The international disorder, that is manifesting itself in several ways, through religious mercenaries such as the jihadists; through terrorist attacks like the sad episode of Charlie; or through reinforcement of dictatorial systems in some countries of the world, leads many of us to wonder why so many unpleasant episodes happen. We know that child-brides are forced to marry when they are only twelve and this frightens us and makes us ask what actually the word “childhood” means and what this word means in those countries that legalize the marriage of those who have not yet experienced the first period with a man too old for them.
That’s why, I found a good idea to have a chat about few things: I will explain briefly what human rights are, the duties of the citizens and of those of the government. I will also briefly talk about That’s why, I found a good idea to have a chat about few things: I will explain briefly what human rights are, the duties of the citizens and of those of the government. I will also briefly talk about the limits of people who break the rules and the limits of the laws itself.
First of all, we shall define the concept of “human rights”, the perception of them over the years and the stipulation of laws.
It is necessary to define the concept of public ethic, which consists of three components:
1. Laws, prescriptive norms, positive (Latin positum, place, stipulated), describing the ideal condition of coexistence among people, what “should be”, a reality different from the one we live in, idyllic and desiderable
2. Morality, which we use to judge actions and distinguish between good and bad actions
3. Regulatory system, the set of laws that help to regulate the relationships between people
The situation in some European countries is very different from the situation we could find in the same countries 500 years ago, and it is also different form the situation in other countries in this same era. The idea of the individual as a person and not of the individual as an object, is a concept born in many countries after years and years of protests and efforts. It is actually in the nineteenth century that women and slaves moved from the condition of object to the condition of humans.
Human rights can be divided into three categories:
1. The civil and political rights such as the right to life, personal safety and participation in public policy; They are defined as “the first generation of human rights”
2. The rights to material goods, the right to work, to school, to medical facilities, social security, also called “second generation”
3. The specific rights for women, children, immigrants; also known as “third-generation human rights”
Among these three types of rights, there is no hierarchical relationship, but a relationship of interconnection as, for example, the right to life is related to the existence of special structures in order to maintain the body healthy or to cure it in case of diseases. These rights are all equally important. The civil and political rights include the prohibition of all forms of torture and slavery, the right to privacy and to the protection of the person, etc… These rights are the result of philosophical analyzes set in Europe and United States during the Enlightenment and are therefore also called “Western Rights”, but the limitation of this definition is that the human rightsare then subject to cultural relativity. Although the right to life is supposed to be an undeniable principle by its nature, there is a way to invalidate this principle, bringing as excuse the cultural relativity. If Locke claims the right to property, if Rousseau describes the limits of the sovereign and if Kant speaks of human dignity, this principles of a moral nature are related to studies conducted in the West and then applicable to western societies. It is not so difficult for some fanatic terrorist groups, such as the jihadists, to demonstrate the invalidity of these moral principles. Given the nature of these Western principles, these represent in fact only the Western culture which is nothing more that one of the various existing cultures. The danger hidden behind the cultural relativity is that it is easy to end up supporting the tyranny and the oppressors.
Let’s stop here for the moment. Soon, we will discuss in more details about this. In summary, we will say that: human rights are not born with humans, but man fought to get them; the society has always been unfair and it still is in many countries; the law does not provide a perfect world, even though a perfect legal system describes how the world should be; in case of violation of laws, a legal system composed of lawyers and judges works for re-establishment of order; human rights are inviolable, and yet they can be victims of restrictions.