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Are Some Human Rights More Fundamental Than Others Philosophy Essay

1607 words (6 pages) Essay in Philosophy

5/12/16 Philosophy Reference this

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In general, it’s a very complicated question , whether we should consider some human rights “more fundamental” than the other ones and to follow this argument.

Disagreements over this matter, whether certain human rights are “more fundamental” than another ones , have occurred over past decades between countries with different political ideologies. But, in any case, this argument shouldn’t be accepted as abuse towards the other ones. This comes from the fact, that these “more fundamental” rights are the basis of human rights in general, also the basic for other “less fundamental” rights.

However, each democratic republic should be based on the support of all kind of rights not making a distinction between them as “more” or “less” fundamental.

In the scope of each person concerning this matter I think that it is to be a private concept. And each person , most likely each human being has dignity and value [1] . And one of the ways that we are able to recognize this fundamental worth is to acknowledge and to respect a person’s human rights first of all.

Human rights are concerned with equality and fairness. It’s very necessary to recognize their freedom to make choices about their life and also develop their potential as human beings. They are about living a life free from fear, harassment or discrimination.

Meanwhile , there is a number of basic rights that people from all over the world have agreed on, such as the right to life [2] , freedom from torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment [3] , rights to a fair trial [4] , free speech and freedom of religion [5] , rights to health, education and an adequate standard of living.

These human rights , that are considered to be fundamental , are the same for all people everywhere – male and female, young and old, rich and poor, regardless of their background where they live, what they think or what they believe in.

So, this is the main reason that makes human rights “universal” and at the same time also fundamental.

Among all these fundamental rights , there are some that have a description whether something is lawful or not: for example, some rights may be laid down in law. Consequently if one has a legal right to something , so he may be able to defend it in the court.

Besides, in many situations rights exist but are not covered by law . In this case we deal with rights that are often called “moral rights” and are based on people’s sense of what is fair or just. In other words, we can say that these “moral rights” are also the part of fundamental human rights. For example, the freedom from torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment can mostly be covered as “moral right”.

As we know, Human rights are not a new invention. The discussion of this idea can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of Babylon, China and India.

However, a significant development of in Human rights took place in the 18th Century , during a time of revolution and emerging national identities. It was the American Declaration of Independence that was based on the understanding that certain rights, such as “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”, were fundamental to all people. At that time indeed we can say, that just these rights could be considered as “more fundamental”. But at the same, having a look at this concept in the context of other rights, it’s obvious that all the rights should be considered as “fundamental”.

I would like to mention, that by saying “fundamental rights” I mostly consider just these rights, too, in particular the right to life and liberty, because these are just the basis of other rights.

Besides, the growth of totalitarian regimes in the 20th Century and the atrocities of World War 2 made the protection of Human rights an international priority.

This was a significant opportunity to make an attempt in the sphere of developing a comprehensive statement of Human rights, which was finally made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (The UDHR). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was unanimously adopted by the members of the United Nations (among those also the Republic of Armenia since 1995), on the 10th of December in 1948.

Human rights, in general, cover every area of human life and activity. And that’s the reason why we call them fundamental. They include civil and political rights, such as freedom of speech and freedom from torture. They also include social and cultural rights, such as the rights to health and education. Certain rights apply to individuals are known as individual rights. Others apply to groups of people, such as women and children: these are consequently called collective rights.

This classification above is made in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Having a look at the UDHR, we can notice that the rights and freedoms are classified to three forms. They are :

Civil and Political rights [6] : they attempt to safeguard the individual, alone and in association with others.

Economic , cultural and social rights [7] : they require governments to help their citizens to participate fully in society , such as the right to work and education.

Solidarity rights [8] : they reflect the emergence of developing countries and their call for a global redistribution of power and wealth. These rights include the right to political , social and cultural self-determination and the right to economic and social development.

The classification to three forms of rights may itself cause a reasonable conflict in the matter, if which of the forms of rights is considered to be “more fundamental” than the other forms. In particular, it’s another question whether one of these forms of rights could take priority over the other ones.

The main thing is that forms of rights , and accordingly the rights included in them are equally important for all human beings. And we should not say, that one of them must take priority over the others.

The statistics shows that in recent decades there has been a tremendous growth in how we think about and apply human rights ideas. Thus, this has had a lot of positive results such as the knowledge about human rights, which can empower individuals and offer solutions for their specific problems.

Besides, all kind of human rights should be considered as fundamental, as they have an important role in the sphere , where people interact with others at all levels in society – in the family , schools, the workplace, etc…

Therefore it is vital that people should strive to realize what human rights as fundamental rights are, and what kind of role they have in their life. This surely will help them to promote justice and the well-being of society.

The main subject is that whether any rights are “more fundamental” than the others. The conclusions on this can’t be unanimous, since disagreements over this have occurred over passed decades between countries with different political ideologies. These disagreements refer not to particular rights, but to the forms of rights (i.e. the classification of the rights), which is the same.

However, over the last decade there finally has been a broad agreement between members of the United Nations, that human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. In other words, all rights are equally fundamental and important, necessary in creating a strong and healthy society.

So, I’m finally coming to the conclusion, that all rights are equally fundamental. We should not make a distinction between them, classifying them to “more” or “less” fundamental.

All democratic republics, among which is also the Republic of Armenia, have asserted in their Constitutions , that “a person , his dignity , fundamental rights and freedoms are higher values” [9] .

This also is fixed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In particular, it says, that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” [10] . We should take into consideration, that the Declaration neither segregates any rights nor stresses the priority of other ones. This means nothing, but only that all rights are equally important and fundamental.

This idea is persisted in our Constitution due to Republic, as he is the one, who is responsible for our rights and does his best to protect them. This is one of the main functions of our Republic – the protection of our rights!

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