E-Human Rights

E-Human Rights

Kay Mathiesen (University of Arizona, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch291

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Human rights are moral and/or legal norms that protect people from severe abuses by establishing a common standard of just treatment for all individuals. While rights generally may be customary, contractual, legal, or civil, a human right is one held by a person simply in virtue of the fact she is a human being. (Some human rights, however, e.g., cultural rights, may be held collectively by groups of human beings.) While the duty to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights (Eide, 1984) falls primarily upon states, human rights have implications for the obligations of others, including individual citizens, corporations, non-governmental organizations, and international actors (e.g., the World Trade Organization).

The modern conception of human rights arose after World War Two; the rights then articulated were designed to prevent states of the future from committing similar atrocities to those committed in that war (Morsink, 1999). The countries of the United Nations (UN) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Since that time the UN has adopted a number of declarations and conventions further specifying and expanding that list of rights.

Representatives from a large number of UN member countries (among them China, Argentina, Lebanon, Cuba, India, France, Egypt, the USSR, the United States, and Pakistan), as well as non-governmental organizations, philosophers, and leaders from a number of different faiths around the world (Morsink, 1999), were included in the drafting process. Thus, there is little support for the claim that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is culturally biased and based solely on “western” values (American Anthropological Association, 1947).

“First generation” civil and political rights and “second generation” social, economic, and cultural rights are included in the UDHR. The rights listed in the UDHR were further specified in two separate covenants: the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) and the Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR). Over time, the scope of human rights has been extended to recognize rights of women, children, and the disabled, as well as “third generation” cultural and group rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples (see, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRD), Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRI)).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intellectual Property: The right of to control access to and use of one’s intellectual creations.

Cultural Property: The right of cultural groups to control access to and use of their traditional cultural expressions and traditional knowledge.

Information Right: Rights that specify claims and duties with regard to the communication, collection, access, use, and control of information. Information rights include the rights to privacy, intellectual property, free expression, and access to information.

Informational Privacy: The ability to control access to one’s personal data and how the data may be used.

E-Human Right: Human right that specify claims and duties in relation to information and communication technologies.

Freedom of Expression: The right to express ones beliefs, values, and feelings through speech, writing, or art.

Right: A (moral and/or legal) claim that an individual or group can make upon others. For every right there is a (moral and/or legal) duty of others to act so as to respect that right.

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