Topic 1: Human rights Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Topic 1: Human rights Deck (28)
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Definition of human rights

basic entitlements and freedoms believed to belong to all human beings


Features of human rights

they are:
- universal
- indivisible
- inherent
- inalienable


First generation rights

Civil and Political rights (Individual)
- Civil and political rights BOTH protect the individual from the arbitrary exercise of power by the state
- Found in Article 1-21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (1966)
- Liberté = freedom
- Can be both positive (freedom of movement) or negative (freedom from slavery)
- The state can be required to take positive action in order to protect other civil and political rights such as establishing courts and training police and the judiciary.


Second generation rights

Economic, Social and Cultural (individual)
- Recognised after civil and political rights
- Concerned with the material and cultural wellbeing of people
- Égalité = equality
- Found in articles 22-30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ICESC) (1966))
- They usually need positive government action to ensure they are being fulfilled e.g. an adequate health system requires government spending on health care and hospitals.


Third generation rights

Self-determination, Peace, Environment (Collective)
- Only emerged in recent years
- Belong to people as a whole not individuals
- International in scope and can only be addressed by global cooperation
- Fraternité = brotherhood
- Status in international law is not clear yet, but have been recognised in international treaties in declarations
- E.g. the Kyoto protocol protecting the environment from greenhouse gas emissions by nations cutting their greenhouse gas emissions by agreed amounts in certain timeframes.


Abolition of slavery

Definition: forced labour, property of another. ‘Objects not subjects’
- Debt slavery – pay off a loan with slavery rather than money, punishment for crime, prisoners of war.
- consequence of colonisation – slaves used to exploit natural resources (17C-19C)
- Transatlantic slave trade – exchange of products for slaves.
- Abolitionism – movement to abolish slavery- gradual from 18C. First in Britain, later British Empire and the USA


Trade Unionism

Definition: the policies and practices of trade unions.
- Conventional labour – legal means of securing large numbers of workers
- Workplaces regulated according to status e.g. serfs were agricultural labourers, large in number but little power
- Regulation favoured employers – compelled labourers to work not protect
- Industrial Revolution – emergence of trade unions responding to poor wages, safety and working conditions
- Trade unions had power because of strikes – employers have to listen
- Laws criminalised unions – some arrested, penalised


Universal Suffrage

Definition: gives the right to vote to all adult citizens
- Only recently unrestricted. Previously restricted based on status (property ownership), gender (men), race (excluded indigenous e.g. Native American), nationality.
- Several European countries acknowledged the right to vote for both men and women, however this was never implemented in practice
- Acknowledges a push towards equal voting rights
- NZ: First Self-governing country to grant access for all women to vote (1893)
- First great acknowledgment of human rights, however limited to one country


Universal Education

Definition: the ability of all people to have equal opportunity in education
- Formal education in earliest times was associated with wealth and power
- The church was one of the first to take on role of educator in Europe e.g. Sunday school taught reading, writing and arithmetic.
- Industrialisation increased demand for a literate educated workforce therefore government increased funding and increased provision of education and made education compulsory


Environmental rights

Definition: The right of people to enjoy a clean and safe environment overtime.
- A collective right, meaning there has to be global action
- Kyoto protocol adopted in 1997 - countries that ratify it commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions - Binding on countries to commit to preserving the environment and more significant drive of environmental protection
- 2017 Paris Agreement - the most significant global cooperation regarding climate change. US has withdrawn, but some of the largest polluters, India and China, are signatories. A growing recognition for scientific theories and needs to preserve the environment as it is at greater risk.



Definition: The right of all peoples to ‘freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.’
- A true collective right
- It was first recognised when internationally recognised states emerged
- Example: Timor Leste, went to the UN wanting independence from Indonesia
- Example: Yugoslavia, Slovenia and Croatia fighting for independence


Peace rights

Definition: The entitlement of all people to live in a safe and peaceful environment, free from conflict which requires global cooperation to achieve.
- A peaceful and secure environment is critical to every society since it affects all aspects of economic and social development in a country and is necessary for the realisation of human rights.
- Peace rights can only be protected and promoted through an international organisation.
- there was need to practice tolerance and live together in peace as good neighbours, and to unite to maintain international peace and security in order for peace rights to be achieved.
Challenges in creating peace rights:
- A lack of international consensus on a right to peace
- Some states criticised the draft for being too vague or controversial
- Several states also highlighted the importance of the principle of national sovereignty and the right to self-defence set out in the UN Charter


Evolving recognition of the Abolition of slavery

Domestic recognition:
- 1772 – Common Law decision ruled slavery in Britain illegal
- Slave Trade Act 1807 (UK) ended slave trade in British colonies.
- 1808 USA followed
- Slavery Abolition Act 1833 (UK) abolished slavery in Britain – all remaining slaves in Empire freed
- 1776 US Declaration of Independence – ‘all men are created equal’. Main cause of civil war.
- US Constitution Thirteenth Amendment – abolished slavery
Universal recognition:
- 1926 - League of Nations Slavery Convention abolished slavery worldwide
- (the League of Nations was precursor to UN)
- Article 4 UDHR- (1948) prohibited slavery


Evolving recognition of Trade Unionism

Domestic recognition:
- 1871 Trade Unions Act (UK) gave unions legal status in Britain
- 1890’s Unions in Australia formed their own political party (ALP)
Universal recognition:
- 1919 International Labour Organisation (ILO) formed as an agency of the League of Nations. Their aim to improve conditions for workers around the world
- Apart from slavery, workers’ rights were one of the few areas that League of Nations promoted HR’s
- Article 23 and 24 UDHR (1948)
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR) (1966)


Evolving recognition of Universal Suffrage

Domestic recognition:
- Representation of the People Act 1918 (UK) – vote given to all males
- 1893 – NZ women given right to vote
- 1894 – south Australian women right to vote
- 1902 – all Australian women
- 1918 – UK limited right for women to vote
- US Constitution Nineteenth Amendment 1920 – women right to vote
- 1870 US Constitution Fifteenth Amendment vote extended to all adult males (post-civil war)
- Australia indigenous right to vote since Federation 1901 (but not compulsory)
Universal recognition:
-Article 21 UDHR – right to vote


Evolving recognition of Universal Education

Domestic recognition:
- Education Act 1870 (UK) – in 1880 was made compulsory age 5-10, up to 12 in 1889
- Public Instruction Act 1880 (NSW) – govt took control of schools except for Catholic (free, secular) School age increased to 17yrs in 2010
Universal recognition:
- Article 26 UDHR
- Millennium Goal – universal primary education (achieve by 2015)


Evolving recognition of Environment rights

- The African Charter on Human and People’s rights (1931) – which outlines the right to a satisfactory environment. Not effective (a global effort, not regional)
- Stockholm Declaration (1972) – first major agreement to recognise a responsibility to protect the environment. Not very effective (goals and objectives that were too broad, not action)
- Kyoto Protocol (1997) – agreement to combat climate change. Limited effectiveness (binding, countries were reluctant to sign on)
- The Paris Agreement (2016) – a convention to accelerate anti-global-warming efforts. Limited effectiveness (nationally determined contributions mean countries are doing the bare minimum, “countries need to double and triple their efforts to achieve the Paris target” sir Robert Watson)


Evolving recognition of Self-determination

- Independence of East Timor (Timor Leste). Occupied by Indonesia from 1975. Indonesia agreed to a UN sponsored referendum for independence
- Timor Leste gained the right to self-determination in 2002
- Former Yugoslavia and succession of states within the republic. Republic of Yugoslavia formed after WW1. Made up of 7 countries including Bosnia, Serbia and Slovenia. Slovenia and Croatia sought independence in 1991
- The Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Uluru Statement


Evolving recognition of Peace rights

- 1919 Peace Conference – created the Treaty of Versailles and established the League of Nations whose primary aim was to prevent war
- Article 1 in the UN Charter (1945) articulated the aim to – ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’
- UN Security Council was given authority to take action to restore peace
- 1984 Declaration on the Rights of Peoples to Peace, although non-binding explicitly made the link between peace and human rights
- The Rome Statute (2002) established the International Criminal Court with the power to try individuals for war crimes
- The Declaration on the Right to Peace (2016) was ratified by the UN General Assembly although it was challenging determining the text of the declaration.


The Magna Carta (1215)

- Established the rule of law
- Recognised that a king has limited power over individuals
- King John signed the magna carta only because he would have been overthrown if he didn’t
- Important entitlements: the right of all citizens to own and inherit land, the church to be free from governmental interference


English Bill of Rights (1689)

- Helped consolidate what was laid out in the magna carta
- Purpose to ensure that parliament could function without royal interference
- It established individual rights like freedom of speech and freedom from violence


US Declaration of Independence (1776)

- A response to British colonial repression
- “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”
- They wished to be recognised as independent


The Constitution of the US (1787)

- Based on the separation of powers (ensures that nobody has absolute power)
- Protects the individual from the arbitrary abuse of powers by the state


French Declaration on the Rights of man and the citizen (1789)

- First attempt to create international human rights
- French people overthrew their absolute monarchy and brought about a republic based on the principles of equality, liberty and fraternity
- Protected the right to democratic government and equality before the law


US Bill of Rights (1791)

- The first 10 amendments to the constitution (1787)
- Set a trend for a specific document pertaining to human rights in domestic legislation


Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

- Non-binding by highly influential
- Universal recognition that basic rights and fundamental freedoms are inherent to all humans
- The commitment has been translated into law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles, and domestic law
- Led to more than 80 international human rights treaties and declarations


International covenant on civil and political rights (ICCPR) (1966)

- Covers first generation rights
- Protect the individual from the arbitrary exercise of power by the state


International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ICESCR) (1966)

- Covers second generation rights
- Concerned with material and cultural wellbeing