Human rights

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As human rights are morally justified, individual Freedom - and autonomy rights referred that every man solely because of his humanity equally entitled. They are universal (apply everywhere to all people), inalienable (cannot be assigned) and indivisible (can only be realized in their entirety). They include civil , political , economic, social and cultural legal claims. Human rights are often derived from natural rights and inviolable human dignity .

Almost all countries in the world have ratified international human rights treaties or explicitly mentioned human rights in their constitutions and thus committed themselves to shaping these as enforceable rights in their respective national law. At the international level, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 , which has a universal and global claim, but is not legally binding. In 1966 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, “UN Civil Pact”) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, “UN Social Pact”), both of which are legally binding . Human rights agreements have also been passed at the intergovernmental level, which differ in their binding forces and human rights concepts: the European Convention on Human Rights of 1953, the American Convention on Human Rights of 1969, the African Charter of Human Rights and the Rights of the Peoples of 1981, the Arab Charter of Human Rights of 1994 and the Asian human rights declaration of 2012. There are also other regional treaties and agreements that advocate the observance of human rights. Supranational courts, such as the European or Inter-American Court of Human Rights, sanction human rights violations by their member states. In addition, international criminal tribunals such as the International Criminal Court punish particularly serious crimes against humanity , genocide , war crimes and wars of aggression .

Nevertheless, serious and sometimes systematic human rights violations still occur in many countries. These are documented and denounced by a large number of institutions. At United Nations level , this is the responsibility of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who publishes an annual Human Rights Report. In addition, a large number of private human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also monitor the implementation of and respect for human rights.

The notion of human rights is not a purely “ Western ” or modern phenomenon, but can be demonstrated in all epochs and regions of the world and often represents a core of religious and cultural values , even though its interpretation has been historically different. The first examples of such securitized rights can be found as early as 2100 BC. Chr. With the Code of Ur-Nammu in Mesopotamia , the u. a. provided a right to life , or 538 BC Chr. With the Cyrus Cylinder from Persia . The most famous nation-state human rights documents since the Age of Enlightenment are the French Declaration of Human and Civil Rights and the US Bill of Rights .

In contrast to human rights to which everyone is entitled worldwide, “ fundamental rights ” are limited to the sovereignty of the state that expressly guarantees these rights in the constitution. “ Citizens' rights ”, in turn, is the name given to that part of the basic rights that are reserved only for the citizens of the country concerned.

The Cyrus cylinder from Persia (538 BC), which is generally considered to be the "first human rights charter"
The English Bill of Rights (1689) overcame the prevailing idea of divine grace and replaced it with the principle of parliamentary sovereignty . This paved the way for the political implementation of human rights.

Essence of human rights


Universality in human rights stands for universality . This means that human rights apply everywhere and for all people at all times. As a natural law, they stand above any positive law and are therefore independent of and inviolable in their essence by state legislation .

In order for this first subjective meaning to be practically realizable, the second intersubjective meaning must be fulfilled: the recognition of human rights and their practical application for every human being. Accordingly, everyone is obliged to respect the human rights of their fellow human beings. That is why viable and legal instruments are needed to guarantee universal recognition of human rights. One can only speak of a human rights guarantee if the claims are actually accepted and enforceable as legal norms. Therefore, all states that have acceded to the UN have been obliged to fully enforce human rights in their national legal systems .

Above all, however, universality is not always guaranteed in practice, since the design and protection of specific human rights depend on the political opinion and the associated legal enforcement within states and institutions. Limitations as to who is viewed as a person ( legal subject ), against whom these rights can be asserted (legal addressee), how the content of human rights is determined and who enforces them (sanctioning authority) are therefore determined by varying historical, cultural or political factors Factors. Cultural relativism opposes the universal claim that human rights are universally valid .


Human rights are egalitarian, so apply equally to everyone; regardless of origin, gender, nationality, age, skin color, etc. This principle of equality is summarized in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with:

"All people are born free and equal in dignity and rights."

According to this, everyone has equal rights before the law and must not be discriminated against .

The discussion about equality between men and women also revolves around this important basic norm. However, this often confuses social or societal equality with the prohibition of differentiation of human rights. However, equality in all areas of life, including private ones, is not part of the regulation. Equal opportunities, in turn, is an actual legal reflex of the regulation, as far as it extends.


Human rights cannot be withdrawn from anyone, nor can they be given up or assigned willingly. This also applies if an attempt is made to justify a restriction of human rights with an “even higher good” (of whatever kind); for example in the sense of the " common good " or simply because a majority of the population has decided this. They are thus in contradiction to collectivism . Since human rights are individual ( highly personal ) rights, they cannot be subordinated to any collective and thus evade state sovereignty . Therefore, the use of torture would remain illegal even if it was based on a law that was formally lawful or even on a referendum .

This concept is implemented in Germany with the eternity clause in the Basic Law . With this, a concrete lesson was drawn from the time of National Socialism , in which individual human rights violations were justified by the fact that they served a “higher purpose” in the sense of the “ national community ” and were democratically legitimized. This collectivist view was also expressed with the formulaYou are nothing, your people are everything! " summarized. Such semantics can also be found in most other totalitarian dictatorships .


In addition to the principle of the universality of human rights, the claim that they are indivisible is also raised. Human rights must therefore always be realized in their entirety . An implementation of freedom rights is not possible if the right to food is not realized at the same time . Conversely, the violation of economic or cultural rights, such as forced displacement, the prohibition of languages ​​or the deprivation of livelihoods, is usually accompanied by the violation of civil and political rights.

Normative content

Legal sources

The internationally authoritative source for the existence and content of human rights is the International Bill of Human Rights of the United Nations . In addition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948, which is only a declaration adopted by the UN General Assembly and not directly binding on the member states, the central human rights instruments within this corpus are:

  1. the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well
  2. the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights .

Both pacts were passed by the UN General Assembly in 1966 and came into force ten years later after being ratified by the required number of member states. They are binding law for all member states that have ratified them ( see also the “United Nations” section below ).

In addition, there is a large number of conventions that regulate the protection of individual human rights in detail, such as

  1. the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide
  2. the Geneva Refugee Convention
  3. the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  4. the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
  5. the UN Convention against Torture
  6. the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  7. the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
  8. the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  9. the optional protocol on the right of individual complaints to the UN civil pact
  10. the Optional Protocol on the Abolition of the Death Penalty to the UN Civil Pact
  11. the optional protocol on the right of individual complaints to the UN social pact

In addition, there are regional human rights agreements on the various continents . In Europe this is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) or the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It contains a catalog of basic and human rights. The convention was negotiated within the framework of the Council of Europe , signed in Rome on November 4, 1950 and entered into force on July 3, 1953. Africa ( Banjul Charter ) and the American double continent ( Inter-American Convention on Human Rights ) each have their own regional human rights treaties.

Civil and Political Rights

Personal rights (basic rights)

Liberty rights

Judicial human rights

Economic, cultural and social rights

The legal norms laid down in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also include: a .:

The economic, social and cultural rights from the UN social pact are also called “social human rights” for short. While civil and political rights are included in numerous constitutions today and their violation is legally enforceable, social human rights are not legally standardized in all member states.

Against the existence of economic, cultural and social rights, it is sometimes argued that here the traditional right of defense ( status negativus ) turns into a status positivus (entitlement to the granting of positive social benefits).

The characterization of civil and political rights as pure defensive rights is just as wrong as that of economic, social and cultural rights as pure guarantee rights. For example, guaranteeing internal and external security and an independently functioning judiciary is a positive state achievement. However, this is largely seen as the actual state purpose and thus justified. The same applies to the implementation of general and free elections.

At the same time, social human rights often appear as defensive rights . This includes the omission of forced displacement in the course of an internal conflict as well as the respect of the right of an indigenous people to maintain their language, their legal system or their institutions.

For this reason, the so-called Limburg Principles , which were drawn up in 1986 by a group of human rights experts from the United Nations, provide for three types of obligations for every human right that the state must comply with:

  1. Duty to respect: the state is obliged to refrain from violating rights;
  2. Duty to protect: The state has to protect the rights against attacks by third parties;
  3. Warranty obligation: The state has to ensure the full realization of human rights where this is not yet the case.

Understanding human rights as pure defensive rights only covers the first of these three duties. However, within the human rights system of the United Nations, the more comprehensive understanding of human rights that emerges from the Limburg Principles can now be regarded as recognized.

In general, it should be noted that the European tradition often sees civil and political rights as the only “real” rights, whereas in countries where hunger, displacement or access to water are burning problems, economic, social and cultural rights receive more attention. The European Convention on Human Rights , for example, completely ignores this area, while it plays a central role in the Organization for African Unity's human rights charter. "This addresses the basic problem of whether individual freedoms can only be effectively used on the basis of a collective minimum standard."


The roots of human rights in ancient times

There were early attempts in ancient Europe to give states a basis similar to human rights. 624 BC In ancient Athens, arbitrary jurisdiction was restricted, although the law was never understood universally, but was always limited to a minority: that of free men. In this way, the law differed fundamentally from modern notions of human rights, which are in principle entitled to universality. Since the 6th century, the citizens alone have been given political participation, initially graded according to property. In the developed democracy , almost all offices were finally awarded by lottery among the entitled free men. As a result, the group of authorized persons was treated equally when assigning posts and distributing work.

However, ancient Persia is considered the country of origin of human rights. 539 BC The armies of Cyrus the Great , the first king of ancient Persia, conquered the city of Babylon . He freed the slaves and declared that all people have the right to choose their own religion. He also highlighted the equality of people from all parts of the known world. These and other decrees were recorded on a burned clay cylinder - the Kyros cylinder - which is officially recognized as the first human rights declaration by the United Nations. They have been translated into all six official languages ​​of the United Nations and their provisions correspond to the first four articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In antiquity, all residents without civil rights (e.g. slaves, women and children) were excluded from rights, i.e. the majority of the population. In his work Politics (Book I, Chap. 5, 1254b) Aristotle advocates the thesis that some people are by nature slaves and subject. One can speak of an attempt to enforce equal rights for everyone only since the days of the European Enlightenment in the 18th century. Also in ancient Rome , based on the philosophy of the Stoa , there are initial ideas regarding a right that is equally entitled to all people.

Judeo-Christian roots

In addition, the ancient biblical conception of the image of God in man of both sexes (Genesis = 1. Book of Moses , Gen. 1.27  EU ) forms a further prerequisite for the later popular reception of the philosophy “human right” in the West . But biblical rights were not universal either. There were special regulations for the expulsion and extermination of peoples of other faiths (Exodus = 2nd Book of Moses , Ex 23.23-32  EU ) and for slaves ( Leviticus = 3rd Book of Moses, Lev 25.44  EU ). But at least the Old Testament already knew the obligation not to oppress foreigners ( Ex 22.20  EU , Ex 23.9  EU ), but to love ( Lev 19.34  EU , Dtn 10.19  EU ), to give slaves in front of their masters Protect ( Ex 21.20-32  EU ) and release so-called (Hebrew) slaves after six years ( Ex 21.2  EU ).

The New Testament continues these traditions when Paul vigorously defends the runaway Onesimus from his Lord ( Phlm 1,1ff.  LUT ) and even writes to the Galatians that there are neither slaves nor free in Christ ( Gal 3.28  LUT ). In addition, Judaism in its Christian form experiences a worldwide opening through Jesus' mission command ( Mt 28,16-20  LUT ), but at the latest through Paul's missionary activity ( Gal 2,1-10  LUT ).

One of the first written demands for human rights in Europe are the Twelve Articles of 1525 of the insurgent peasants. In contrast to the Magna Carta of 1215, which was primarily about the rights of the nobles vis-à-vis the king, the articles demand rights especially for the poor.

The Dominican Bartholomé de Las Casas used the term human rights in 1552 in a letter to the "India Council" dealing with the slave issue in defense of the Peruvian natives . He speaks of the "principles of human rights" ("las reglas de los derechos humanos").

Human rights in the Enlightenment

The idea of ​​human rights and their state implementation was particularly shaped during the Enlightenment by the philosophers Thomas Hobbes , John Locke , Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant .

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) should be mentioned, although he is actually not a philosopher of the Enlightenment. There are no direct human rights formulations with him, rather there is not even a rudiment of equal, inalienable rights for everyone. Nevertheless, due to his state philosophy, he is a pioneer of human rights. According to her, every human being in a natural state has the right to self-preservation . But due to the uncertainty and the dangers of the state of nature, man renounces this and his associated natural rights and surrenders them to the state . In this way he gives the state unlimited power and subordinates human rights to the state. Despite the weak position of the human right in Thomas Hobbes, the fact that there can be such a right has influenced many philosophers. Hobbes' ideas inspired the English parliament in 1679 to ask King Charles II to issue the Habeas Corpus Act . It contained protection against arbitrary arrest and the right to be brought before a judge . 1689 brought the Bill of Rights u. a. the right to petition and the prohibition of arrests without a judicial order.

Samuel Pufendorf is the first enlightener who expressly regards the “dignatio”, human dignity , as part of the natural state in which people are equal and free: “Man is of the highest dignity because he has a soul that is distinguished by the light of the mind, by the ability to judge things and to decide freely, and who is familiar with many arts. "

Thus, John Locke (1632-1704), the basic idea taken up by Hobbes. But he interprets it differently, since he gives the state of nature a higher, more positive value and the bond with the state a less strong value. According to Locke, the state has the function of safeguarding and preserving human rights. If he does not comply, he loses his legitimacy. Locke does not give the state unlimited power, but calls for the division of powers into legislative (legislative power) and executive (executive power), later the judiciary (jurisdiction) was added by Charles de Montesquieu (1689–1755). With Locke the natural rights of the individual take precedence over the state and the individual can assert them against the state. The ideas of John Locke had a decisive influence on the American Declaration of Independence formulated by Thomas Jefferson , in which "inalienable rights such as those to life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness" were recorded. The Virginia Bill of Rights also proclaimed that all human beings are naturally equal and free , and that their lives and property are inviolable.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) is the first enlightener to speak directly of human rights, even if he has a very specific view of them. For Rousseau, freedom is the basis for being human. Since all human beings are naturally free and equal, they should remain so in the state. Rousseau differentiates between natural, civil and moral freedom. In the state of nature, endowed with unlimited natural freedom, man is not really free because he is dominated by his drives and his egoism. He is really free only when he, as a moral being, freely decides to keep to self-given laws . So he consciously renounces natural freedom in favor of moral freedom. The transition from natural to moral freedom is, so to speak, the perfecting of freedom in the state. The citizens , endowed with moral freedom, are the basis of legislation, because since they are morally free, they adhere to the self-given laws. Rousseau's human rights are not enforceable against the state. The human right to freedom is the basis of the state, without which the state would be inconceivable. Rousseau's views played a major role in the French Revolution . On 11 July 1789 the put Marquis de La Fayette , a short time later commander of the National Guard, the Draft Declaration of Human Rights before which he, with the support of Thomas Jefferson , one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence of the United States and then ambassador in Paris , had worked . In the same year the Bill of Rights was passed in the United States . These represented the first enforceable and thus enforceable basic rights order. They are still in force today.

Another important co-founder of the Enlightenment and the idea of ​​the rule of law is Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). For him, freedom is the only human right from which all other human rights, such as equality and independence , are derived. The law cannot be derived from human nature, so it is a right of reason that must apply regardless of historical, cultural, social and religious circumstances. According to Kant, the legitimation and primary task of the constitutional state is to secure and maintain the rights of freedom. In this way, the state cannot question human rights, as this would affect its own legitimacy . Human rights become the legitimation of the state. In strange contrast to this stands Kant's strict rejection of the right to resist against state laws that violate human rights.

Looking at the ideas of these philosophers, a development can be seen from the recognition of natural rights in Hobbes, which are however subordinate to the state, to the supremacy of human rights over the state in Locke, to the recognition of human rights as the basis and legitimation of the state in Rousseau and recognize Kant.

Philosophical justification structures of human rights after the Enlightenment

Even after the Enlightenment, various philosophers occupied themselves with justifying the universal validity of human rights. This includes in particular the ethics of discourse that was developed by Jürgen Habermas and Karl-Otto Apel . Also Heiner Bielefeldt , who is the United Nations, among others, Special Rapporteur on religious and ideological freedom, published on the subject and compared justification structures for the validity of human rights. The Irish philosopher Mette Lebech justified in her work On the problem of Human Dignity (2011) on human rights and human dignity that human dignity is an axiom in the sense of Aristotle , from which all other values can only be derived.


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Classification according to "generations"

In the 20th century , the division of human rights into three "generations" became common.

Although this classification is relatively common, it is controversial because the sequence drawn implies an unspoken valuation and hierarchy. According to this, the rights of the “first generation” could be seen as the “real” human rights, while the human rights character of the second and third generation is questioned. In addition, the term “generations” suggests a chronological sequence that does not correspond to the historical development.

First generation

Civil and political rights are included in the “first generation” category of human rights; H. the liberal rights of defense and democratic rights of participation. Shaped by the classic concept of human rights from the times of the Enlightenment, the western world saw them alone as rights that should be legally enforceable by the individual on the basis of his mere existence against the state. This limited perspective is partly reflected in the constitutions of Western states, in the liberal-constitutional theory of fundamental rights or in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

This includes:

  • human dignity
  • Validity of rights for all people in all countries and areas, regardless of their international position
  • Right to life, freedom and security
  • Prohibition of slavery or serfdom
  • Prohibition of torture or cruel, inhuman treatment
  • Right to recognition as a legal person
  • Equality before the law
  • Right to legal protection
  • No arbitrary arrest or deportation
  • Right to public trial before independent legal process
  • Rule of law guarantees: presumption of innocence, no punishment without law
  • Protection of privacy
  • Right to freedom of movement (national and supranational)
  • Right of asylum
  • Right to citizenship
  • Right to marry, protection of the family
  • Right to property
  • Religious freedom
  • Right of free speech
  • Freedom of assembly and association

Second generation

The “second generation” are the economic, social and cultural performance rights in the sense of entitlement and participation rights. They are guaranteed by the state in the form of positive benefits (e.g. work, social security, food, housing, education, health).

This includes:

  • Right to participate in shaping public order
  • Right to social security
  • Right to adequate nutrition
  • Right to paid work, equal pay for work of equal value
  • Entitlement to rest, leisure and paid leave
  • Right to an adequate standard of living, to security in the event of unemployment, illness, disability, widowhood and old age, protection for mothers and children
  • Right to education and training
  • Right to participate in cultural life, freedom of science and education

Third generation

The third generation forms the collective rights of the peoples - a demand of the countries of the global south whose origin can be traced back to Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"Everyone has the right to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms proclaimed in this declaration can be fully realized."

- Art. 28, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Instead of only monitoring the observance of human rights, western states should rather guarantee collective solidarity rights towards the global south in order to help effectively in guaranteeing human rights. The most elementary collective rights are the peoples' right to self-determination and the associated right to development, the right to peace, a clean environment, to communication and to a fair share of the treasures of nature and culture. In the dispute over the recognition of the right to development and other collective rights, it must be taken into account that the effect of national politics in principle hardly stops at a border.

On July 28, 2010, the United Nations declared the right to clean water to be a human right in a resolution that is not binding under international law .

Legal bases and control bodies at different levels

In Germany

Article 1 paragraph 2 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (GG) reads:

"The German people are therefore committed to inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every human community, of peace and justice in the world."

Article 1 GG , including the binding of state violence to respect for human dignity (paragraph 1) and the legally binding nature of fundamental rights (paragraph 3), is subject to the special protection of the so-called eternity clause in Article 79 paragraph 3 GG.

The Federal Republic of Germany has acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has the status of a law and is contained in BGB l. 1973 II p. 1534 is published.

The Federal Republic of Germany also signed the UN Declaration of Human Rights , which proclaimed the right to social security, work and housing. According to Article 25, sentence 1 of the Basic Law, however, only the general rules of international law are automatically part of federal law, which is why this agreement has no domestic effect without ratification . Nonetheless, such rights have been incorporated into some of the Federal Republic's state constitutions, into the state constitutions of Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bremen, although this has largely been forgotten.

The German human rights protection system consists of a number of competent institutions and offices, all of which are committed to upholding fundamental and human rights in Germany:

In the European Union

The European Union is a community of values based on fundamental and human rights . According to Art. 2 of the Treaty on European Union , these values ​​are the respect for human dignity, freedom , democracy , equality , the rule of law and the respect for human rights including the rights of persons belonging to minorities . In addition, the EU undertakes in Art. 3 to promote these values by ensuring that they are adhered to within the EU and by promoting their implementation and further development externally.

On the basis of these values, the European Community has built up and expanded rights and institutions from the outset , the complex and multi-layered interlocking of which realizes the European system of fundamental and human rights protection. They were ultimately summarized in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union , which is a binding part of the EU Treaty. It is not to be confused with the European Convention on Human Rights of the Council of Europe .

The idea of ​​the European community of values, to which everyone can profess, can be traced back to the historical and philosophical roots of Europe, the French Revolution , the Enlightenment, secularization and humanism . Building on this and painfully complemented by the war experience at the beginning of the 20th century, the European founding fathers were concerned with creating a more peaceful and just Europe. In retrospect, Europe has been a guarantor of democracy , security , peace and prosperity for more than six decades . This perception of the EU, which has become a matter of course for today's generation, runs the risk of diminishing those achievements of the European community of values in the current times marked by crises and upheavals.

Responsible for the protection of human rights within the EU are:

At the United Nations

The founding members of the United Nations did not want to succeed in formulating a comprehensive catalog of human rights. In the Charter of the United Nations, approaches to international human rights protection can only be found at certain points. The preamble states that the peoples of the United Nations reaffirm their "belief in the fundamental rights of man, in the dignity and worth of the human personality, in the equality of men and women and in all nations, large and small," and "den Promote social progress and a better standard of living in greater freedom ”. Furthermore, Art. 1 promises in the goals of the UN that the United Nations will “promote and consolidate respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all regardless of race, sex, language or religion”.

Article 55 states:

“In order to bring about the state of stability and prosperity necessary for peaceful and amicable relations to exist between nations, based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations promotes

  1. the improvement of living standards, full employment and the conditions for economic and social progress and advancement;
  2. the solution of international problems of an economic, social, health and related nature as well as international cooperation in the fields of culture and education
  3. the general respect and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all regardless of race, sex, language or religion. "

Article 56 states:

"All Member States undertake to work together and individually with the Organization to achieve the objectives set out in Article 55."

Art. 13 para. 1 no. B) specifies the way to implement, develop and cooperate on the subject of human rights as follows:

"The General Assembly initiates investigations and makes recommendations [...] in order to promote international cooperation in the fields of economy, social affairs, culture, education and health and to implement human rights and fundamental freedoms for all regardless of race, of gender, language or religion. "

Art. 62 para. 2 authorizes the Economic and Social Council to “issue recommendations in order to promote the respect and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.” Article 68 instructs the Council to set up a commission “for the promotion of Human rights ”. This was founded in June 2006 under a different name.

At the time of the founding of the United Nations and thus also at the time of the creation of the Charter of the United Nations, there were no clear ideas about the concept of human rights. Rather, the above regulations served to prepare a basis for the development and enforcement of human rights. From a legal point of view, this corresponds more to a political declaration of intent than a legally binding mandate. After 1945 various human rights declarations were published and many minimum standards of various kinds for human rights were developed. Since the international community very regularly expresses its loyalty to human rights declarations, there are voices who see customary international law in the existing minimum human rights standards and thus it would be binding for all peoples.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

One of the first international declarations on human rights standards was expressed through a resolution by the General Assembly of the United Nations; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was adopted on December 10, 1948 with 48 votes in favor, no votes against and 8 abstentions.

The AEMR ( Universal Declaration of Human Rights ) comprises a total of 30 articles. Articles 1 and 2 deal with organizational issues. This is followed by a catalog of freedoms (Articles 3–20) and political rights of activity (Article 21) and equal rights in the economic, social and cultural areas (Articles 22–28). A guarantee of ownership can be found in Article 17, which, however, is part of the civil liberties. Art. 29 lists permissible restrictions on the aforementioned rights. What is important in this context is Art. 30, which makes it unequivocally clear that the aforementioned possibilities for restrictions cannot and must not lead to the complete abolition or de facto annulment of the rights of Art. 3–28.

The very extensive list of rights led to two important UN covenants in 1966: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Civil Covenant) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Social Pact).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights together form the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the International Charter of Human Rights , which can be considered the basis for all universal human rights norms.

Extracts from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations (General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of December 10, 1948 ):
  • Article 1: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should meet one another in a spirit of brotherhood. "
  • 3: "Everyone has the right to life, freedom and personal security."
  • 5: "Nobody shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
  • 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes the freedom to change one's religion or belief, as well as the freedom to profess one's religion or belief alone or in community with others, publicly or privately through teaching, practice, worship and cult activities. "
  • 20, paragraph 1: "All people have the right to assemble peacefully and to form associations."
  • 22: "Everyone has the right to social security as a member of society."
  • 23: "Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of profession, to just and satisfactory working conditions and to protection from unemployment."
  • 24: "Everyone has the right to rest and leisure and, in particular, to reasonable limitation of working hours and regular paid vacation."
  • 25: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living that guarantees his and his family's health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social benefits, as well as the right to security in the event of unemployment, illness, invalidity or widowhood , in old age as well as in any other loss of his means of subsistence due to circumstances beyond his control. "
  • 30: “Nothing in this declaration may be interpreted as conferring any right for any state, group or person to engage in any activity or to commit an act which aims to eliminate the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration . "

International pacts

Not all human rights were recognized as such at the same time. For this reason, a distinction is made between three generations of human rights. With the rights of the first generation the liberal rights of defense of the citizen against the state, the classic civil and political liberties were meant, as they had been demanded since the French Revolution. The rights of the second generation mark the economic, social and cultural rights created by the industrial revolution. Third generation rights refer to collective rights such as B. the right to development, peace, protection of the environment, participation, communication, self-determination. The concept of third generation rights and the rights themselves are controversial in the literature, but were taken up by the United Nations from 1969 onwards.

The International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (UN Civil Pact) and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN Social Pact) are multilateral agreements under international law that came into force in 1976. The UN civil pact was ratified by 168 states (as of 2014), the UN social pact by 164 states (as of 2016). Many of the rights and freedoms in the International Covenants were taken from the UDHR, such as equality between men and women, the right to life, the right to personal freedom and security, freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Many of the rights and freedoms in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights already existed in the UDHR.

Rights and freedoms in the UN civil pact

Many of the rights and freedoms in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights already existed in the UDHR.

  • "Equality between men and women in the exercise of all [...] rights established in this pact" (Art. 3)
  • The "innate right to life" (Art. 6)
  • The prohibition of torture (Art. 7)
  • The prohibition of slavery (Art. 8)
  • The "right to personal freedom and security" (Art. 9, Paragraph 1)
  • The requirement to “inform everyone of the reasons for their arrest when they are arrested”, to bring them before a judge and to enable them to be heard before a court (Art. 9, Paragraphs 2, 3, 4)
  • The right to "move freely" (Art. 12)
  • The right to be “equal in court”. (Art. 14)
  • The guarantee of a large number of minimum criminal law standards (Art. 14, 15)
  • "The right of man and woman to marry and to found a family at marriageable age" (Art. 16)
  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Art. 18)
  • The right to "assemble peacefully" (Art. 21)
  • The right "to associate freely with others" (Art. 22)
  • The guarantee of a large number of rights specifically for children (Art. 24)
  • The right to be able to vote in elections or to be elected yourself (Art. 25 b))
Rights in the UN social pact
Rights of states to restrict guaranteed rights and freedoms

Almost without exception, the rights and freedoms set out in the UN Civil Pact must not be subject to any restrictions.

Art. 4 of the UN Civil Covenant contains an exception to restrict which states can use in certain cases. An example of the possibility of restricting rights is the state of public emergency. However, there are also limits to the scope of use of Art. 4 via Art. 4, Paragraph 2 of the UN Civil Covenant, because the right to life, the prohibition of torture, the prohibition of slavery and the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion are excluded from this regulation as well as several legal liberties and guarantees. Furthermore, as soon as a state wishes to restrict the rights guaranteed under Art. 4, it must inform the Secretary General of the United Nations .

Art. 4 of the UN Social Pact provides that restrictions on the rights and obligations stipulated in the contract must be legally compatible with the nature of the rights and may only take place in the interests of the general good of a democratic society.

Enforceability of guaranteed rights and freedoms

The practical enforceability of the rights from international treaties is usually quite difficult. The International Court of Justice can rule over states and thus also issue judgments. However, only if the state concerned has consented to this.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is neither legally binding on the states, nor is there any power over the states that could enforce the observance of human rights, nevertheless it has great political and moral weight. Its provisions have been incorporated into many national constitutions. Many conventions and treaties that have been in place since 1948 are based on the definitions contained in the declaration.

The two international pacts on civil and political rights, as well as on economic, social and cultural rights and the specialized conventions have the status of international agreements and are therefore binding legal acts. The compliance monitoring is done in the competent bodies of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner OHCHR in Geneva, to the eight UN treaty bodies ( bodies Treaty , committees) belong. The UN Human Rights Council can decide to send observers to monitor the human rights situation in a member state.

It can be seen that the creators of the pacts considered various enforcement mechanisms in the texts. Various articles provide specific obligations for the parties to the pact. According to Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the UN Civil Covenant, states are obliged to recognize and guarantee civil and political rights. According to Article 2, Paragraph 2, the states must “take the necessary steps to take the legislative or other precautions necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in this Covenant, insofar as such precautions have not already been taken. “The states are also obliged under Article 2, Paragraph 3a of the UN Civil Covenant to create effective means of complaint in the event that the pact is violated. It follows from these provisions that the authors of the pact did not want to allow the rights enshrined in it to rest on the level of declarations of intent or hope. According to Art. 2 of the UN social pact, the contracting states are obliged to take measures that enable economic, social and cultural rights to be realized. The UN social pact does not provide for an obligation to make effective complaints.

By signing the respective agreements, the states undertake to periodically report on compliance with their human rights obligations. The reporting period is usually five years. In parallel to the state reports , non-governmental organizations can submit alternative reports, which are mostly taken into account by the committees. The respective committee released a number of concluding observations (after examining the government report as a result of concluding observations ) and recommendations ( recommendations ) to the respective government. Although this remedy is a very soft sanction mechanism, it has already proven its effectiveness in many cases.

The ratification of an optional protocol to the pacts makes it possible for individuals to lodge a complaint with the Geneva UN Human Rights Committee if they feel that their rights and freedoms are restricted ( individual complaint procedure ). The optional protocol of the UN civil pact was negotiated from the beginning and ratified by 114 states (status: 2013). In 1989, a further optional protocol banning the death penalty was negotiated, which has been ratified by 77 states so far (as of 2013). In 2008, the UN General Assembly passed an optional protocol to the UN Social Pact, which 22 states have ratified (as of 2016), including Argentina, France and Spain. Germany is still considering ratification.

Once the Optional Protocols have been ratified, the responsible UN committee can initiate investigative proceedings against a state if it receives information that indicates massive violations of the rights and freedoms set out in the pacts. In addition, the Optional Protocols provide for a so-called state complaint , which enables states to denounce other states internationally if they observe a violation of their obligations.

At the European level, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) also created the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg . Since 1998 - similar to a national constitutional complaint - every individual can sue against a violation of their rights under the Convention. In addition, the member states can also sue each other for compliance with the convention (via so-called individual or state complaints). Such a legal protection system is exceptional for international human rights conventions. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the European Convention on Human Rights has the rank of a simple law. In Austria, however, the convention has constitutional status. In Switzerland , the ECHR is directly applicable law. In Norway , the law on strengthening the status of human rights in Norwegian law of May 21 (Law No. 30) 1999 ensures that the ECHR takes precedence over other legal provisions. The United Kingdom codified the status of the ECHR in the Human Rights Act 1998 .

For the Americas meets Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Inter-American Court of Human Rights / Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos) a similar function.

On the African continent, the African Court of Human Rights and the Rights of the Peoples oversees compliance with the Banjul Charter .

Criticism of the human rights discourse

Criticism is formulated on the various facets of the "human rights discourse". Diverse forms of political instrumentalization of the claim to human rights are discussed. The criticism is most pronounced where the human rights discourse legitimizes military interventions. The question is whether human rights only serve as an alibi for other political interests. On the other hand, proponents of so-called humanitarian interventions argue that it is the duty of the international community, precisely because of the universality of human rights, to intervene militarily in the event of serious violations of them, for example in order to prevent genocide (cf. Responsibility to Protect ). It is also seen as a failure of the United Nations that this did not happen with the genocide in Rwanda .

The status of migrants and stateless persons was already the subject of critical reflection by Hannah Arendt on the link between human rights and the construct of a nation . She calls for the "right to have rights" and states that people on the run and in camps cannot enforce a human right. Giorgio Agamben also ties in here, comparing the status of migrants with that of homo sacer in antiquity.

Thomas Carlyle emphasizes the hierarchical order in nature, “eternal justice enforced by omnipotence” and describes the “privilege of the stupid to be ruled by the wise , to be guided in the right way by those who know better than them “As the“ first human right ”, compared to which the others are irrelevant. Many authors of post-colonial criticism point to a hierarchical relationship between the West and Europe and other regions and consider the human rights discourse against the background of a colonial history and a post-colonial present. These include authors such as Frantz Fanon , Stuart Hall , the Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison , Homi K. Bhabha , Edward Said , Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Gauri Viswanathan . Linked to this is a criticism of Eurocentrism , for example that the concept of human rights has its roots in European philosophy. Thus the philosophers of have education not only pursues emancipatory projects, but also rassifizierende and essentializing concepts verwissenschaftlicht with which colonialist policies in quite philosophically - as the practice of a Racial Contract - were legitimized. The human rights discourse is also considered under the aspects of the European educational processes of one's own identity and national discourses. These authors point to the establishment of a “white” dominance culture . In order to safeguard existing social conditions, which create privileges for the white dominant culture, it is also necessary for whites to fantasize about what is good for people and cultures that are foreign to them. A reduced perception is that people in other regions are constantly perceived as victims. This means a social process that authors like Slavoj Žižek , Alain Badiou and others describe as victimization .

This good ending to the story is suggested not only to oneself, to everyone else, but especially to the elites in the Third World: “The promise of human rights to the Third World is that problems of cruel conditions of life, state instability, and others Social crises can be contained, if not substanially eliminated, through the rule of law, grants of individual rights, and a state based on constitutionalism. [...] Salvation in the modern world is presented as only possible through the holy trinity of human rights, political democracy, and free markets. "

Another line of criticism tries to grasp the problematic consequences resulting from the increasing international legalization of human rights. So the question is asked whether an increasing legitimacy of all state power and all previous ownership structures as well as the expansion of the industrial state infrastructure result from this. The industrial state's 'metabolism' and the dependence on individual technologies increased, made society more and more important and in the short time since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would lead to a doubling of the proportion of the world's urban population from 1950 to 2030 to 61 percent.

An otherwise disparate collection of different and in principle equal empires, values ​​and concepts in the countries of the world are thus homogenized - in clear hierarchical stratification: “In a sense the United States chief executive sits atop a global empire. It is an empire governed by the cultures, traditions, and norms of the European West. "

Conversely, a norm or a value decision can be derived from every right “(religiously) pragmatic” from the state action constituting and guaranteeing rights, and thus also a devaluation, rejection and very real fight against the opposite. Those who support families, apartments and schools are fighting - in one way or another - cultures that have no families, apartments and school (buildings). Then the rights would become obligations for the citizens addressed: for themselves, but also for members of other cultures and future generations. These included speciesism , here the lawlessness of animals, plants and nature, nationalism, the family, the 'United Nations' federation itself, property, sedentariness, order and authority, the indoctrination of one's own ideals, school, the Elections, the ubiquity of the media, punishments and prisons, economic growth and development, and science.

The lack of consideration of future generations ( intergenerational justice ) and the natural environment (also known as interspecies justice ) as legal entities in the jurisprudence is also criticized by the Earth Charter movement , the origin of which is dated to the UN environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 can. Including these aspects in future case law is an important part of avoiding social and ecological crises. The Earth Charter should therefore supplement the general declaration of human rights with the status of soft law or customary international law . Since the current human rights conventions primarily address state actors as guarantors of human rights and less civil society organizations, companies and individuals, the Earth Charter should help to close this gap. In large societies based on the division of labor, intellectuals benefited from portraying humans as "artistic, state-building animals" and from cultivating the belief among the population that humans are definitely not beings living in small groups of a few specimens.

In addition, the actual existence as a working herd animal in a hierarchically stratified and unmistakable mass can clearly be endured much better if one has the fixed idea of ​​being a unique and in no way externally determined bearer of human dignity. Here the deification of reason and the construct of 'free will' can be explained.

Ultimately, this criticism claims that the philosophy of human rights has a religious status in Germany in particular and that it regularly excludes criticism within the institutions. Following sociological and legal history studies, it can be traced from which religious tradition human rights and their concept of individualism emerged. This criticism culminates in the assertion that our unexplained “state religion” propagates and achieves the destruction of everything non-artificial in the long term. It is controversial to what extent sexual identity is part of it; Article 2 states that there is a right to life without discrimination.

Human rights in different countries

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Human right  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Matthias Koenig: Human Rights . Frankfurt am Main 2005, p. 12 .
  2. Lynn Hunt: Inventing Human Rights. A history . New York 2007, p. 20-21 .
  3. Johannes Morsink: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Origins, Drafting, and Intent . Philadelphia 1999.
  4. ^ Status of Treaty. Ratification status. In: UN Treaty collection, UNTC . Retrieved January 15, 2019 .
  5. Waldemar Hummer, Wolfram Karl: Regional human rights protection. Documents including introductions . I / 1 (Europe) and I / 2 (America, Africa, Islamic-Arab region, Asia-Pacific region). Baden-Baden 2009.
  6. Annual Report / Appeal. OHCHR, accessed January 15, 2019 .
  7. Samuel Moyn : The New Historiography of Human Rights . In: History and Society . tape 38 , no. 4 , 2012, p. 547 .
  8. Arnd Pollmann: Definitions . In: Arnd Pollmann, Georg Lohmann (Hrsg.): Menschenrechte. An interdisciplinary manual . Stuttgart 2012, p. 129-135 .
  9. ^ Arnd Pollmann: Conceptual Tensions . In: Arnd Pollmann, Georg Lohmann (Hrsg.): Menschenrechte. An interdisciplinary manual . Stuttgart 2012, p. 359 .
  10. What does «universality of human rights» mean? ; Retrieved from on February 7, 2011.
  11. ^ Matthias Koenig: Human Rights . Frankfurt am Main 2005, p. 10-12 .
  12. Article 3 of the Basic Law
  13. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the website of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  14. ^ The Limburg Principles on the Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  15. Knut Ipsen: Individual protection in international law . In: Knut Ipsen (Ed.): Völkerrecht . 5th edition. CH Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-49636-9 , p. 791 .
  17. Equal rights for everyone
  18. ^ Samuel Pufendorf: De iure naturae et gentium. 1672, 2nd book, 1st chapter, § 5, based on: Uwe Wesel : The history of human rights. (PDF; 833 kB).
  19. Mette Lebech: On the Problem of Human Dignity. Verlag Königshausen & Neumann, 2011, ISBN 978-3-8260-3815-0 .
  20. For the classification and description of the rights of the three generations see Manfred Nowak: Introduction to the international human rights system. Graz 2002, pp. 35 ff., 90. The entire section is based on this work.
  21. Ibid.
  22. UN resolution: Water becomes a human right. Spiegel Online , July 28, 2010; Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  23. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (PDF) on:
  24. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (German) on Wikisource
  25. Claudia Mahler, DIMR: Finally accept the optional protocol to the UN social pact. (PDF) Retrieved November 20, 2017 .
  26. Thomas Carlyle: Latter-Day Pamphlets. ( Memento of November 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) February 1, 1850. The Present Time.
  27. ^ Charles W. Mills: Blackness Visible. Essays on Philosophy and Race . Cornell University Press, Ithaca 1998.
    Maureen Maisha Eggers, Grada Kilomba, Peggy Piesche, Susan Arndt (Eds.): Myths, Masks and Subjects. Critical whiteness research in Germany . Münster 2005.
    See also being white .
  28. ^ Slavoj Žižek: Beyond good and evil: Political morality. In: The Gazette. January 13, 2002, Human Rights
  29. Human Offside In: taz, December 5, 2006.
  30. See Makau Mutua: Human Rights. A Political & Cultural Critique. University of Philadelphia Press, Philadelphia 2002, p. 5 fu 155. (Mutua is the director of the Human Rights Center at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School).
  31. The further the guarantee of human rights extends spatially, the greater the structural effort required for this, the greater the technometabolism. technometabolism. "This is defined as the inputs and outputs of human populations of materials and energy which are due to technological processes. Technometabolism contrasts with biometabolism, which is the material inputs and outputs, and the throughputs of energy, of human organisms themselves. "(Stephen Vickers Boyden: Biohistory - the interplay between human society and the biosphere, past and present. (= Man and the Biosphere series. Vol. 8). UNESCO - Parthenon, Paris / Carnforth / Park Ridge 1992, p. 72 f.)
  32. This material and energy absorption (or their throughput and output by human groups due to technical applications; opposite: biometabolism) or technical energy metabolism by groups of people is a result of the use of techniques for many people and their dependence on certain techniques , engl. technoaddiction. Boyden describes the principle of "technoaddiction" like this. In human history, new technologies were often not introduced out of necessity, but sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes for the benefit of particular individuals or groups within society. After some time, however, the societies reorganized around the new technologies “and gradually the populations become more and more dependent on the new technologies for the satisfaction of their basic needs. In the end they are completely dependent on them. ”(Boyden 1992, p. 173, transl. H. Schulz Meinen) The population of Çatalhöyük in what is now Turkey 9000 years ago, for example, was just as dependent on agriculture as modern societies were on Machines that run electrically or with fossils. (Ibid.)
  33. Sociologists and anthropologists have shown that this is an elementary feature of society and not just one aspect: “Urban development completes the exclusion of nature, which begins with agriculture. In the artificial urban landscape it becomes a matter of discretion how much 'natural nature' one still lets in. Nature is filtered at will. That man lives in a world of objects that he himself has created also means that he can push everything that is not artifact to the edge. ”(Heinrich Popitz: Der Aufbruch zur Artificial Gesellschaft. Zur Anthropologie der Technik. Mohr, Tübingen 1995, p. 133).
  34. "In the course of the increase in the world population from 2.5 billion people in 1950 to 6.5 billion in 2005 to an estimated 8.2 billion in 2030, the respective proportions of rural and urban populations are also changing. In 1950, only 29 percent of the world's population lived in cities, today it is around half. According to UN / DESA estimates, the proportion will increase further to around 61 percent in 2030. Today there are already two and a half as many city dwellers in the economically developing countries as in the economically developed countries. In Africa, the absolute number of urban populations increased more than tenfold between 1950 and 2005, and in Asia almost sevenfold in the same period. In China and India alone, the absolute number of urban populations has increased by over 715 million since 1950. In 2030 there will be 875 million city dwellers in China and 600 million in India. ”Source: Federal Center for Political Education, (PDF) with figures from the UN / DESA: WorldPopulationProspects: The2004Revision, WorldUrbanizationProspects: The2003Rev. Status: June 2006.
  35. Mutua 2002, p. 6.
  36. "Speciesism [...] is found in the preamble of human rights, in the 'recognition of the dignity inherent in all members of human society'." (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Preamble).
  37. "Nationalism, the supportive reference to people and nation, is legitimized by the talk of 'the peoples of the United Nations' (preamble)."
  38. “The family is the natural nucleus of society” (Art. 16, Paragraph 3), and not bands (groups, hordes) or living communities living together.
  39. For sacrosanct, inviolable and sacred, the powerful union of states of the United Nations declares and advocates by denying the otherwise required right of asylum for acts "that violate the aims and principles of the United Nations" (Art. 14, Paragraph 2) .
  40. "Property is guaranteed by Article 17, Paragraph 1."
  41. “Settlement is established as the norm by Article 13, Paragraph 1, guaranteeing the right to“ freely choose one's place of residence ”(cf.“ Accommodation ”, Article 25).
  42. A total order and authority is established by Art. 28: "Everyone has the right to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms listed in this declaration can be fully realized".
  43. Indoctrination of one's own ideals is guaranteed by the preamble. The “Universal Declaration of Human Rights is established as the common ideal to be achieved by all peoples and nations, so that each individual and all organs of society [...] endeavor to promote respect for these values ​​and freedoms through teaching and education [...]. "
  44. Education or, ethnologically speaking, literacy, reading and writing skills, are exceptionally openly raised to dogma. Here one apparently believed in agreement with all serious people: “Everyone has a right to education. […] Elementary education is compulsory ”(Art. 26 Paragraph 1).
  45. The Condorcet'sche majority dictatorship is declared to be the philosopher's stone by Article 21, Paragraph 3. "The will of the people [...] must be expressed through periodic, undistorted elections".
  46. The total claim to information and penetration in order to be able to guarantee worldwide surveillance by satellites, science, secret services, journalists, but also the undisturbed transmission of the electromagnetic waves of the communication society, is stipulated in Art. "Everyone has the right [...] and the freedom to procure, receive and pass on information and ideas by any means, regardless of national borders."
  47. Prisons, punishment and deportation are indirectly approved by Art. 9, if there is no arbitrariness: “Nobody may be arbitrarily arrested, held in custody or expelled from the country.” Abolitionists can save their attempts, their fellow citizens from the nonsense of prisons convince as long as human rights are in force.
  48. “Development” and “a better standard of living with greater freedom” are formulated as goals in the preamble. The standard of living means a complete, artificial, welfare state-guaranteed care, as explained in Art. 25: “Health, well-being including nutrition, clothing, accommodation, medical care, social benefits”.
  49. "Scientific progress and its benefits" are praised in Art. See H. Schulz Meinen, “Dogmen der Menschenrechte”, p. 32 ff., In: ders. “Die Staatsreligion. Human rights versus nature conservation ”, Diagonal: Marburg 2000.
  50. B. Almond: Rights and Justice in the environmental debate. In: D. Cooper, J. Palmer (Eds.): Just Environments. Intergenerational, international and interspecies justice. Routledge, London 1995, pp. 1-17.
  51. ^ T. Hayward: Interspecies Solidarity. In: T. Hayward, J. O'Neill (Eds.): Justice, Propery and the Environment. Aldershot Publ., Ashgate 1997.
  52. Earth Charter. The text
  53. Klaus Bosselmann: The Earth Charter: Draft of an Ethics of Sustainability. In: Nature and Culture. Vol. 5/1, 2002, pp. 115-125.
  54. Van Genugten, Willem, Lambooy, Tineke: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Catalyst for Development of Human Rights standards. In: Ruud Lubbers, Willem Van Genugten, Tineke Lambooy (eds.): Inspiration for global governance: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter. Kluwer, 2008, ISBN 978-90-13-06305-9 , p. 62.
  55. On intellectuals as norm givers and norm goals cf. Donate Pahnke, professor for cf. Religious studies at the University of Bremen, which initially refers to a criticism of the religious scholar Hubert Seiwert of the "insinuation" that "modern civilization and the way of life of its intellectuals represent the highest form (in the evaluative sense) of social and intellectual development" (SEIWERT 1987 : 56). Pahnke asks what the perfect person looks like. She comes to the conclusion that the ideal of society is the educated citizen.
  56. “We have seen that the image of the ideal man corresponds to the image of the ideal man; H. the image of the adult, mature, white, healthy, heterosexual, educated, post-conventional, formal-operative man. In fact, this population group is in fact the only one for whom there are no special development facilities. This population group forms the yardstick, the reference point for the evaluation of the normal or the healthy; it both sets up the relevant norms and ensures that the norms are implemented. ”Cf. Donate Pahnke: Ethics and Gender. Image of man and religion in patriarchy and feminism. Dissertation. Diagonal, Marburg 1991, p. 109, with reference to Hubert Seiwert, professor for cf. Religious Studies at the University of Leipzig: “Science as Religion? On the rationality of modern and premodern ways of life. A Critique of Modernism's Claim to Superiority ”, extended version of a lecture in February 1987 at the University of Tübingen, unpublished manuscript; Parts of the last, third chapter: “Science as a rational equivalent to religion?” Can be found in a revised version in Hubert Seiwert: Science as Religion? Functions of Science and Religion in Modern Society. In: Science and Human Image. (= 1992 yearbook of the Akademie Forum Masonicum. ), Röhrig, St. Ingbert 1993, pp. 65–84.
  57. The first positive portrayal of intellectuals and their efforts to rule can be found in the sociologist of religion Emile Durkheim, who in the French Dreyfus affair of 1898, based on Emile Zola's "J'accuse", said that it is precisely individualism that guarantees cohesion in a complex one State with an increasing division of labor, which became ever larger and more centralized. It was designed by the “spiritualists” Kant and Rousseau and “more or less happily formulated in the declaration of human rights” (Durkheim 1986, p. 57). Core idea: "There is no raison d'être that could excuse an attack against the person if the rights of the person take precedence over the state" (Emile Durkheim, 1986 [1898] "Der Individualismus und die intellectuals", pp. 54–70 [" L'individualisme et les intellectuels “, in: Revue bleue 4, X (1898), pp. 7-13, in response to the literary historian and critic Ferdinand Brunetière, a member of the Academie Française, and his warning that intellectuals could after the Dreyfus affair plunging into anarchy, in: Après le procès, Revue des deux mondes, 4th period, t. 146, 67e année (March 15, 1898), pp. 428-446; reprinted in: ders., “La science sociale et l'action ", edited by JC Filloux, Paris: PUF 1970], in: Bertram, Hans (ed.)," Social coercion and moral autonomy "(here p. 57), Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1986.
  58. “This human person […] is considered holy […]. It has something of the transcendental majesty that the churches give to their gods at all times ”(Durkheim 1986, p. 56 f.). Those who murder people or attack the freedom or honor of others "fill us with a feeling of revulsion"; we then resembled a believer “who sees his idol profaned” (Ibid., p. 57). "[T] he individual is raised to the status of sacrosanct, inviolable things" (ibid.). Durkheim calls this individualism religion, a "totality of beliefs and collective practices of special authority" (Ibid., P. 62), "a set of operative ideals, moral beliefs and practices", summarizes Stephen Lukes (Steven Lukes: "Conclusion ", Pp. 282-301, in: Carrithers, M. / Collins, S. / Lukes, S. (eds.)," The Category of the Person. Anthropology, Philosophy, History ", Cambridge 1985, here p. 339 , Appendix): "[T] he religion of the individual [is] a social institution like all known religions." (Durkheim 1986, p. 66) "Supreme dogma" in the "cult of man" is "the autonomy of reason", “The highest rite, the free examination” (Ibid., 60) intellectuals should continue this religion here.
  59. "It is not necessary to point out that the image of emancipation is simply present here: all subordination, as well as all domination, be it material or spiritual, has disappeared." (Dumont 1977, p. 165; trans. H. Schulz Meinen ) Reference to footnote 14: "[...] In this way the emancipated individual actually becomes the only totality, and this is the result of the artificialistic project of modernity [...]." (Dumont 1977, p. 252, FN 14, trans. H. Schulz Meinen) Cf. Louis Dumont, "Homo aequalis", Volume I, Genèse et épanouissement de l'idéologie économique, 'Bibliothèque des Sciences humaines', Paris: Gallimard; rééd. 1985; engl. "From Mandeville to Marx. The Genesis and Triumph of Economic Ideology," Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1977.
  60. “The development goal is a progressive artificialization. More and more components of the found environment and the human body itself are to be improved by artificial elements. This doctrine [can] be called artificialism. Many human societies have been following the norm of action for a long time - albeit to very different degrees. Fire use and farming can be cited as early, reconstructable examples of this. Civilization is a synonym for it. ”Cf. Haimo Schulz Meinen: Die Staatsreligion. Human rights versus nature conservation. (= Religious studies series). Diagonal-Verlag, Marburg 2000, p. 168.
  61. “The background to the norm of action is the goal of reaching a higher population density, forming ever larger groups of people, keeping them alive for a short time and being able to quickly adapt to new conditions. The method is known in evolutionary biology as the r-strategy. In the case of civilized groups of people, however, it is implemented not with inherited, but with cultural means. The expansion of living and design spaces is always at the expense of other groups or species. This is legitimized in the human image of human rights through a fundamental separation of those from and to homo sapiens sapiens on the one hand and all other primitives on the other. Human groups from other cultural traditions are offered formal subordination, conversion or annihilation - mostly depending on their cultural distance from their own model. […] “Cf. Haimo Schulz Meinen: The State Religion. Human rights versus nature conservation. (= Religious studies series). Diagonal-Verlag, Marburg 2000, p. 168.
  62. “Following Durkheim's theses [it is] possible to analyze the ideas of human rights as an intellectual further development of the Christian cultural tradition. Mauss, Dumont, Seiwert, and Kippenberg contributed to this, among others. They showed how the person (Mauss), the individual (Dumont), modernity (Seiwert), the democratic state (Delekat), science (Seiwert, Tenbruck) and reason (Seiwert, Gebhard, Seligman) as normal results of the To examine the history of religion. Human rights are only an identity-creating collection of these results. The human image of human rights successfully hides and camouflages the difference between the inherited and the selectable, cultural characteristics of humans. The person of human rights seems to be destined to gradually replace found nature completely - and thus to destroy it. ”Cf. Haimo Schulz Meinen: Die Staatsreligion. Human rights versus nature conservation. (= Religious studies series). Diagonal-Verlag, Marburg 2000, p. 168.
  63. LSVD
  65. See Human Rights ( Memento of March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). In:
  66. See Lasse Heerten: Review of: Klose, Fabian: Human rights in the shadow of colonial violence. The wars of decolonization in Kenya and Algeria 1945–1962. Munich 2009 . In: H-Soz-u-Kult. March 18, 2010.
  67. 2 introductory (bilingual) & further essays of the publisher, in French: Niklas Luhmann , Hauke ​​Brunkhorst ; in German Étienne Balibar , Claude Lefort