The signing of the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776 was the first time in history a statement approaching universal human rights had been expressed. The opening section of the declaration reads: “That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights.” This moral and legal idea reappeared in the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen from 1789, article 1 of which states: “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.” In 1948, the United Nations adopted the idea once again when it drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 1 proclaims: “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.” The main principles embodied in the un Declaration are: universality (for all), equality (all people are equal in rights including women, children and people of other religions or races) and indivisibility (e.g. freedom from torture, and freedom of speech). Substantively, these principles comprise both negative rights, such as freedom from torture and slavery, as well as positive rights, such as the right to a
Comparative Sociology – Brill
Published: Feb 20, 2018
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