The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out an ideal that any responsible person tries to put into practice. But not all evils can be fought at once. It therefore establishes a hierarchy between these rights so that we can make a real difference. In order to better hide their crimes, some powers accuse others of violating human rights. Sometimes the tree hides the forest.
On December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly, meeting in Paris at the Palais de Chaillot, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Gradually, humanity has formulated the ideal of equality of the human person: “Human Rights”. Many nations claim to have anticipated it before it was synthesized by the United Nations. Over time, many have used this notion without understanding it in its ethnological dimension and have distorted it.
The heated debate in the Security Council on September 19, 2019 showed how “human rights” have been abused to the point of being used in the wrong direction.
All over the world and at all times, leaders have tried to affirm that men are equal in rights. The oldest known examples are attested to by the cylinder of the Persian emperor Cyrus (5th century BC) – a replica of which adorns the headquarters of the United Nations – which establishes freedom of worship; or by the Edicts of the Indian emperor Asoka (2nd century BC) which prohibited the torture of all animals, including humans. These monarchs overturned the laws of their countries in the name of rules they thought were universal.
With reference to the construction of modern law, the English Magna Carta (13th century) states that no subject can be imprisoned without a fair trial. It is complemented by the Bill of Rights, which in the 17th century lists the rights of people and those of Parliament. It was in this same spirit that James Madison wrote the American Bill of Rights a century later. The latter limits the power of the federal government alone, but not that of the states. The Anglo-Saxon tradition affirms individual rights and protects them against “state logic”.
The question was asked in a radically new way by the French Constituent Assembly in 1789.