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Concern over the protection of certain minority groups was raised by the League of Nations at the end of the First World War.However, this organization for international peace and cooperation, created by the victorious European allies, never achieved its goals.
Throughout much of history, people acquired rights and responsibilities through their membership in a group a family, indigenous nation, religion, class, community, or state.
Most societies have had traditions similar to the "golden rule" of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Hindu Vedas, the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, the Bible, the Quran (Koran), and the Analects of Confucius are five of the oldest written sources which address questions of peoples duties, rights, and responsibilities.
Both covenants trumpet the extension of rights to all persons and prohibit discrimination.
As of 1997, over 130 nations have ratified these covenants.
The idea of human rights emerged stronger after World War II.
Sandra Cisneros The House On Mango Street Essay - Essay Human Rights Organizations
The extermination by Nazi Germany of over six million Jews, Sinti and Romani (gypsies), homosexuals, and persons with disabilities horrified the world.Trials were held in Nuremberg and Tokyo after World War II, and officials from the defeated countries were punished for committing war crimes, "crimes against peace," and "crimes against humanity."Governments then committed themselves to establishing the United Nations, with the primary goal of bolstering international peace and preventing conflict.People wanted to ensure that never again would anyone be unjustly denied life, freedom, food, shelter, and nationality.In addition to the covenants in the International Bill of Human Rights, the United Nations has adopted more than 20 principal treaties further elaborating human rights.These include conventions to prevent and prohibit specific abuses like torture and genocide and to protect especially vulnerable populations, such as refugees (Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951), women (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979), and children (Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989).The essence of these emerging human rights principles was captured in President Franklin Delano Roosevelts 1941 State of the Union Address when he spoke of a world founded on four essential freedoms: freedom of speech and religion and freedom from want and fear (See Using Human Rights Here & Now).The calls came from across the globe for human rights standards to protect citizens from abuses by their governments, standards against which nations could be held accountable for the treatment of those living within their borders.To advance this goal, the UN established a Commission on Human Rights and charged it with the task of drafting a document spelling out the meaning of the fundamental rights and freedoms proclaimed in the Charter.The Commission, guided by Eleanor Roosevelts forceful leadership, captured the worlds attention.Its Preamble eloquently asserts that: The influence of the UDHR has been substantial.Its principles have been incorporated into the constitutions of most of the more than 185 nations now in the UN.