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Civil And Political Rights Essay

1667 words - 7 pages

Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the discourse of international human rights and its importance has increasingly become indoctrinated in the international community. In the context of political and economic development, there have been debates on how and which rights should be ordered and protected throughout different cultures and communities. Though there is a general acceptance of international human rights around the globe, there is an approach that divides them into civil and political rights and social and economic rights, which puts emphasis where it need not be.
Civil and Political rights are catalogued as those that protect individual freedoms from infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensures one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repressions . Economic, Social and Cultural rights are those that allow people to meet basic human survival and socioeconomic necessities such as; rights at work, right to education, right to housing, right to adequate standard of living, right to health and right to food, and cultural rights of minorities and indigenous people. The desire to dichotomize these two subcomponents of rights is flawed and potentially creates an idea that one dominates the other in global importance of human rights, which is problematic when considering human dignity.
The UDHR was adopted in 1948, however in 1966 the division of these rights materialized under two documents; the International Covenant on Economic and Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The foundation of the separation of civil/political and economic and social rights can be seen in historical contexts where tensions between the East and the West grew, specifically starting in the 19th century.
The rise of the West and the development of market economies put emphasis on civil and political rights. “A new universal discourse of rights took hold, committed to reason and individual free choice, to scientific planning and the rules of law, to contractual agreement and economic interdependence. The emerging commercial nation-state was then entrusted to diffuse these ideals worldwide in the spirit of peace and cooperation.” When discussing the history of human rights, Ishay asserts that the origins of these human rights, regardless of anything, can be traced back to European Origin and the emerging modern world. This idea neglects to see potentially influential cross-cultural interactions that shaped the discourse in how non-western traditions and ideas may have affected Western conceptions of human nature.
Other theorists, such as John Lock, believed that the moral and legal protection of “inalienable rights” of individuals such as life, Liberty and Property belonged in the hands of the government. “Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another's harm; and...

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