Human Rights are the ideas enforced by law to protect what is seen as fundamental human essentials such as, freedom, right to life, right to education, the right to social security and right to fair trial amongst many others. These rights are expected to be applied to all human beings regardless of race, ethnicity, age, class, and religion. However, human rights haven’t always been around nor were they internationally recognised and even today there are still nations which do not respect human rights nor follow them.
One of the first policies introduced was by King Henry II in 1166, Britain, the policy consisted of the withdrawal of trial by combat and ordeal and implemented trial by jury, this ensured that people would have a fairer trial. The next document was the Magna Carta of 1215. The Carta was made to protect those who opposed the crown from illegal imprisonment as well as allowing people to appeal detention without trial. In 1789 during the French revolution, the Declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen was introduced by general Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson who was also one of the founding fathers of the United States of America and the primary author of the declaration of independence during the American Revolution against the British. In his work, he wrote ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal but they are endowed by their creator with certain and unalienable rights that these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. The purpose of the declaration was to acknowledge human rights as universal and applicable regardless of the circumstances, this declaration was inspired by John Locke who was one of the most influential thinkers during the enlightenment period. In one of his famous pieces of work ‘the two treaties of government’ he explained the importance of natural law and affirmed the rights of life, property, and liberty. These ideals highly impacted thoughts of democracy and freedom all around the world. Following the first world war the Representation of People Act was introduced, this act gave women over the age of 30 a right to vote. Since this was one of the first laws to protect women’s rights it promoted development, and as a result, women were able to candidate themselves for parliament, and ten years later all adult women in the UK were allowed to vote. In 1948 the universal declaration of human rights was passed due to the tragedy which was world war 2. The declaration stated that human rights had to be rightfully enforced worldwide and respected amongst all human beings and nations. The universal declaration of human rights was the first act passed to acknowledge that human rights were an essential and had to be universally respected (the declaration translated to 500 languages. Eleanor Roosevelt was photographed holding the Spanish version). Therefore, from this, we can see that the concept of human rights also goes hand in hand with the concept of democratic peace as legislations were passed to prevent or stop wars between nations by making laws an agreement amongst all.
There were many important figures which cooperated in the development of human rights alongside those stated above some of the most famously known being: William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, Malcolm x, Mahatma Gandhi and Malala Yousafzai. All of the figures were advocates for different things but aimed at the same thing in the long run which was equal rights for all regardless of characteristics. William Wilberforce campaigned against slavery in Great Britain; slavery was abolished three days after had died in 1833. Another well-known figure was Martin Luther King famously known for being a non-violent civil rights leader unlike Malcolm X which believed that people of colour should fight for their rights ‘whatever means necessary’. King, however, took a more peaceful approach and organised marches such as 1963, March on Washington where he delivered the famous ‘I have a dream speech’ this speech inspired nations and people worldwide and opened them to the thought of abolishing segregation. Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian nationalist and politician who believed he spoke for all Indians regardless of class and gender; he fought for Indian self-determination as well as independence from the British empire through protests and marches. One of the most recent figures is Malala Yousafzai. She was a Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing against them in an effort to campaign rights to education for girls. She survived the shot to the head and continues to stand for human rights, women rights and right to education.
On the other hand, despite the fact that human rights are lawfully implemented worldwide, some countries still do not respect them today or have developed slower than others and therefore still have a conservative and traditional government as well as society. The reason behind this conservatism in many cases is religion. Countries such as Saudi Arabia whose primary religion is Islam hold values which clash with human rights specifically women’s rights. For example, in Saudi Arabia, women are viewed as inferior to men and tend to have the most power. As a result, this ideal is integrated into national law; some representations of this are laws which state: women are not allowed to dress themselves trying to look good, almost impossible for marriage outside religion, not allowed to open a bank account without husband’s permission, and a women’s testimony is not worth the same as of a man’s. Teachings derived from the Quran are therefore much more valued than human rights laws due to what for them is natural and right.
As we can see from all the different types of human rights legislation stated above, we can see that they also relate to varying concepts in international relations, for instance, human security, Gender, Ethnicity, humanitarian intervention and international society.
Working in a group can be extremely stressful as people can be unreliable; finding a perfect time to meet up during the Christmas holidays was also near impossible. My group members were either too busy or not in the country or simply, just not replying to the messages I had sent to the group chat I had created before we finished semester 1. However, after the new year, Gianvito was back in the country, and we were finally able to pick a day to meet up, but we still hadn’t heard anything from Mateah. The day we had arranged to meet up in the deep end in the regent street campus only Gianvito, and I showed up although, he did show up nearly an hour and a half after the time planned. Janet had messaged me early that morning to let me know she was feeling unwell but would still help us through the phone and Mateah had yet not said anything so we knew we couldn’t rely on her. During the process of creating the poster, I took the creative role which consisted of doing all the writing and laying out the poster while Gianvito did the research and read out the information necessary. On the day of the exhibition, however, I was unable to attend due to medical reasons, and Janet and Gianvito represented the group and informed about everything that was going on and all the other displays with videos which were extremely helpful for me specially to complete this task. To conclude although the group was not entirely functional due to, the absence of some members when trying to create the poster, we managed to complete the poster which was the most important thing. I will, however, in the next group task try to start the task as soon as it is given so that I don’t need to worry about people being away or too busy during their holidays nor rushing it before the deadline.
In my opinion, the best poster on display belonged to Tommy’s group the poster was about Humanitarian intervention. This poster stood out to me because of its clear layout which allowed the poster to flow better than some of the other humanitarian intervention posters. The amount of colour despite limited was appropriate which gave the poster a more polished feel alongside the bold letters which made it stand out rather than using many colours which would distract the viewer from the actual content. The choice of images was also a good representation of the concept and matched with the information written for instance the military cut-outs which represented protection and security.