human rights

  

Definition

The fundamental rights that humans have by the fact of being human, and that are neither created nor can be abrogated by any government.

Supported by several international conventions and treaties (such as the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human rights in 1948), these include cultural, economic, and political rights, such as right to life, liberty, education and equality before law, and right of association, belief, free speech, information, religion, movement, and nationality. Promulgation of these rights is not binding on any country, but they serve as a standard of concern for people and form the basis of many modern national constitutions. Although they were defined first by the Scottish philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) as absolute moral claims or entitlements to life, liberty, and property, the best-known expression of human rights is in the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776 which proclaims that "All men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity." Called also fundamental rights. See also civil rights and natural rights.

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