The evolution of human rights- Part I

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The evolution of Human Rights Part I

What does the term "Human Rights" remind you of?:

What does the term "Human R ights" remind you of? Eh…….what…? Many things…? A concept that came to the forefront during the 18 th century….? American Declaration of Independence…? French Declaration of the Rights of Man…? Violations…? Nothing! Sorry, a moment please – I don’t remember – I don’t know....

What does the term "Human Rights" mean to you?:

What does the term "Human R ights" mean to you? How do YOU define human rights? What do you think YOUR human rights are? What images come to mind when YOU think about human rights? What are YOUR personal or family experiences with human rights? What thoughts, concerns, or worries do YOU have about human rights? …………………………………. … . ……………………………………..

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What are Human Rights?

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What do we mean with 'Human Rights'?

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Human A member of the homo sapiens species; a man, a woman or a child; That is a person !

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RIGHTS Things to which you are entitled; freedoms that are guaranteed !

Let’s start:

Let’s start In order to comprehend fundamental rights one needs to understand their historical evolution

Important points:

Important points Which are the milestones in the history of Human Rights before the 18 th c.? How did such an awakening occur? How did the discussion of human rights become so popular in the 18 th century? If the 18 th century experienced the rise of human rights, why did the 19 th century experience their fall? After the above, what? ……………………………………………………………… ………………………… ……..…..

The History of Human Rights:

The History of Human Rights The history of Human Rights dates back to millenia and draws upon : religious, cultural, philosophical and legal developments throughout history. Several ancient documents and later religions and philosophies included a variety of concepts that may be considered to be Human Rights .

Before Christ….:

Before Christ….

Ancient Egypt:

Ancient Egypt Egyptian law was based on a commonsense view of right and wrong , following the codes based on the concept of Ma'at . Ma'at represented truth , order , balance and justice in the universe . So, it allowed that everyone, with the exception of slaves , should be viewed as equals under the law, regardless of wealth or social position .

Ancient Mesopotamia :

Ancient Mesopotamia Hammurabi (1792-1750 B.C. ) was an ancient Babylonian king. He did something that no one had ever done before. Hammurabi created the first written set of laws, dating to ca. 1780 BC. In Hammurabi's court, it did not matter if you were rich or poor. If you broke the law, and were found guilty, you would be punished. Since the laws were clearly written down, everyone was expected to obey them. The Code of Hammurabi consists of 282 laws, with scaled punishments, adjusting "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" as graded depending on the social status of the ‘slave’ versus the ‘free man’. On the stone slab, among the laws of Hammourabi , there are many articles , that attempt to establish the basic principles of protection and independence of women.

539 B.C. Cyrus cylinder:

539 B.C . Cyrus cylinder The armies of the Persian King Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon. He freed the slaves. He declared that all people had the right to choose their own religion . He established racial equality. These and other decrees were recorded on a baked-clay cylinder in the Akkadian language with cuneiform script. The Cyrus Cylinder has now been recognized as the world’s first charter of human rights . It is translated into all 6 official languages of the United Nations and its provisions parallel the first 4 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights : free and equal, no discriminations, the right to life, no slavery .

From Babylon to Rome:

From Babylon to Rome T he idea of human rights spread quickly to India, Greece and Rome.

Edicts of Ashoka:

Edicts of Ashoka The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of 33 inscriptions on the pillars of Ashoka as well as boulders and cave walls, made by the king Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign. These inscriptions are dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Pakistan and India and represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail the first wide expansion of Buddhism through the sponsorship of one of the most powerful kings of Indian history. The inscriptions revolve around a few repetitive themes: Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism, the description of his efforts to spread Buddhism, his moral and religious precepts, and his social and animal welfare programme. Two edicts in Afghanistan have been found with Greek inscriptions, one of these being a bilingual edict in Greek language and Aramaic.

Justinian Code:

Justinian Code However Justinian Code is a major development in codification of Roman Law, which is the base and inspiration for our today’s Law in most of Europe, it did not facilitate much the Human Rights on issues such ceasing slavery and freedom of religion as they were practiced for centuries before by the Persian Empire . Having said that the Roman neighbour, i.e the Persian Empire with its multinational culture had its own influences on Roman imperial rule which eventually caused a few amendments on the Roman Civil Law benefiting the Human Rights such as allowing slaves to make petition against cruelty of their Masters.

Individual Rights in Europe and America:

Individual Rights in Europe and America Documents asserting individual rights, such as the Magna Carta (1215), the Petition of Right (1628), the US Constitution (1787), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), and the US Bill of Rights (1791) are the written precursors to many of today's human rights documents.

Magna Carta (1215):

Magna Carta (1215) The Magna Carta was the most significant «Great Charter» that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English-speaking world. In 1215, after King John of England violated many ancient laws and customs by which England had been governed, his subjects forced him to sign the Magna Carta, which enumerates what later came to be thought of as Human Rights. Among them was the right of the church to be free from governmental interference, the rights of all free citizens to own and inherit property and to be protected from excessive taxes.

Petition of Right (1628):

Petition of Right (1628) The next recorded milestone in the development of human rights was the Petition of Right, produced in 1628 by the English Parliament and sent to Charles I as a statement of civil liberties. The Petition of Right, initiated by Sir Edward Coke, was based on four principles: (1) No taxes may be levied without consent of Parliament, (2) No subject may be imprisoned without cause shown (3) No soldiers may be quartered upon the citizenry, and (4) Martial law may not be used in time of peace.

United States Declaration of Independence (1776):

United States Declaration of Independence (1776) On July 4, 1776, the United States Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. T he Declaration was as a formal explanation of why Congress had voted to declare independence from Great Britain Philosophically, the Declaration stressed two themes: individual rights and the right of revolution. These ideas became widely held by Americans and spread internationally as well, influencing in particular the French Revolution .

The Constitution of the USA (1787) and the Bill of Rights (1791):

The Constitution of the USA (1787) and the Bill of Rights (1791) T he Constitution of the United States of America , w ritten in 1787 in Philadelphia, is the fundamental law of the US federal system of government and the landmark document of the Western world. It is the oldest written national constitution in use and defines the principal organs of government and their jurisdictions and the basic rights of citizens. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution—the Bill of Rights—came into effect on December 15, 1791, limiting the powers of the federal government of the United States and protecting the rights of all citizens , residents and visitors in American territory.

The Bill of Rights (1791):

The Bill of Rights (1791 ) The Bill of Rights protects : freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the freedom of assembly and the freedom to petition. It also prohibits unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment and compelled self-incrimination. It guarantees a speedy public trial with an impartial jury in the district in which the crime occurred.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizen (1789):

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizen (1789) In 1789 , the people of France overthrew their monarchy and established the first French Republic. T he Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen ( Declaration des droits de L'Homme et du C itoyen ) was adopted as the first step toward writing a constitution for the Republic of France. The Declaration proclaims that all citizens are to be guaranteed the rights of : liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression. Thus, the Declaration sees law as an "expression of the general will," intended to promote this equality of rights and to forbid "only actions harmful to the society.

The First Geneva Convention (1864):

The First Geneva Convention (1864) In 1864, 16 European countries and several American states attended a conference in Geneva, at the invitation of the Swiss Federal Council, on the initiative of the Geneva Committee. The diplomatic conference was held for the purpose of adopting a convention for the treatment and care, without any discrimination, to wounded and sick military personnel and respect for and marking of medical personnel transports and equipment with the distinctive sign of the red cross on a white background.

The United Nations (1945):

The United Nations (1945) World War II had raged from 1939 to 1945. Many cities throughout Europe and Asia lay in ruins. Millions of people were dead, millions more were homeless or starving. In April 1945, delegates from 50 countries met in San Francisco full of optimism and hope. The goal was to fashion an international body to promote peace and prevent future wars. The ideals of the organization were stated in the preamble to its proposed charter: "We the peoples of the United Nations are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind." The charter of the new United Nations organization went into effect on October 24, 1945, a date that is celebrated every year as United Nations Day .

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948):

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) By 1948, the United Nations' new Human Rights Commission had captured the world's attention. Under the dynamic chairmanship of Eleanor Roosevelt t he Commission set out to draft the document that became the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Roosevelt referred to the Declaration as the international Magna Carta for all mankind. It was adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. In its preamble and in Article 1, the Declaration unequivocally proclaims the inherent rights of all human beings: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." The member states of the United Nations pledged to work together to promote the 30 articles of human rights that, for the first time in history, had been assembled and codified into a single document. In consequence, many of these rights, in various forms, are today part of the constitutional laws of democratic nations.

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in GREECE Human Rights

Human Rights, Law and Constitution in Greece :

Human Rights, Law and Constitution in Greece Since the time of slavery institution in the antiquity until the modern forms of multiparty or participating Democracy, there has been radical change in the legal position held by each member of the society. …………………… This historical process is continuous. ……………………… In order to comprehend fundamental human rights in Greece we need to understand their historical evolution .

Greece, in the ancient times…:

Greece, in the ancient times… I n Greece , man identified with citizen . All men have rights , excluding slaves and metics . T he ancient state was largely intervening . TH e freedom of the individual was confined . Slave in Athens (left)

Greece, in the ancient times…:

Greece, in the ancient times… The system of direct democracy , ensured self-restraint and self-safeguarding of human rights through the practice of the citizen’s political rights. Philipp von Foltz : The age of Pericles

Greece, in the ancient times…:

Greece, in the ancient times… At the same time, the system of direct democracy suggested respect and obedience to the law , thus indirectly ensuring respect of other people’s rights . Phidias showing the Frieze of the Parthenon

Greece, in the ancient times…:

Greece, in the ancient times… T he law suggested “ egalitarianism ” – equal treatment of citizens – and guaranteed equal rights in speech Plato & Aristotle (Athenian School)

Greece, in the ancient times…:

Greece, in the ancient times… Sophists (Protagoras, Gorgias, Ippias) from the late 5th B.C. century and Stoics (Zenon of Citium, Chrysippus of Soli, and Seneca and Marcus Aurelius of Roman period) mainly till the 2nd B.C. supported the natural equality among all people . Protagoras Zenon of Citium

Greece, in the ancient times…:

Greece, in the ancient times… Christianity played a major role in fundamental rights ’ shaping. For Christianity, the human dignity emanates from the origin and the fate of man: man is made by God and in particular, “in God’s resemblance”, and his destination does not end in secular life, but extends to eternity . This fate is common to all people, with no discrimination : all people are equal – before God – and free. Hence, the ancient church condemns slavery .

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The principles of the European Enlightenment in 18th century were transmitted to the Hellenism through the Greek communities abroad The Greek Enlightenment Voltaire These were several Enlightenment figures whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers in Greece .

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The leading figure in Greece was Adamantios Koraes, who believed that education would bring freedom. So, he started publishing classical writings, aiming at the education of the nation. Greek Enlightment-Adamantios Korais

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Feraios was a nother representative of the Modern Greek Enlightenment . His manifesto contained the declaration of the rights of man and was inspired by the ideals of freedom, equality and brotherhood. The “Chart of human rights” constructed by Rhigas conformed with the “ Declaration des Droits de l’ Homme et du Citoyen”. Greek Enlightment-Rhigas Feraios

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During the Fight for Independence there were three Greek constitutions with references on: Equality! Civil Rights! Property Protection! Education! Dignity! Freedom of expression! Safety! Widows & Orphans Protection! Independence! Freedom of Religion! Right to Citizenship! Greek Constitutions during the Fight

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Moreover protection of religious freedom freedom of art and science and their teaching confidentiality in mail and telephone conversations protection of young people from public spectacles and improper performances The Constitution of 1925/1926

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The Greek Democracy re-established in July 1974 and also led to 1975 Constitution. The 1975’s Constitution protects: Fundamental human rights Citizen, Statutory and Social rights The Establishment of the Greek Democracy

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Civil and social rights Article4. Equality 5.Free personality development, personal freedom 5A. Right to information 6. personal Safety 7. No punishment without law, No torture 9. Asylum of residence 9A. Privacy 11.Right of assembly 12. Right of associatio 13. Freedom of religion 14. Freedom of press 16. The right of education 17, 18. Protection of property 19. Copyright 20. legal protection 21. Protection of family, marriage, of maternity and childhood, of persons with disabilities 22. Work protection 23. Freedom of Association 24. Protection of Environment 25. Protection of fundamental rights Greek Constitution revised in 2008

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Section D’ Final Provision Article 120 # 4 Compliance with the Constitution is left to the patriotism of the Greeks, who are entitled and obliged to resist by all means any attempt to violate it.

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3 rd Upper Secondary School “Miltos Kountouras” Comenius Project: “Human Rights in Europe” 2011-2013

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