Sie sind auf Seite 1von 8

The Rights of Man Today

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

9:45 AM
By Louis Henkin

Human rights
-- product of modern history
-- reflects particular political theories while it rejects others

• The equality and dignity of man are supported by the Genesis story of the
common ancestor of mankind and by the fatherhood of God to all men
• Human rights derive from "natural rights" flowing from "natural law"
• Church rooted natural law in divine authority and gave it the quality as highest
• Natural law theory emphasized duties imposed by God on every human
society in an orderly cosmos
• Society's duties came to be seen as natural rights for the individual

Human rights today is a kind of mixture eighteenth century thesis and nineteenth
century antithesis

The Eighteenth Century Thesis

*American and French Revolutions -- rights of man had divine foundations plus
a social-contract base
• All men are created equal
• The creator granted everyone certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness
• To secure the above rights, governments were instituted among men
• The governments derive their powers from the PEOPLE

The Virginia Declaration of Rights

1. All men are by nature equally free and independent. Everyone
also possesses inherent rights.
2. All power is vested in the people.
3. The government is instituted for the COMMON BENEFIT of the
The rights of man are natural in the sense that nature created and
inspired man's reason and judgment for it to be so.
The rights of man are natural in the sense that every man is born with
The rights of man are natural in the sense that it is man's natural state
to be free and autonomous.
Before the government was established, the individual is sovereign.
Thus his sovereignty is carried over to the government, that is why
governments derive their power from the people -- from each sovereign
The government is established only thru the CONSENT of the

Eighteenth Century Rights

• Magna Carta: a freeman shall be punished only by the lawful judgment
of his peers or by the law of the land became rule of law became due
process of law
• Petition of Rights (1628), Agreement of the People (1647), Bill of Rights
(1688): representative government, suffrage, freedom of religion, freedom
from religious discrimination
• Rights of man were born in revolution (here it can be traced to U.S.
fighting for its independence against Great Britain)
• Thomas Paine: representative government is the human right
• The framers of the constitution knew that democracy is fallible. In the
hands of a few, this power (executive, legislative and judiciary) would
prove to be dangerous thus separation of powers was born as well as other
checks and balances.
• Locke: rights of life, liberty and property
• Declaration or Independence: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
• Bill of Rights: political freedom, security and privacy, rights for the
• The individual was protected against the government
• The Constitution was to promote the general welfare
• It was not the purpose of government to provide the citizen with food or
work or social security, only to promote education found its way in these
early constitutions.

French Legacy
• French Declaration: presumption of innocence
• "Liberty consists in the power to do anything that does not injure another."
• Taxes should be appropriated from its citizen according to their means
Human Rights: Universal? Indivisible? Interdependent?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
10:16 AM
By Rene V. Sarmiento

• The rights that make man and woman human according to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights are:
o Civil rights
o Political rights
• Other kinds of rights: economic, social and cultural rights
• Civil and political rights are those rights that serve as protection of the
individual from the arbitrary exercise of State power such as right to life, liberty
and security of person; right against torture, right to equal protection against any
discrimination, right against arbitrary arrest and detention
• Economic, social and cultural rights are those rights concerned with material,
social and cultural welfare of persons such as right to work, right to social
security, right to form and join trade unions, right to education

Human rights: Universal? Indivisible and Interdependent?

• Yes. Human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent.
• The principle of universality means that rights belong to everyone without
distinction as to race, gender, religion, other modes of classification.
• Human rights belong to everyone wherever they are (be they on the moon or
below the sea) because they are human beings endowed with dignity.
• Human rights founded on the principle of equal dignity of human beings.
• The principle of indivisibility and interdependence of human rights means that
civil and political, social and cultural rights are interrelated and bear equal
• These rights form an indivisible whole.
• Only if these rights are guaranteed can an individual live decently and in
dignity -- free from fear and want.
• "A hungry man does not much have freedom of choice. But also true, a well fed
man who does not have freedom of choice, he cannot protect himself against
going hungry."
• Critics say though that human rights are Western and bourgeois-liberal
constructs reflecting a Western world view, born out of European political
history and imperialism. They say human rights are relative, determined by
political and economic circumstance of each country.
• Chinese use this theory of relativity of rights to secure their economy.
• But these criticisms are not persuasive. Universal human rights are deeply
rooted in different countries with many cultures and different political and
economic structures.
• Asia-Pacific NGOs: “the ideal of free human beings enjoying freedoms from
fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone
may enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights as well as their civil and
political rights.”
• Threats to human rights: war, violence, hunger and poverty, unfair distribution
of wealth, intolerance, racism, xenophobia, religious fanaticism and
Concept of “MAN” and “SOCIETY” of Dr. Jose Rizal, Emilio
Jacinto and Apolinario Mabini
By Cesar Adib Majul

I.Rizal’s Concept of “Man” and “Society”

• First principle: Man by nature possessed certain intellectual and moral
• Second principle: the potentialities of man tend towards progress and growth
• Third principle: any attempt to stifle or repress man’s potentialities morally
disfigures him
• There is an intrinsic value in man which must be left unmolested or allowed to
• Every creation has its stimulus, man’s is his self-respect.
• Freedom means that condition which man is allowed the full development of
both his intellectual and moral faculties and where he can keep his self-respect.
• “To make a people criminal, there’s nothing more needed than to doubt its
• An immoral government stems from its rulers. A disorderly house should be
blamed on the head of house. But the children are not without blame, he who
submits to tyranny loves it.
• Like master, like slave! Like government, like country.
• Rizal wanted to instill in his fellow Filipinos two things: (1) need to develop
intellectual virtues like love of study, just and noble things (2) cultivation of
moral virtues and possession of dignity both personal and racial
• Rizal’s notion of freedom developed and became thus: when man has reached
the stage of personal discipline, intellectual integrity and moral uplift combined
with love of country.
• The first notion of freedom was a social condition in which man was allowed to
develop his natural inclinations and self-respect. The second notion refers to the
qualities of a man who has actually developed his natural inclinations.
• Education is the prerequisite to being free.

II.Jacinto and Teachings of the Katipunan

• There were certain qualities such as liberty and equality which by nature
belonged to man
• Freedom is a situation where no tyrant restrained man’s actions and his actions
are guided by what is reasonable
• Equality of men: regardless of race and talents, there is no difference between
them as man to man
• Freedom may be lost when some self-serving individuals instigate discord
among their fellowmen in order to perpetuate their self-interests.
• Freedom is also lost because of the attempts of government officials to
perpetuate their power. These officials also propagate certain habits of mind
and traditions to keep people under their power.
• Evil is a situation developed and found in society. Evil came about when a
group of men used the government as a tool to foster their own interests.
• Freedom and equality can be recaptured by the development of reason in the
people. This will make the people realize their love for mankind at the same
time making them hate and fight tyranny.
• Reason = respect and love of God.
• Through education, freedom can be recaptured and tyranny banished.
• Jacinto belonged to tradition of Rosseau’s Social Contract theory saying that
man is born free, but in society he is reduced to servitude.
• The Kartilla presented rules for the behaviour of the katipuneros. It also defiend
what is nobility of character.
• Man is noble if his manners are under proper restraint, if his character is
unsullied, if he doesn’t tyrannize or oppress anyone, if he loves his country.
• Just and noble: actions should aim at virtue for their own sake and not for the
furthering of their personal interests.
• Charity is important and men should love one another.
• Also just and noble: defend the oppressed, fight the oppressor of one’s country,
not tolerate tyranny and above all love one’s country.
• The Katipunan investigated its members and compelled those pursuing vices to
give them up especially if they were against moral virtues.
III. Mabini’s Concept of Man and Society
• God gave man his life thus it is both his right and duty to preserve it with all of
his abilities.
• All the means man can maintain to his life should be reasonable.
• Happiness is the enjoyment or just satisfaction of the honest necessities of
rational man.
• Freedom – right to preserve life provided that the actions are reasonable.
• All men, by possessing life, are equal to each other regardless of race, color or
• Right to life, right to happiness are all inalienable having God as the ultimate
• Society came about when men entered into economic relations with one
another in order that their talents and products be used more effectively to
satisfy their various needs. (Man cannot live alone.)
• Society is a system of mutual help.
• Mabini also believed in Rosseau’s theory that man lost his freedom through
force or guile propagated by self-serving men who live at the expense of others.
• Filipinos’ loss of natural liberty was due to another nation imposing their
sovereignty over them.
• We need both an internal and external revolution. We should change our ways
of thinking and behaving.
• Also needed is a radical change of institutions.
Rizal: Filipinos’ loss of freedom was due to their tolerance of Spanish tyranny.
Jacinto: theory of society as an appeal to Filipinos to recover their rights by separating
from Spain
Mabini: his theory was to justify revolution against Spain and resist America
Freedom from Fear
By Aung San Suu Kyid

Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield that power.

Fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.
The four a-gati/ four kinds of corruption:
• Chanda-gati – corruption induced by desire. Deviation from the right path in
pursuit of bribes or for the sake of their loved ones.
• Dosa-gati – taking the wrong path to spite against those they bear ill will
• Moga-gati – corruption due to ignorance
• Bhaya-gati – the worst kind. Bhaya stifles and slowly destroys all sense of
right and wrong. It is also the root of the above three.
• Chanda-gati is the result of greed. Soon the fear of being surpassed or
humiliated follows paving the path for ill will (dosa-gati rears now its ugly
head.) Ignorance will be difficult to dispel if the truth is fettered by fear.
• Fear and corruption are very closely interrelated.
• Bogyoke Aung San: Each and everyone must make sacrifices in order to enjoy
true freedom. One must not depend on another’s courage and intrepidity.
• Revolution truly occurs when there is a change in mental attitudes and values.
This will change the shape and course of a nation’s development.
• A mere external revolution that changes officials, policies and institutions
looking to improve material conditions has little chance of genuine success.
There must be the revolution of the spirit!
• Free men are the oppressed who go on trying. In the process, they make
themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and uphold the disciplines which will
maintain free society.
• Philosophy of ancient India: The greatest gift for an individual or nation was
abhaya or fearlessness. This is not merely bodily courage but absence of fear
from the mind.
• Better than fearlessness is courage that comes from the habit of refusing to let
fear dictate one’s actions.
• Courage best described as “grace under pressure” – grace renewed repeatedly
under harsh, unremitting pressure.
• A most insidious form of fear is one which masquerades as common sense,
condemning the “foolish” daily acts of courage which help preserve man’s self-
respect and human dignity.
• What distinguishes man from the mere brute is his capacity for self-
improvement and self-redemption.
• At the root of human responsibility is the concept of perfection. One must want
to achieve it, find a path towards it and follow that path.
• It is man’s vision of a world fit for rational, civilized humanity which leads him
to dare and to suffer to built societies free from want and fear.