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Human Rights Around The World Essay

1815 words - 7 pages

Human rights all around the world have been violated for centuries and longer. The concept of human rights has existed long before the holocaust, apartheid or even slavery. During the time of King John of England, the Magna Carta was signed. After the king violated a number of ancient laws and customs, he was forced to sign the Magna Carta which outlined what later came to be thought of as human rights. The 'natural philosophers' later furthered the idea with the concept of 'natural rights', which stated that all men had rights because they were human beings, not because of his citizenship in a particular country, or his membership in a particular religious or ethnic group.In the late 1700's, two revolutions took place which furthered the concept of human rights. The first was the American Revolution in 1776, when most of the British colonies in North America claimed their independence from the British Empire in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The second was the French Revolution in 1789 when the citizens of France overthrew the French Monarchy and established the French Republic, out of which came the 'Declaration of the Rights of Man.'The middle and late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a large number of human rights issues take place. They included slavery, serfdom, brutal working conditions, low wages, and child labour. For the last part of the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries, however, many specific civil rights and human rights movements managed to affect social changes during this time. Labour unions brought laws allowing workers to strike, established minimum working conditions, forbidding or regulating child labour, establishing a 40 hour work week, etc. The woman's rights movement succeeded in establishing the woman's right to vote. National Liberation movements in many countries succeeded in driving out colonial powers, the most famous being Mahatma Gandhi's movement to free India from British rule. Also, the U.S. Civil Rights movement succeeded in furthering racial and religious equality in the United States (http://www.hrweb.org/history.html). On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.In 1961, a group of lawyers, writers, journalists and others became outraged when two Portuguese students were sentenced to 20 years in prison for raising their glasses to a toast to 'freedom' in a bar. The group of professionals formed 'Appeal for Amnesty, 1961.' The appeal was announced in the London Observer on May 28th, and told of 6 people from different countries and of different political and religious backgrounds, who were jailed for merely expressing their beliefs. The Appeal for Amnesty called on all governments to release any such prisoners. The response to this appeal was much larger than expected, and so Amnesty International was formed, probably the most widely respected and recognized human rights group in the world. Amnesty...

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