human rights

GC: pln

S: UN – (last access: 4 September 2014); UN – (last access: 4 September 2014).

N: 1. – human (adj): mid-15c., humain, humaigne, “human,” from Old French humain, umain (adj.) “of or belonging to man” (12c.), from Latin humanus “of man, human,” also “humane, philanthropic, kind, gentle, polite; learned, refined, civilized.” This is in part from PIE *(dh)ghomon-, literally “earthling, earthly being,” as opposed to the gods (from root *dhghem- “earth”), but there is no settled explanation of the sound changes involved. Compare Hebrew adam “man,” from adamah “ground.” Cognate with Old Lithuanian žmuo (accusative žmuni) “man, male person.”
Human interest is from 1824. Human rights attested by 1680s; human being by 1690s. Human relations is from 1916; human resources attested by 1907, American English, apparently originally among social Christians and based on natural resources. Human comedy “sum of human activities” translates French comédie humaine (Balzac).
– rights (pln): Old English riht (West Saxon, Kentish), reht (Anglian), “that which is morally right, duty, obligation,” also “rule of conduct; law of a land;” also “what someone deserves; a just claim, what is due; correctness, truth; a legal entitlement, a privilege,” from the root of right (adj.1). Meaning “the right” (as opposed to the left) is from mid-13c.; political use from 1825. From early 14c. as “a right action, a good deed.” Meaning “a blow with the right fist” is from 1898. The phrase to rights “at once, straightway” is 1660s, from sense “in a proper manner” (Middle English).

2. What are human rights?
Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.
Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law , general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.
Universal and inalienable
The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This principle, as first emphasized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems.

3. Cultural Interrelation:
– Reality:

  • We can mention some key dates in the history of human rights in the United Kingdom, ranging from The Assize of Clarendon, passed by Henry II in 1166, to the Human Rights Act (HRA) enacted by a youthful Labour Government in 1998.

– Fiction:

  • Within the realm of Human and Civil Rights we can sight two key American novels: Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) and To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) written by Nelle Harper.

S: 1. OED –; (last access: 4 September 2014). 2. OHCHR – (last access: 24 June 2015). 3. Liberty – (last access: 24 June 2015); HRF – (last access. 24 June 2015); BIOG – (last access: 24 June 2015).


CR: amnesty, attorney, child marriage, crime against humanity, ecofeminism, enforced disappearance, human development, human trafficking, humanitarian case, inalienable, intergovernmental organisation, international protection, illegal confinement, right to education, right to health, social security, violation of human rights, statelessness, stateless person.