Re: Working definition of HRE



In my initial comment I did not say that human rights were conditional on
good behaviour. Yes, everyone has the right to rights. What I meant was that
nobody has the right to enforce his rights by infringing on somebody else's.

It is a bit confusing: so an example is forthcoming. All al-Qaeda
terrorists claim that they are a religious movement and that they like
everyone else have their religious freedoms to protect by killing other
people if need be, they also have the right to confine women to their homes
and deprive them of the right to human life, education, etc . Not so serious:
young people have the right to demonstrate and express their disagreement
with the activities of the World Bank - do they, however, have the right to
demolish other people's private property in the process, to injure police men,
should teenagers be given the right to injure their teachers just because
they disagree with them? And we could go on and on. Human rights are
certainly not given for "good behaviour", but I wonder should they possibly
not be given to those who respect the dignity and rights of other people?

Best regards,

Jana Ondrckov


George Kent <kent@hawaii.edu> wrote:

 > The critical point, I think, is that rights are held unconditionally. One
 > does not "earn" them by giving good behavior in exchange. Yes, the UDHR
 > says we all have some responsibilities. However, it does not say that our
 > enjoyment of the rights is conditional on our fulfilling those
 > responsibilities.
 >
 > There is an exception in that people may be deprived of selected specific
 > rights if they are convicted of crimes. However, this is exceptional. In
 > normal life, outside of judicial punishments, we don't have to do anything
 > in order to have our basic human rights.
 >
 > Rights are free in the sense that we own them unconditionally. They are not
 > based on a social contract type of arrangement in which we get rights in
 > exchange for something else.
 >
 > At least that's my understanding. I don't see anything in the international
 > human rights instruments that contradicts this view.
 >



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