Part-I Series of Articles on Human Rights
Since as early as 2350BC (Urukagina of Lagash) mankind attended to human rights including slave, men, women and children’s rights in Hammurabi’s Code. Magna Carta (English Charter written in 1215) led to many important social development including present habeas corpus (appeal against unlawful imprisonment), rule of law (right to due process), rule of constitutional law, the common law and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Europe and America:
Probably, among early records of human rights in Europe one may refere to the Twelve Articles (1525) from peasants' demands in the German Peasants' War, the statute of Kalisz (1264) protecting the Jewish minority in Poland, the Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda debate (1550-51) in Spanish as result of the conquest of the Americas, the English Bill of Rights (1683). Two major 18th century revolutions of the United States (1776) and France (1789) led to the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen establishing legal rights, fundamental civil rights freedoms and confirming that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Historian’s belive that many human rights reforms were developed during Islamic era (610 – 661 including Muhammed and His immidiate 4 successors leading to Rashidun Caliphate). These included reforms on murder, false contracts, theft, slavery, exploitation, family, women’s right, ethnic minority from the existing Arab society at the time.
Modern classification of human rights:
Several 17th and 18th century European philosophers developed the concept of natural law stemming from different philosophical or religious grounds. John Locke (An English philosopher known as father of liberalism), distinguished natural rights (the notion that people are naturally free, equal and not bounded to any culture or law derived from divinity of humans) from that of legal rights (bounds people to a culture or law). A codify moral behavior which is a social product developed by a process of biological and social evolution (David Hume, 1711 – 1776). Contemporary human rights discussion incorporate the concept of human rights as part of our social expectations. Human rights are described as a sociological pattern of rule setting (see Karl "Max" Weber as in the sociological theory of law, 1864 –1920). It include the notion that individuals in a society accepting rules from legitimate authority in exchange for security and economic advantage (John Rawls, 1921 - 2002) – a social contract.
Human rights, most common has been categorised into the following:
(1) Civil and Political rights as enshrined in articles 3 to 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and
(2) Economic, Social and Cultural rights as enshrined in articles 22 to 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).