Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Dorothy H. Bracey
Human rights are those rights that belong to all human beings simply as a consequence of being human, regardless of citizenship in a particular nation or membership in a particular religious, ethnic, racial, gender, or class-based group. Because groups with power have often tried to deny these rights to those without power, a movement has emerged to enshrine human rights in law and to protect them with national and international legal processes. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism have all produced writings suggesting that divine order imposes certain duties on believers in their treatment of other people. Many human rights scholars, however, find the origin of the concept in Greek stoicism, particularly the work of Epictectus, who held that a divine force pervades all creation and that human conduct should therefore be judged by the extent to which it was in harmony with this force. From this it was a short ...