human rights

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Human rights are morally based, individual freedom and autonomy rights that every human being is entitled to just because of his or her humanity . They are universal (applicable to all human beings everywhere), 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 rightsand derived from inviolable human dignity .

Almost every country in the world today has ratified international human rights treaties or explicitly mentioned human rights in their constitutions , thereby committing themselves to formulate them as enforceable rights in their respective national laws. 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 formally 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 Covenant") were then adopted, both of which are legally binding . Human rights treaties have also been adopted at the intergovernmental level, differing in their binding powers and human rights concepts: the 1953 European Convention on Human Rights , the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights, the 1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights , the 1994 Arab Charter on Human Rights and the Asian Declaration of Human Rights from 2012. There are also other regional treaties and agreements that promote 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 , genocides , war crimes or aggressive wars .

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

The idea of ​​human rights is not a purely “ Western ” or modern phenomenon, but can be found in all eras and regions of the world and often represents a core of religious and cultural values , even though their interpretation has varied historically. The first examples of rights documented in this way can be found as early as 2100 BC. with the Codex Ur-Nammu from Mesopotamia , which i.a. provided for a right to life , or 538 B.C. with the Cyrus Cylinder from Persia . The most famous national human rights documents since the Age of Enlightenment are the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen and the US Bill of Rights .

In contrast to human rights, to which every human being is entitled worldwide, “ fundamental rights ” are limited to the sovereignty of the state that expressly guarantees these rights in the constitution. “ Civil rights ”, in turn, is the name of the part of the basic rights that is reserved only for the citizens of the country in question.

The Cyrus Cylinder from Persia (538 BC), considered by many to be the "first human rights charter".
The English Bill of Rights (1689) overturned the idea of divine right that had prevailed until then and replaced it with the principle of parliamentary sovereignty . This paved the way for the political implementation of human rights.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1, on the outside wall of the Austrian Parliament building in Vienna

nature of human rights


Universality in human rights stands for general validity . This means that human rights are valid everywhere and for all people at all times. As natural law, they stand above any positive law and are therefore independent of and, in terms of their essence, untouchable 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 validity for every human being. Accordingly, every person is obliged to respect the human rights of their fellow human beings. Therefore, robust and legal instruments are needed to guarantee the universal recognition of human rights. One can therefore only speak of a human rights guarantee if the claims are actually accepted as legal norms and can be enforced. Therefore, all member states of the UN have a moral obligation to fully uphold 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 political views and the associated legal enforcement within states and institutions. Limitations as to who is regarded as a human being ( 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 even political ones factors. Cultural relativism opposes the universal claim that human rights are generally valid .


Human rights are egalitarian, meaning they 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 human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."

Accordingly, everyone has equal rights before the law and may not be discriminated against .

The discussion about equal rights for men and women also revolves around this important basic norm. However, social or societal equality is often confused with the prohibition of differentiation in 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 goes.


Human rights cannot be taken away from anyone, nor can they be relinquished or surrendered at will. 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 decided so. 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 unlawful even if it is based on a law that has formally come into being lawfully or even on a referendum .

In Germany, for example, this concept has been implemented with the eternity clause in the Basic Law . In this way, a lesson was drawn from the National Socialist era , 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 legitimate. This collectivist view was also summarized with the formula "You are nothing, your people are everything!". Such semantics are also 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 . It is not possible to implement freedom rights if the right to food , for example, is not realized at the same time . Conversely, the violation of economic or cultural rights, such as forced displacement, bans on languages ​​or deprivation of livelihoods, is usually accompanied by violations of civil and political rights.

normative content

sources of law

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 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights , which is only a declaration adopted by the UN General Assembly and is not directly binding on member states, the key 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 adopted 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 section "United Nations" below ).

In addition, there are a large number of conventions that regulate the protection of individual human rights in detail, e.g

  1. the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
  2. the Geneva Refugee Convention
  3. the International Convention on 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 complaint 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 complaint 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 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It contains a catalog of basic rights 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 (fundamental rights)

freedom rights

Judicial Human Rights

Economic, cultural and social rights

The legal norms set out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also include:

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 now included in numerous constitutions and their violation can be enforced in court, social human rights are not positively regulated by law in all member states.

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

However, characterizing civil and political rights as purely defensive rights is just as wrong as characterizing economic, social and cultural rights as purely guarantee rights. For example, guaranteeing internal and external security and an independently functioning judiciary is a positive achievement of the state. However, this is largely seen as an actual purpose of the state and therefore as 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 refraining from forced displacement in the course of an internal conflict as well as respecting the right of an indigenous people to maintain their language, their legal system or their institutions.

Therefore, 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 each human right, which the state must comply with:

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

The understanding of human rights as purely defensive rights covers only the first of these three duties. However, within the United Nations human rights system, the broader understanding of human rights that emerges from the Limburg Principles can now be considered recognized.

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


The roots of human rights in antiquity

There were early attempts in ancient Europe to give states a basis similar to human rights. 624 BC In ancient Athens, arbitrary judiciary was restricted, although the law was never understood universally, but was always limited to a minority: that of free men. As a result, the law differed fundamentally from modern conceptions of human rights, which have a basic claim to universality. From the 6th century onwards, only the citizens were allowed and granted a say in politics, initially graded according to their possessions. In the developed democracy , almost all offices were finally assigned by lottery among the entitled free men. As a result, the group of beneficiaries was treated equally in the allocation of posts and distribution of work.

However, ancient Persia is considered to be the birthplace 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 emphasized the equality of people from all parts of the known world. These edicts and others were recorded on a fired clay cylinder - the Cyrus Cylinder - which many say is the world's first human rights declaration. 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.

Excluded from the rights in antiquity were generally all residents without civil rights (e.g. slaves, women and children), i.e. the majority of the population. In his work Politics (Book I, Chapter 5, 1254b), Aristotle argues that some people are slaves and subjects by nature. One can speak of an attempt to enforce equal rights for all only since the days of the European Enlightenment in the 18th century. In ancient Rome , based on the philosophy of the Stoa , there are also first ideas about rights that are equal for all people.

Judeo-Christian Roots

In addition, the also ancient biblical conception of God being made in the image of man of both sexes (Genesis = 1st Book of Moses , Gen 1.27  EU ) forms a further prerequisite for the reception of the philosophem "human rights", which later became widespread in the West . But even biblical rights were not universal. 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 recognized the obligation not to oppress foreigners ( Ex 22.20  EU , Ex 23.9  EU ), but to love ( Lev 19.34  EU , Deut 10.19  EU ) slaves before 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 master ( Phlm 1,1ff.  LUT ) and even writes to the Galatians that there are neither slaves nor free men in Christ ( Gal 3,28  LUT ). In addition, Judaism in its Christian form is being opened up worldwide through Jesus' missionary command ( Mt 28 : 16-20  LUT ), but at the latest through Paul's missionary work ( Gal 2.1-10  LUT ).

One of the first written demands for human rights in Europe are the Twelve Articles of 1525 by the rebellious peasants. In contrast to the Magna Carta of 1215, which primarily dealt with the rights of the nobles vis-à-vis the king, the articles also demand rights for the poor.

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

In Poland-Lithuania in 1573, with the Confederation of Warsaw, non-Catholic nobles and commoners were granted the same rights as Catholics, in what historian Gottfried Schramm called a "milestone of religious freedom".


On the African continent, two legal systems are still considered progressive today: the early 13th-century text of the Manden Charter , which is considered one of the oldest constitutions in the world and has been recognized by UNESCO as part of the intangible heritage, already recognised the principle of equality before the law and non-discrimination. From the 15th century onwards, legal scholars also created the Timbuktu Manuscripts , also on what is now Mali territory , which, in their legal conception, come very close to today's Universal Declaration of Human Rights .

Human rights in the Enlightenment

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

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) deserves a mention, although he is not really an Enlightenment philosopher . There are no direct human rights formulations in his work, rather there is not even a rudimentary talk 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 the state of nature has the right of self-preservation . However, due to the insecurity and dangers of the natural state, man renounces this and his associated natural rights and gives them to the state . He gives the state unlimited power and subordinates human rights to the state. Despite the weak position of human rights in Thomas Hobbes, the fact that such a right can exist at all has influenced many philosophers. Hobbes' ideas inspired the English Parliament in 1679 to require King Charles II to issue habeas corpus . It included protection from arbitrary arrest and the right to be brought before a judge . In 1689, the Bill of Rights brought et al. the right of petition and the ban on arrests without a court order.

Samuel Pufendorf is the first enlightener who explicitly regards the "dignatio", human dignity , as part of the state of nature in which human beings are equal and free: "Man is of the highest dignity because he has a soul that is distinguished by the light of reason, by the ability to judge things and to choose freely, and who is skilled in many arts.”

This is how John Locke (1632–1704) picked up the basic ideas of Hobbes. He interprets them differently, however, since he gives the state of nature a higher, more positive value and the bond with the state less importance. According to Locke, the state has the function of securing and preserving human rights. If he does not comply, he loses his legitimacy. Locke does not give the state unlimited power, but demands the separation of powers into the legislative (legislative power) and executive (executive power), later the judiciary (the jurisdiction) was added by Charles de Montesquieu (1689-1755). For Locke, the natural rights of the individual are superior to the state and the individual can assert them against the state. John Locke's ideas had a significant influence on the American Declaration of Independence formulated by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, in which "inalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" were stated. The Virginia Bill of Rights also proclaimed that all human beings are inherently equal, free , and their lives and property are inviolable.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) is the first Enlightener to speak directly about human rights, even if he has a very specific view of it. For Rousseau, freedom is the basis of being human. Since by nature all people are free and equal, they should also remain so in the state. Rousseau distinguishes between natural, civil and moral freedom. In the state of nature, endowed with unlimited natural freedom, man is not really free, being ruled by his impulses and egoism. He is only really free when, as a moral being, he freely decides to abide by the laws that he has given himself . He consciously renounces natural freedom in favor of moral freedom. The transition from natural to moral freedom is, so to speak, the perfection of freedom in the state. The citizens , equipped with the moral freedom, are the basis for legislation, because they are morally free, they adhere to the self-given laws. For example, 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 unthinkable. Rousseau's ideas played a major role in the French Revolution . On July 11, 1789 , the Marquis de La Fayette , shortly thereafter commander of the National Guard, presented a draft of a declaration of human rights which he had prepared with the assistance of Thomas Jefferson , one of the drafters of the United States Declaration of Independence and then Ambassador in Paris . In the same year, the Bill of Rights was also passed in the United States . These represented the first actionable and thus enforceable system of fundamental rights. 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, liberty is the only human right from which all other human rights, such as equality and autonomy , are derived. The right cannot be derived from human nature, so it is a rational right 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 preserve civil liberties. 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 a right to resist state laws that violate human rights.

If one looks at the ideas of these philosophers, a development can be seen from Hobbes’ recognition of natural rights, which are however subordinate to the state, to Locke’s primacy of human rights over the state, to Rousseau’s recognition of human rights as the basis and legitimation of the state and recognize Kant.

Philosophical justification structures of human rights after the Enlightenment

Even after the Enlightenment, various philosophers were concerned with justifying the universal validity of human rights. This includes in particular the discourse ethics developed by Jürgen Habermas and Karl-Otto Apel . Heiner Bielefeldt , who is also the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, published on this subject and compared justification structures for the validity of human rights. In her work On the problem of Human Dignity (2011) on human rights and human dignity, the Irish philosopher Mette Lebech argued that human dignity is an axiom in the sense of Aristotle , from which all other values can be derived.


Classification by "Generations"

In the 20th century, human rights were divided into three “generations”. While this division is relatively common, it is controversial because the sequence drawn implies an unspoken evaluation and hierarchy. Thus, the rights of the "first generation" could be seen as the "genuine" human rights, while the human rights character of the second and third generations is questioned. In addition, the concept of "generations" suggests a chronological sequence that does not correspond to historical development. As a result, many important human rights are classified according to the concept of generations. It should be noted that not all rights reflect existing international law ( lex lata ), but are still in the process of being developed ( lex ferenda ).

first generation

The category of the “first generation” of human rights includes civil and political rights, i. H. the liberal defensive rights and democratic participation rights. Influenced by the classic concept of human rights from the Enlightenment, the Western world saw them alone as rights that should be legally enforceable by the individual against the state due to their mere existence. This limited perspective is also 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
  • The rights apply to all people in all countries and territories, regardless of their international status
  • Right to life, liberty and security
  • Prohibition of slavery or serfdom
  • Prohibition of torture or cruel, inhumane treatment
  • Right to recognition as a legal entity
  • Equality before the law
  • right to legal protection
  • Ban on arbitrary arrest or deportation
  • Right to a public hearing before an independent judiciary
  • Legal 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
  • freedom of religion
  • right of free speech
  • Freedom of assembly and association

Second generation

The "second generation" is formed by 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 clean water
  • Right to paid work, equal pay for work of equal value
  • Right to rest, free time and paid vacation
  • Right to an adequate standard of living, to security in the event of unemployment, illness, invalidity, 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 is formed by the collective rights of the peoples - a demand of the countries of the Global South whose origin can be traced back to Art. 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"Everyone is entitled 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 just monitoring the observance of human rights, western states should rather guarantee collective rights of solidarity towards the Global South in order to effectively help to guarantee human rights. The most elementary collective rights are the right of peoples to self-determination and the associated right to development, the right to peace, to a clean environment, to communication and to a fair share of the treasures of nature and culture. When arguing about the recognition of the right to development and other collective rights, it must be taken into account that the impact of national politics hardly ever stops at a border.

Legal bases and control bodies at various 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 of the Basic Law , including the linking of state authority to respect for human dignity (paragraph 1) and the legally binding nature of fundamental rights (paragraph 3), is under the special protection of the so-called eternity clause in Article 79(3) of the Basic Law.

The Federal Republic of Germany has joined the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has the status of a law and is included in the Civil Code l. 1973 II p. 1534.

The Federal Republic of Germany also signed the UN Human Rights Declaration , which proclaims the right to social security, work and housing. According to Article 25, Sentence 1 GG, 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 . Nevertheless, such rights were included in some state constitutions of the Federal Republic, in the state constitutions of Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bremen, but this has largely fallen into oblivion.

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

In accordance with the mandate of the German Bundestag of December 4, 1991, the Federal Government presents a report on its human rights policy every two years. Domestic and foreign policy activities and initiatives are examined and the human rights situation in Germany and the European Union is analyzed.

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 respect for human dignity, freedom , democracy , equality , the rule of law and 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 observed within the EU and by promoting their realization and further development externally.

On the basis of these values, the European Community has established and expanded rights and institutions from the outset , the complex and multi-layered interaction 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 Council of Europe 's European Convention on Human Rights .

The idea of ​​a European community of values, to which everyone can commit, 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 experiences at the beginning of the 20th century, the European founding fathers were concerned with creating a more peaceful and just Europe. Looking back, Europe has been a guarantor of democracy , security , peace and prosperity for more than six decades . This perception of the EU, which has grown into a matter of course for today's generation, runs the risk of diminishing the achievements of the European community of values ​​in a time 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. For example, approaches to international human rights protection can only be found at certain points in the United Nations Charter . The preamble states that the peoples of the United Nations "reaffirm the faith in the fundamental rights of man, in the dignity and worth of the human personality, in the equality of men and women, and of all nations, great and small," and "the promote social progress and a better standard of living in greater freedom". Furthermore, Article 1 of the UN Goals promises that the United Nations will “promote and strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion”.

Article 55 states:

“In order to bring about that state of stability and prosperity which is necessary for peaceful and friendly relations to prevail among nations, based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations promotes them

  1. the improvement of living standards, full employment and the conditions for economic and social progress and advancement;
  2. solving international problems of an economic, social, health and related nature, and international cooperation in the fields of culture and education
  3. universal respect for and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction of race, sex, language or religion.”

Article 56 states:

"All Member States undertake to work collectively 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 shall initiate inquiries and make recommendations [...] to promote international cooperation in the fields of economic, social, cultural, educational and health matters and for the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction of race, gender, language or religion.”

Article 62(2) authorizes the Economic and Social Council “to make recommendations to promote respect for and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.” Article 68 mandates the Council to set up a commission “for the promotion of human rights". This was founded in June 2006 and under a different name.

At the time the United Nations was founded and thus also at the time the Charter of the United Nations was created, 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 different minimum standards for human rights were developed. As the international community very regularly expresses its allegiance to human rights declarations, there are voices that see the existing human rights minimum standards as customary international law and that it would therefore be binding for all peoples.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

One of the first international declarations on human rights standards was expressed in a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was adopted on December 10, 1948 with 48 votes in favour, none against and 8 abstentions.

In total, the UDHR ( Universal Declaration of Human Rights ) comprises 30 articles. Articles 1 and 2 deal with organizational issues. This is followed by a catalog of liberties (Articles 3-20) and political rights (Article 21) and equality rights in the economic, social and cultural spheres (Articles 22-28). A guarantee of ownership can be found in Article 17, which is part of the civil liberties. Art. 29 lists permissible limitations on the aforementioned rights. However, what is important in this context is Art. 30, which makes it unmistakably clear that the options for restrictions mentioned cannot and must not lead to the complete abolition or de facto suspension of the rights under 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 Covenant).

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 of all universal human rights norms.

Excerpts from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948 ):
  • Article 1: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should treat one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
  • 3: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
  • 5: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
  • 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
  • 20, paragraph 1: "All people have the right to peaceful assembly and association."
  • 22: "Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security."
  • Article 23: "Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of occupation, to just and favorable working conditions and to protection against unemployment."
  • Article 24: "Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, and in particular to reasonable limitation of hours of work and periodic holidays with pay."
  • Article 25: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical attention and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability or widowhood , in old age or in the event of any other loss of means of subsistence through circumstances through no fault of their own."
  • Article 30: “No provision of this Declaration shall be construed as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of 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. The rights of the first generation meant the liberal defensive rights of the citizen against the state, the classic civil and political liberties that had been demanded since the French Revolution. Second-generation rights 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 have been taken up by the United Nations since 1969.

The International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (UN Civil Pact) and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN Social Pact) are multilateral international treaties 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 liberty 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 set forth in this Covenant” (Article 3)
  • The “Innate Right to Life” (Article 6)
  • The Prohibition of Torture (Article 7)
  • The Prohibition of Slavery (Article 8)
  • The “right to personal liberty and security” (Article 9, paragraph 1)
  • The commandment to “inform everyone upon his arrest of the reasons for his arrest”, bring him before a judge and allow him a hearing before a court (Article 9, paragraphs 2, 3, 4)
  • The right to “move freely” (Article 12)
  • The right to be “equal in court”. (Article 14)
  • The guarantee of a large number of minimum standards of criminal law (Art. 14, 15)
  • "The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family" (Art. 16)
  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 18)
  • The right "to assemble peacefully" (Article 21)
  • The right “to freely associate with others” (Article 22)
  • Guaranteeing a multitude of rights specifically for children (Article 24)
  • The right to vote in elections or to be elected (Art. 25 b))
Rights in the UN Social Pact
States' rights to restrict guaranteed rights and freedoms

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

Article 4 of the UN Civil Pact provides an exception to the restriction of which states can use in certain cases. A public emergency is an example of how rights can be restricted. However, there are also limits to the range of use of Art. 4 through Art. 4 Para. 2 of the UN Civil Pact, because the right to life, the prohibition of torture, the prohibition of slavery, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion are excluded from this regulation as well as several legal liberties and guarantees. Furthermore, whenever a State wishes to restrict the rights guaranteed under Article 4, it must inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations .

Art. 4 of the UN Social Pact stipulates that restrictions on contractual rights and obligations must be legally compatible with the nature of rights and may only take place in the interests of the general well-being of a democratic society.

Enforceability of guaranteed rights and freedoms

The practical enforceability of rights from international treaties is usually quite difficult. The International Court of Justice can administer justice to states and thus impose judgments. This, however, only if the state concerned has consented to this.

Although the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is neither legally binding for states, nor is there a power above states that could enforce compliance with human rights, it nevertheless carries great political and moral weight. Its provisions have been incorporated into many national constitutions. Many conventions and treaties concluded since 1948 are based on the definitions contained in the Declaration.

The two international covenants on civil and political rights as well as on economic, social and cultural rights and the specialized conventions have the status of international agreements, i.e. they are binding legal acts. Compliance with them is monitored by the competent bodies of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights OHCHR in Geneva, which includes eight UN treaty bodies ( committees). 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 have various enforcement mechanisms in mind in the texts. Various articles impose specific obligations on the contracting parties to the pact. According to Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the UN Civil Pact, states are obliged to recognize and guarantee civil and political rights. Also, pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article 2, States must “take such steps as may be necessary to make such arrangements, legislative or otherwise, as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in this Covenant, to the extent that such arrangements have not already been made. Article 2, Paragraph 3a of the UN Civil Pact also obliges states to create effective means of complaint in the event of a violation of the pact. It is clear from these provisions that the authors of the pact did not want 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 the realization of economic, social and cultural rights. The UN Social Pact does not provide for an obligation to provide an effective means of making complaints.

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

The ratification of an optional protocol to the covenants makes it possible for individuals to lodge a complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva if they feel their rights and freedoms have been restricted ( individual complaints procedure ). The optional protocol of the UN civil pact was negotiated from the start and ratified by 114 states (status: 2013). In 1989, another 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 has been ratified by 22 countries (as of 2016), including Argentina, France and Spain. Germany continues to consider ratification.

Once the Optional Protocols have been ratified, the competent UN committee can initiate investigations against a state if it receives information that indicates gross violations of the rights and freedoms set out in the covenants. 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 the obligations.

At the European level, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) was created in Strasbourg with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) . Since 1998, each individual has been able to sue for a violation of their rights under the Convention, similar to a national constitutional complaint. 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 status of a simple law. In Austria , on the other hand, the Convention enjoys constitutional status. In Switzerland , the ECHR is directly applicable law. In Norway , the law relating to the strengthening of the status of human rights in Norwegian law of 21 May (Act No. 30) 1999 ensures that the ECHR takes precedence over other statutory provisions. The United Kingdom codified the position of the ECHR in the Human Rights Act 1998 .

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos) fulfills a similar function for the Americas .

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

Criticism of the human rights discourse

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

The status of migrants and stateless people was already the subject of a critical reflection on the connection of human rights to the construct of a nation in Hannah Arendt 's work . She demands the “right to have rights” and states that people on the run and in camps cannot enforce a human right. Giorgio Agamben , who compares the status of migrants with that of homo sacer in antiquity, also takes this up.

Thomas Carlyle emphasizes the hierarchical order in nature, "eternal justice enforced by omnipotence" and describes the "privilege of the foolish to be ruled by the wise , to be guided in the right path by those who know better than they do." ' as 'man's first right', compared to which the others are irrelevant. Many authors of postcolonial criticism point to a hierarchical relationship between the West and Europe in relation to other regions and view the human rights discourse against the background of colonial history and the postcolonial present. These include authors such as Frantz Fanon , Stuart Hall , Toni Morrison , winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Homi K. Bhabha , Edward Said , Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Gauri Viswanathan . Linked to this is a critique of Eurocentrism , for example that the concept of human rights has its roots in European philosophy. The philosophers of the Enlightenment not only pursued emancipatory projects, but also scientifically racialized and essentialized concepts with which colonialist policies were also legitimized from a legal-philosophical point of view - such as the practice of a racial contract . 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 refer to the establishment of a "white" dominance culture . In order to secure 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 to constantly perceive people in other regions as victims. This refers to a social process that authors such as Slavoj Žižek , Alain Badiou and others describe as victimization .

But not only to himself, but also to everyone else, but especially to the elites in the Third World, this happy ending to history is suggested: "The promise of human rights to the Third World is that problems of cruel conditions of life, state instability, and other social crises can be contained, if not substantially 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 attempts to grasp the problematic consequences that result from the increasing international juridification of human rights. The question is raised as to whether this does not result in an increasing legitimacy of all state power and all previous ownership structures, as well as the expansion of the industrial state infrastructure. The industrial state 'metabolism' and the dependence on individual technologies increased, increasingly defined society and in the short time since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would lead to the doubling of the proportion of the world's metropolitan 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 is 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) pragmatically” from the state action that constitutes and guarantees rights, and thus also a devaluation, rejection and quite realistic fight against the opposite. Anyone who promotes families, housing and schools is fighting - in one way or another - cultures that have no families, housing and school (buildings). Then the rights for the addressed citizens would become obligations: for themselves, but also for members of other cultures and later generations. This included speciesism , here the lack of rights for animals, plants and nature, nationalism, the family, the federation of states 'United Nations' itself, property, sedentariness, order and authority, the indoctrination of one's own ideals, the school, the Elections, the ubiquity of the media, penalties 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 judiciary is also criticized by the Earth Charter movement , the origin of which dates back to the UN Environment 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 Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the status of soft law or customary international law . Since the current human rights conventions address primarily 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-forming animals” and nurturing the popular belief that humans were definitely not creatures that lived in small groups of just a few specimens.

In addition, many civil society organizations are demanding that there must be binding rules for the implementation of human rights. Human rights violations have increased, especially with regard to the global economic system. At the international level, national laws have therefore already been passed in some countries for the binding respect of human rights and the environment in supply chains. In 2014, on the initiative of Ecuador and South Africa, the UN Human Rights Council also came out in favor of a binding human rights agreement to regulate economic activities. So far, however, the process has been faltering. Civil society organizations are therefore calling for the process to be made more visible as a matter of urgency in order to protect human rights in the future.

In addition, it is quite obvious that the actual existence as a working herd animal in a hierarchically stratified and unmanageable mass is much easier to bear if one has the firm idea of ​​being a unique and in no way externally determined bearer of human dignity. Here the deification of reason and the construct 'free will' can be explained.

Finally, this criticism claims that human rights philosophy has a religious status, especially in Germany, and regularly excludes criticism within the institutions. Following sociological and legal-historical studies, it can be traced from which religious tradition human rights and their concept of individualism arose. This criticism culminates in the assertion that our undeclared “state religion” propagates and achieves the annihilation of everything that is not artificial in the long term. The extent to which sexual identity is part of this is disputed; 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 meaning, word origin, synonyms, translations


  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 . Philly 1999.
  4. Status of Treaty. ratification status. In: UN treaty collection, UNTC . Retrieved January 15, 2019 (English).
  5. Waldemar Hummer, Wolfram Karl: Regional protection of human rights. Documents including introductions . I/1 (Europe) and I/2 (Americas, 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 (ed.): Human rights. An Interdisciplinary Handbook . Stuttgart 2012, p. 129-135 .
  9. Arnd Pollmann: Conceptual tensions . In: Arnd Pollmann, Georg Lohmann (ed.): Human rights. An Interdisciplinary Handbook . Stuttgart 2012, p. 359 .
  10. What does "universality of human rights" mean? ; Retrieved from on July 14, 2021.
  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 United Nations 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.): International law . 5th edition. CH Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-49636-9 , p. 791 .
  16. United Nations: Human Rights Day 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2021 (English).
  17. Equal rights for all
  18. A milestone in freedom of belief. The State of Research on the Origin and Fate of the Warsaw Confederation of 1573, Gottfried Schramm 1975 in Journal for East Research , retrieved December 2, 2020
  19. Manden Charter, proclaimed in Kurukan Fuga . Intangible cultural heritage, UNESCO , 2009
  20. Securing the manuscript holdings recovered from Timbuktu/Mali . Gerda Henkel Foundation , list of funded projects, April 2014
  21. Samuel Pufendorf: De iure naturae et gentium. 1672, 2nd book, 1st chapter, § 5, after: Uwe Wesel : The history of human rights. (PDF; 833KB).
  22. Mette Lebech: On the Problem of Human Dignity. Verlag Koenigshausen & Neumann, 2011, ISBN 978-3-8260-3815-0 .
  23. a b For the classification and description of the rights of the three generations, see Manfred Nowak: Introduction to the international human rights system. Graz 2002, p. 35 ff., 90. The entire section is also based on this work.
  24. Federal Foreign Office: Foreign Minister Maas on the Federal Government's 14th report on its human rights policy. Retrieved December 2, 2020 .
  25. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (PDF) at:
  26. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (German) on Wikisource
  27. Claudia Mahler, DIMR: Finally accept the Optional Protocol to the UN Social Pact. (PDF) Retrieved November 20, 2017 .
  28. Thomas Carlyle, Latter-Day Pamphlets. ( Memento of 16 November 2011 at Internet Archive ) 1 February 1850. The Present Time.
  29. 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 . Munster 2005.
    See also Whiteness .
  30. Slavoj Žižek: Beyond Good and Evil: Political Morality. In: The Gazette. January 13, 2002, Human Rights
  31. Human offside In: taz, December 5, 2006.
  32. See Makau Mutua: Human Rights. A Political & Cultural Critique. University of Philadelphia Press, Philadelphia 2002, pp. 5 fu 155. (Mutua is director of the Human Rights Center at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School).
  33. The greater the spatial extent of the guarantee of human rights, the greater the structural effort required for this, the greater the technometabolism, or engl. 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.)
  34. This material and energy intake (or their throughput and output by human groups, which are due to technical applications; contrast: biometabolism) or technical energy metabolism of human groups is a result of the use of technologies for many people and their dependence on certain technologies , English technoaddiction. This is how Boyden describes the principle of “technoaddiction”. In the history of mankind , new technologies were often not introduced out of necessity, but sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes tried out for the benefit of particular individuals or groups within society. After some time, however, 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, trans. H. Schulz Meinen) For example, the population of Catal Hüyük in present-day Turkey 9000 years ago was as dependent on agriculture as the modern societies of Machines powered by electricity or fossil fuels. (ibid.)
  35. Sociologists and anthropologists have shown that this is an elementary feature of society and not just one aspect: Urban planning thus completes the exclusion of nature that begins with agriculture. In the artifice of the urban landscape, it becomes a matter of judgment as to how much 'natural nature' one still allows in. Nature is filtered at will. The fact that man lives in an object world that he has created himself also means that he can push everything that is not an artefact to the side.” (Heinrich Popitz: Der Aufbruch zum Artificiale Gesellschaft. Zur Anthropologie der Technik. Mohr, Tuebingen 1995, p. 133).
  36. "As the world population increases from 2.5 billion people in 1950 to 6.5 billion in 2005 and an estimated 8.2 billion in 2030, the relative proportions of rural and urban populations are also changing. In 1950, only 29 percent of the world's population lived in cities; today, it's about half. According to estimates by the UN/DESA, the proportion will increase further to around 61 percent by 2030. There are already two and a half as many city dwellers living 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 over the same period. In China and India alone, the absolute urban population 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 Agency for Civic Education, (PDF; 505 kB) with figures from UN/DESA:WorldPopulationProspects:The2004Revision, WorldUrbanizationProspects:The2003Rev. Status: June 2006.
  37. Mutua 2002, p. 6.
  38. "Speciesism [...] is found in the preamble of human rights, in the 'recognition of the inherent dignity of all members of human society'" (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, preamble).
  39. "Nationalism, the affirmative reference to people and nation, is legitimized by the discourse on 'People of the United Nations' (Preamble)."
  40. "The family is the natural nucleus of society" (Art. 16 Para. 3), and not bands (groups, hordes) or living communities.
  41. The powerful confederation of states of the United Nations declares itself to be sacrosanct, untouchable and sanctified by refusing the otherwise demanded right of asylum in the case of actions “that violate the goals and principles of the United Nations” (Art. 14 para. 2) .
  42. "Property is guaranteed by Article 17, paragraph 1."
  43. "Sedentary status is established as the norm in that Art. 13, para. 1, guarantees the right "to choose one's domicile freely" (cf. "Housing", Art. 25).
  44. Total order and authority is established by Article 28: "Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration may be fully realized".
  45. 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 attained by all peoples and nations, so that each individual and all organs of society shall strive to promote, through instruction and education, respect for these values ​​and freedoms [...]. "
  46. Education, or ethnologically speaking, literacy, the ability to read and write, are exceptionally openly elevated to dogma. Apparently, everyone believed they were in agreement with all serious people: “Everyone has a right to education. […] Elementary education is compulsory” (Article 26(1)).
  47. Condorcet's majority dictatorship is declared the philosopher's stone by Article 21, paragraph 3. "The will of the people [...] must be expressed through periodic undistorted elections".
  48. The total information and penetration claim 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 decreed in Art. 19. "Everyone has the right [...] and freedom, regardless of frontiers, to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any means."
  49. Jail, punishment and deportation are indirectly authorized by Article 9 when there is no arbitrariness: "No one shall be arbitrarily arrested, detained, or deported from the country." to convince as long as human rights are in force.
  50. "Development" and "a better standard of living in greater freedom" are formulated as goals in the preamble. The standard of living means complete artificial care guaranteed by the welfare state, as Art. 25 explains: "Health, well-being including nutrition, clothing, accommodation, medical care, social benefits".
  51. "Scientific progress and its benefits" are extolled in Article 27. Cf. H. Schulz Meinen, “Dogmas of Human Rights”, p. 32 ff., in: ibid. “Die Staatsreligion. Human rights versus nature conservation”, Diagonal: Marburg 2000.
  52. B. Almond: Rights and Justice in the environmental debate. In Cooper D, Palmer J (eds): Just Environments. Intergenerational, international and interspecies justice. Routledge, London 1995, pp. 1-17.
  53. T Hayward, Interspecies Solidarity. In: T Hayward, J O'Neill (eds): Justice, Propery and the Environment. Aldershot Publ., Ashgate 1997.
  54. Earth Charter. The text
  55. Klaus Bosselmann: The Earth Charter: Draft of an ethics of sustainability. In: Nature and culture. 5/1, 2002, pp. 115-125.
  56. 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.
  57. On intellectuals as norm setters and norm goals, see Donate Pahnke, professor for comparative religious studies at the University of Bremen, who first refers to a criticism by the religious scholar Hubert Seiwert of the "supposition" that "modern civilization and the way of life of its intellectuals represent the hitherto highest form (in the evaluative sense) of social and intellectual development” (SEIWERT 1987:56). Pahnke asks what the perfect human being looks like. She comes to the conclusion that the social ideal is the educated citizen.
  58. "We have seen that the image of the ideal man corresponds to the image of the ideal man, i. H. the image of the adult, mature, white, healthy, heterosexual, educated, post-conventional, formal-operative male. In fact, this population group is practically the only one for which there are no special development institutions. This population group forms the benchmark, the point of reference for the assessment of what is normal or what is healthy; it sets up the relevant norms and ensures that the norms are implemented.” See 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 religious studies at the University of Leipzig: “Science as religion? On the rationality of modern and pre-modern forms of life. A critique of modernity's claim to superiority”, expanded version of a lecture given 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 image of man (=  1992 yearbook of the Academy Forum Masonicum ), Röhrig, St. Ingbert 1993, pp. 65-84.
  59. The first positive portrayal of intellectuals and their attempts at domination that belongs here can be found in the sociologist of religion Emile Durkheim, who, in the French Dreyfus Affair of 1898, formulated after Emile Zola's "J'accuse" that it is precisely individualism that guarantees cohesion in a complex State with increasing division of labor, which became ever larger and more centralized. It was drafted by the “spiritualists” Kant and Rousseau and “formulated more or less happily in the Declaration of Human Rights” (Durkheim 1986, p. 57). Key Thought: "There is no reason of state that could justify an attack on the person when the rights of the person are above the state" (Emile Durkheim, 1986 [1898] "The Individualism and the 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, member of the Academie Française, and his warning that intellectuals could leave France after the Plunging the Dreyfus affair into anarchy, in: Après le procès, Revue des deux mondes, 4e periode, plate 146, 67e année (March 15, 1898), pp. 428-446; reprinted in: idem., "La science sociale et l'action”, edited by JC Filloux, Paris: PUF 1970], in: Hans Bertram (ed.), Gesellschaftlicher Zwang und moral Autonomie , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1986, p.
  60. "This human person [...] is considered sacred [...]. It has something of that transcendental majesty which the churches of all ages bestow upon their gods” (Durkheim 1986, pp. 56 f.). Those who murder people, attack the liberty or honor of others "fill us with a feeling of abhorrence"; 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 particular authority" (ibid., p. 62), "a set of operative ideals, moral beliefs and practices", summarizes Stephen Lukes (Steven Lukes: "Conclusion" , in: M Carrithers/S Collins/S Lukes [eds.], The Category of the Person, Anthropology, Philosophy, History , Cambridge 1985, pp 282–301, here p 339, appendix): "[ T]he religion of the individual [is] a social institution like all known religions.” (Durkheim 1986, p. 66) “The supreme dogma” in the “cult of man” is “the autonomy of reason”, “the supreme rite is free examination (ibid., p. 60) Intellectuals should continue this religion here.
  61. ODS home page. Retrieved 23 June 2021 .
  62. On to a UN treaty! In: Retrieved 23 June 2021 .
  63. "Needless to say, this is the picture of emancipation par excellence: 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 becomes in fact the only totality, and this is the result of the artificialist project of modernity [...]."(Dumont 1977, p. 252, FN 14, trans. H. Schulz Meinen) Cf. Louis Dumont, "Homo aequalis", Volume I, Genesis et épanouissement de l'idéologie économique, 'Bibliothèque des Sciences humaines', Paris: Gallimard; reed. 1985; english "From Mandeville to Marx. The Genesis and Triumph of Economic Ideology", Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1977.
  64. "The development goal is progressive artificialization. More and more components of the existing living environment and of the human body itself are to be improved by artificial elements. This doctrine [may] be called artificialism. Many human societies have followed the norm of action for a long time - albeit to very different degrees. The use of fire and agriculture can be cited as early, reconstructable examples of this. Civilization is a synonym for this.” See Haimo Schulz Meinen: Die Staatsreligion. Human rights versus nature conservation. (= religious studies series). Diagonal-Verlag, Marburg 2000, p. 168.
  65. "The background to the action norm is the goal of achieving 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 human groups, however, it is not implemented with inherited but with cultural means. The expansion of living and creative spaces is always at the expense of other groups or species. This is legitimized in the human image of human rights by 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 the cultural distance to one's own model. […]” Cf. Haimo Schulz Meinen: The state religion. Human rights versus nature conservation. (= religious studies series). Diagonal-Verlag, Marburg 2000, p. 168.
  66. "Following Durkheim's theses, it is possible to analyze the concept of human rights as an intellectual 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) were normal outcomes of the religious history to be examined. Human rights form only an identity-establishing collection of these results. Human rights' image of man successfully conceals and camouflages the difference between inherited and optional, cultural characteristics of man. Human rights seem destined to gradually completely replace existing nature – 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.
  67. LSVD
  69. Cf. Human Rights ( Memento of 4 March 2016 in the Internet Archive ). In:
  70. Cf. Lasse Heerten: Review of: Klose, Fabian: Human rights in the shadow of colonial violence. The decolonization wars in Kenya and Algeria 1945–1962. Munich 2009 . In: H-Soz-u-Kult. March 18, 2010.
  71. 2 introductory (bilingual) & further essays by the ed., in French: Niklas Luhmann , Hauke ​​Brunkhorst ; in German Étienne Balibar , Claude Lefort