Friday, May 30, 2008

The History of Human Rights: Book Gives Background for Indigenous Struggles

The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era

The issue of human rights is of central concern for indigenous peoples. Ever since the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948 applying those universal rights to indigenous peoples has been a struggle. The full text of the U.N. Declaration can be found here.

The lack of human rights recognition towards indigenous peoples is reflected in many of their current struggles, such as the situation concerning indigenous people and climate change. However, much progress in giving voice to indigenous peoples human rights claims has occurred. The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recently got the General Assembly of the U.N. to adopt the UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES.

The most concise history on the development of human rights, and the progress of human rights justice for indigenous peoples, is found in the recently updated book The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era. Here is an excerpt from our recent review of the book:

Human rights are rights considered to be held by individuals simply because they are part of the human species. They are rights, in essence, shared equally by everyone regardless of sex, race, nationality, or ethnic background. They are universal in content. Despite this fairly straight forward definition history of human rights, the recognition of human rights by individuals, groups, societies, states, and nations has been a constant battle across both space and time. Throughout the centuries groups or societies have failed to recognize certain human rights of individuals, groups, and cultures while at the same time recognizing those of others. Likewise, conflicting political traditions have elaborated different components of human rights or differed over which elements had priority. Today, the manifold meanings of human rights embodied in this definition reflects this process of history and change.

Read the rest of the review on The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era, published on the main Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources site.

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