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Human Rights

Human rights are subject to an enormous amount of controversy in today's modern world where they are being put to the test every day in life-threatening situations all around the world. Human rights, are "a right which is believed to belong to every person" and they are at the core of some of the most powerful organisations in the world, most notably the United Nations. Human rights have their roots in English philosopher John Locke who is widely regarded as the creator of them, he argued that there were certain rights that "self-evidently belonged to individuals by virtue of their humanity". Locke believed that the rights were entirely natural and a simple by-product of our existence. During their creation, Locke named 3 basic principal rights; "Life, Liberty and Property" which were the words famously echoed by Jefferson during the drafting of the US Declaration of Independence. Locke claimed that these principal rights were negative as in they are in defiance of government and authority, they are the right to be free from the arbitrary authority and the interference of government, Locke also believed it was one of the human rights to overthrow/overpower the government if they failed to uphold these rights. The criticisms for the idea of human rights are few and far apart but they exist, Scottish philosopher David Hume stated that the invention of human rights was in breach of the naturalistic fallacy since human rights were drawing moral values from something natural and objective. The father of Utilitarianism Jeremy Bentham notoriously dismissed human rights as "Nonsense on stilts", he believed that rights are justified like anything else if they work in favour of the principle of utility, they were the "child of law". Human rights supporters believe that everybody who is a person has certain intrinsic, innate and unchallengeable rights. Supporters claim that there are primary rights and secondary rights. Primary rights are ones that are independent of the state and any form of authority, examples include the right to life, the right to work, the right to migrate and the right to freedom of thought. Secondary rights on the other hand presuppose the existence of the state and authority, examples include the right to a fair trial, the right to medical treatment and the right to education. Other human rights supporters talk about the family of rights which split rights up into 5 main categories; Security rights, Legal rights, Political rights, Welfare rights and Equality rights. When talking in relation to abortion and women's rights, there are certain unique rights that come into play here, women have a moral right to decide what to do with their body is the most important one, other supporters say that everyone has a right to gender equality, and the right to abortion will reinforce this rights. Many other people claim that one of the most important human rights is the right to control one's own body as their own, and when talking about abortion, the foetus can be seen as a simple extension of the women's body and so it is entirely up to her whether she would like the abort it or not. Chris Pettinga - J6