Portal:Human rights

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Human rights are commonly understood as "inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being". Human rights are thus conceived as universal (applicable everywhere) and egalitarian (the same for everyone). These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national and international law.

The doctrine of human rights has been a cornerstone of public policy around the world – in international practice, within international law, global and regional institutions, in the policies of states and in the activities of non-governmental organization. In The idea of human rights it says: "if the public discourse of peacetime global society can be said to have a common moral language, it is that of human rights". Despite this, the strong claims made by the doctrine of human rights continue to provoke considerable skepticism and debates about the content, nature and justifications of human rights to this day. Indeed, the question of what is meant by a "right" is itself controversial and the subject of continued philosophical debate.

Many of the basic ideas that animated the movement developed in the aftermath of the Second World War and the atrocities of the Shoah, culminating in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

In 1949, 10 governments — Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom — set up the Council of Europe. It paved the way for the introduction of the European Convention on Human Rights, adopted in 1950, and the establishment of the European Court of Human Rights, to supervise states’ compliance with the convention.

The modern concept of human rights developed during the early Modern period, alongside the European secularization of Judeo-Christian ethics. The true forerunner of human rights discourse was the concept of natural rights which appeared as part of the medieval natural law tradition that became prominent during the Enlightenment with such philosophers as John Locke, Francis Hutcheson, and Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, and featured prominently in the political discourse of the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

Selected article

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Multiculturalism in Canada in the sense of equal acceptance of races, religions and cultures was adopted as the official policy of the Canadian government during the prime ministership of Pierre Elliot Trudeau in the 1970s and 1980s. The Canadian government has been described as the instigator of multiculturalism as an ideology because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration. The Canadian Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism is often referred to as the origins of modern political awareness of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is reflected in the law through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act and section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Despite the official policies, segments of the Canadian population are critical of the concept(s) of a cultural mosaic and implantation(s) of multiculturalism.

Random picture

Sign in Durban that states the beach is for whites only under South African apartheid laws. (1989)
Credit: Guinnog
Sign in Durban (1989) that states the beach is for whites only under South African apartheid laws. The languages are English, Afrikaans (the language of the white minority which formed the ruling class in Apartheid South Africa), and isiZulu, the language of the dominant black population group in the Durban area.


Did you know...

... that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into force on May 3, 2008?

... that Tom Kahn organized American unions' $300,000 aid to the Polish labor-union Solidarity in 1979–1981, despite Secretary of State Muskie's warnings that this aid might provoke a new Soviet invasion?

Random quote

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

Selected biography

William Wilberforce by Karl Anton Hickel, ca. 1794

William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was a British politician, a philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780 and became the independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire (1784–1812). In 1785, he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, resulting in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform. In 1787, he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists, including Granville Sharp, Hannah More and Charles Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807.

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Wikinews human rights category

Current events
  • July 3: German Bundestag votes for same-sex marriage
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  • March 27: Six aid workers dead in ambush in South Sudan
  • March 16: U.S. judge blocks second Trump travel ban
  • January 27: Protesters dance for gay rights, health care at Philadelphia 'Queer Rager'
  • January 26: Official death toll from Nigerian refugee camp airstrike passes 100
  • December 30: Uruguay ex-ruler Gregorio Alvarez dies at age 91
  • December 15: Evacuation corridor allows rebels and civilians to leave Aleppo
  • December 13: Detained journalist Mohamed Tamalt dies in Algeria

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