Human Rights are not 'god given', if they were, we'd have a terrible time deciding what a human is. As an Atheist it's simple for me - all homo sapiens are human beings. No religion can change this! So, if you're reading this and are indeed of the homo genus, you are human; if you're not  - "Welcome to earth, please enjoy your stay, mind the step".

I have the right to freedom! Freedom to think what ever I like, to choose what I believe, what I learn, who I love and who I am friends with. Human Rights go much further in the legal definitions, but fundamentally, as sentient living things, we want the freedom to live our lives in what ever way we decide fit; without our choices becoming reasons for fear. It comes with a cost, you must respect that everyone has the same rights as you, even when you feel the beliefs, associations or lifestyle of another person don't fit with what you choose.

Human Rights and having them mean you will not force your own will on others, in anyway!

I've excluded freedom of speech deliberately, because though you are - by right - allowed to say what you like, you must put some thought into what you say. The human voice is a very powerful force, it can move people to unite and be healed, feel loved and accepted, or divide people and instill fear, anger, rage and despair. Use your right to speak carefully, use it to bring us closer to understanding, rather than judgment and segregation or infringing on another persons rights.

I wish everyone, everywhere to have their Human Rights respected today, tomorrow and everyday after that.

{I got a bit preachy about this, too often we use our 'rights' to inflict such harm on another human being, that I wish there were laws that could strip a person of their Human Rights when they show no respect for another's.}

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Comment by Unseen on March 22, 2014 at 1:13pm

Rights have to come from somewhere and it's a rather moot right if it's unenforceable. Thus, I always say that there are only two kinds of rights: legislated and imaginary. Which kind are so-called "human rights"?

Comment by EMil Wentzel on March 22, 2014 at 3:40pm

I agree with you, that "rights" fall into the narrow band of categories - legislated or imagined - and too often the legislation strips people of "Human Rights" rather than enforce the respect of them. Depending on the country you live in, Human Rights are enforced or supported by legislation, or they are made into punishments "Do as we say and be left alone or be flogged!".

That's why I focused on freedom. Even in ancient times, freedom was regarded as a birth right. To suffer under tyranny was not accepted and people generally revolted or fled the area.

In South Africa, our constitution reinforces the ideals of Human Rights... sadly, they are being threatened by more ambitious ideas of control and are being diminished through law. I imagine the once great idea that was USA is and has suffered a similar progression. In many countries, particularly those that are less liberal, are moving towards nationalistic governments or "security", freedom is being eroded quite's a slow process though, but most of the citizenry don't pay enough attention and eventually find themselves in a situation where freedom is given as reward for conformity.

Conformity of course under severe threat of harm or persecution (of what ever sort) is not freedom, and will never enhance or allow for the wonder that is true human expression.

As atheists, we sometimes experience this at a personal level - ostracized by family and 'friends', groups we were members of, singled out to have the demons driven from us, or just looked down on by misguided and ignorant individuals. "Freedom of beliefs" - many countries have laws against violence and prejudice on a person for their beliefs, I have yet to hear of laws for emotional and psychological persecution.

Are Human Rights imaginary? I think they're just common sense, built into our instinct...over ruled by socialisation and a greed for control by 'leaders'.

*Random thought : Maybe the anarchists have a point for the removal of government ;P just saying

Comment by Unseen on March 22, 2014 at 5:40pm

Are Human Rights imaginary? I think they're just common sense, built into our instinct...over ruled by socialisation and a greed for control by 'leaders'.

By imaginary I mean they have no existence until someone or something creates them. If you want a right to attach to humans, pass a law making it. 

*Random thought : Maybe the anarchists have a point for the removal of government ;P just saying

Some anarchists follow Prudhomme's dictum that "Property is theft" and so by parallelism of reasoning, you might say that creating a right enslaves someone else due to the fact that every right for one party limits the freedom of another party. Let's say I gain the right to use a traditional trail that goes across some farmer's land. My right exists due to his inability to legally prevent me from doing so. Any right you can name can be described similarly. While some rights create freedoms for some parties, they reduce the freedom of other parties.


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