How Human Rights Came to Be


Human rights appertain to a set of principles in relation to equality and justice.

Said to be created for the purpose of living without discrimination, human rights pursue to further develop and expand its possibilities for human beings.

This article will introduce the origin of human rights, the importance of its birth and what we should take away from it.

Origin of Human Rights

A revolutionary doctrine for the development of human society, human rights had a significant influence that dates back to the ancient civilizations of Babylon, China and India.

It is said that there are 6 major factors that led to the birth of human rights.

  • Indivisibility
  • Equality and Non-discrimination
  • Interdependence and Interrelatedness
  • Universality and Inalienability
  • Participation and Inclusion

Human rights act as the standard for the acknowledgement and protection of dignity for all human beings.

Below is a deeper look into the 6 features of the origin of human rights.


All human rights are equal and entitled by nature. Acquired by birth, it cannot be robbed nor handed over by others.

Even having committed a crime, you cannot be stripped of basic rights such as internal freedom, right of opinion, conscience and other basic rights.

In rare cases, for the objective of conserving a democratic society, it was decided that the restriction of freedom of expression be allowed.

“All human rights are indivisible and interdependent. This means that one set of rights cannot be enjoyed fully without the other. For example, making progress in civil and political rights makes it easier to exercise economic, social and cultural rights. Similarly, violating economic, social and cultural rights can negatively affect many other rights.”

Reference:”What are human rights? – OHCHR”

Equality and Non-discrimination

Equality and Non-discrimination

Human rights must remain fair and equal to all, regardless of economic or social status.

All individuals must be impartially protected by human rights.

“Non-discrimination cuts across all international human rights law. This principle is present in all major human rights treaties. It also provides the central theme of 2 core instruments: The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.”

Reference:”What are human rights? – OHCHR”

Interdependence and Interrelatedness

You cannot make decisions to adopt or reject, nor can you give yourself an advantage over others.

As each person’s human rights complement each other, it is also considered a right to be free from interference from others or the state.

If there are inconsistencies or discrepancies in human rights between individuals, there would be a chain reaction of detrimental consequences.

Universality and Inalienability

Human rights are possessed by all and is something that people cannot be deprived of.

Human rights are universal in that all people are entitled to them. It is said that daily life would not be made possible if it were not for the existence of human rights.

“The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This means that we are all equally entitled to our human rights. This principle, as first emphasized in the UDHR, is repeated in many international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions.
Human rights are inalienable. They should not be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. For example, the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law.”

Reference:”What are human rights? – OHCHR”

Participation and Inclusion

Human rights assure just opportunities for social participation and aims to create a society in which all can express themselves freely.

It also allows people to construct communities that they desire.

Everyone has the freedom to believe in any religion of their choice, as well as the freedom to express any concerns they may have relating to policy.

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Reference:”Universal Declaration of Human Rights – United Nations”

Accountability and Rule of Law

Everyone must obey the law with no exception, even political power.

The fundamental existence of law maintains order in society.

Nevertheless, reliability and integrity is lost whenever the law is used without necessity.

International Human Rights Law

International human rights law stipulates the rights and freedoms of people, counting the conditions that ensure human rights guarantees are designated and agreed upon by international organizations.

International human rights can be largely divided into the following 4 essential features:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • Political Rights
  • Human Rights Treaty

The United Nations has formulated a mechanism for the State to execute its responsibilities by promoting and protecting human rights.

The 4 features of international human rights law are explained below.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was declared on December 10th, 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris.

It is stipulated as “a common standard that all people and all nations should achieve”, and served as a breakthrough to protect and claim the guarantee of human rights.
However, it is important to note that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not legally binding.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Economic Social and Cultural Rights

Economic, social and cultural rights were issued and declared in 1976, protecting the following rights:

  • Right to Desirable Work and Favorable Terms
  • Right to Social Protection, a Sufficient Standard of Living and the Highest Level of Physical and Mental Well-being
  • Right to Education, Cultural Freedom and the Right to the Benefits of Scientific Progress

The above rights must be protected for all without discrimination.

Political Rights

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Elective Protocol were published in 1976.

The Covenant discloses 2 elective protocols:

  • First-elective Protocol: The right to petition an individual who claims to have infringed the rights written out in the Covenant.
  • Second-elective Protocol: Establishing Substantial Obligation to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Everyone is given the right to self-determination and have the freedom to pursue economic, social and cultural development.

Individuals are responsible for realizing their societal obligations and promoting the rights proclaimed in the Covenant.

Human Rights Treaty

The International Human Rights Treaty adopted in1945 was further expanded after its establishment.

  • 1948:Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Massacre Crimes
  • 1965:International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • 1979:Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • 1989:Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • 2006:Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Who is Responsible for Protecting Human Rights?

Human rights create a connection between people through the responsibilities and obligations they have to others and the community.

Everyone has a responsibility to assure that they exercise their rights, while also taking into consideration the rights of those around them.

Governments also have a responsibility to confirm and guarantee that everyone understand their rights and maintain laws and services to respect human rights.

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

Reference:”Universal Declaration of Human Rights – United Nations”

As an indispensable aspect of society, we have reconfirmed the importance and irreplaceable nature of human rights.

Importance of Human Rights

Importance of Human Rights

Features designated to people through human rights such as equality, respect and tolerance help in reducing friction and disharmony in society and are imperative to creating a complacent society.

Societal interactions that people may participate in are as follows:

  • Family
  • Community
  • School
  • Work Place
  • Politics
  • International Relations
  • A deeper understanding of human rights is a crucial factor as it aids in further promoting the well-being of society.

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