine. “OLYMPE DE GOUGES AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION: THE CONSTRUCTION OF GENDER AS CRITIQUE.” Dialectical Anthropology, vol. 15, no. 2/3, 1990, pp. 95–105. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/29790339.
  • Buitelaar, Edwin, and Barrie Needham. “Epilogue: Property Rights between Tools and Social Values.” The Town Planning Review, vol. 78, no. 1, 2007, pp. 119–122. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40112705.
  • Levy, Leonard W. Origins of the Bill of Rights. Yale University Press, 1999. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1nq0gx.
  • Smith, Rhona K. M. “13. The Right to Life.” International Human Rights Law, July 2017, doi:10.1093/he/9780198805212.003.0013.


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