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Issues in Political Theory

Issues in Political Theory (4th edn)

Catriona McKinnon, Robert Jubb, and Patrick Tomlin
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date: 28 February 2024

p. 22011. Human Rightslocked

p. 22011. Human Rightslocked

  • Tom Campbell

Abstract

This chapter focuses on human rights. Human rights are derived historically from the idea of natural law as it developed on a strong religious basis in late medieval Europe and, later, in a more secularized form during the more rationalist period of the Enlightenment. Meanwhile, the contemporary human rights movement stems from the aftermath of World War II. It is associated, domestically, with constitutional bills of rights and, internationally, with the work of the United Nations. Human rights may be defined as universal rights of great moral and political significance that belong to all human beings by virtue of their humanity. They are said to be overriding and absolute. Human rights may be divided into three overlapping groups: civil and political rights; economic, social, and cultural rights; and group or collective rights for development and self-determination.

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