Natural Rights

Natural and legal rights are two types of rights: legal rights are those bestowed onto a person by a given legal system, while natural rights are those not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable.

The idea of human rights is also closely related to that of natural rights; some acknowledge no difference between the two, regarding them as synonymous, while others choose to keep the terms separate to eliminate association with some features traditionally associated with natural rights.  Natural rights, in particular, are considered beyond the authority of any government or international body to dismiss.

Human rights are “commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being.”Human rights are thus conceived as universal (applicable everywhere) and egalitarian (the same for everyone). These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in local, regional, national, and international law.

“What is absolutely true is always correct, everywhere, all the time, under any condition. An entity’s ability to discern these things is irrelevant to that state of truth.” —Steven Robiner

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” —Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“To say of what is, that it is not, or of what is not, that it is, is false; while to say of what is, that it is, and of what is not, that it is not, is true.” – Aristotle

What divides us as humans?

Prof. P. Krishna

(Based on a talk delivered at the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden, The Netherlands, on 23rd July, 1992.)

One of the major concerns of Mrs. Annie Besant, as a theosophist, was the creation of a universal brotherhood of man. She tried all through her life to teach that all life is sacred, that all human beings are equal, that different religions are merely different approaches to the same truth, that all life and the entire environment around the earth constitute one whole of which man is an intrinsic part. The greatest threat to the creation of one-world and a universal brotherhood of man is his tendency to identify himself with those who appear to be similar to him. This has divided mankind into a large number of groups…

What are these divisions?

…religious groups, national groups, ethnic groups, linguistic groups, caste groups, professional groups, political and ideological groups and family groups

– all of which from time to time become antagonistic to other groups when their self-interest needs to be protected

So what is it that we all have in common?

The desire of an individual to belong to a group is born out of a sense of security he feels in belonging to it.

Yet, it is obvious, that this very division into groups has created the greatest insecurity for all human beings on this earth, through war, riots, infighting and competition.

So being allowed to be an individual and belonging are common things we all have.

We must therefore ask ourselves, why after thousands of years of so called culture and civilization, mankind is still so brutal, so badly divided ? What is it that divides us ?

….one finds that the division among people arises from a feeling that `we’ are separate from `them’, which in turn arises from the feeling of being different.

But are we really different or do we only imagine that we are different ?

we could take Hindus and Muslims or Arabs and Jews or any other set of people – and ask ourselves whether their differences are real or imaginary. By imaginary I mean something which is not factually existing but has been simply constructed by the mind in imagination.

A human being has a body and a consciousness. So, are we really different in our bodies and are we very different in our consciousness ?

…there are significant differences in the body, he will tell us that they are very superficial – the colour of the skin may be different, the colour of the hair may be different, but inside the skin the blood is the same, the heart, the liver, the lungs, everything is the same. You can exchange the blood of one person with that of another person from any nation, any religion, anywhere. Therefore, obviously, in our bodies we are really not different except in the outer shape and features.

…in our consciousness or we merely differ in our ideas, which are things which we acquire from our particular culture, and therefore, feel we are different from each other when in reality we may not be.

It is interesting to see that what is of our consciousess, ideas, and culture. So if we look at a more secular society we would see that that which is proven.  In actual fact science is man’s quest for the discovery of the order which manifests itself in the external world of matter.

Basic Human rights based on the above, we can include the difference based on consciousness.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

1. We are all free and equal. We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated in the same way.

2. Don’t discriminate. These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences.

3. The right to life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety.

4. No slavery – past and present. Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make anyone our slave.

5. No Torture. Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us.

6. We all have the same right to use the law. I am a person just like you!

7. We are all protected by the law. The law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly.

8. Fair treatment by fair courts. We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly.

9. No unfair detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in prison without a good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country.

10. The right to trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do.

11. Innocent until proven guilty. Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. When people say we did a bad thing we have the right to show it is not true.

12. The right to privacy. Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters or bother us or our family without a good reason.

13. Freedom to move. We all have the right to go where we want in our own country and to travel as we wish.

14. The right to asylum. If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to run away to another country to be safe.

15. The right to a nationality. We all have the right to belong to a country.

16. Marriage and family. Every grown-up has the right to marry and have a family if they want to. Men and women have the same rights when they are married, and when they are separated.

17. Your own things. Everyone has the right to own things or share them. Nobody should take our things from us without a good reason.

18. Freedom of thought. We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want.

19. Free to say what you want. We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people.

20. Meet where you like. We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join a group if we don’t want to.

21. The right to democracy. We all have the right to take part in the government of our country. Every grown-up should be allowed to choose their own leaders.

22. The right to social security. We all have the right to affordable housing, medicine, education, and child care, enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill or old.

23. Workers’ rights. Every grown-up has the right to do a job, to a fair wage for their work, and to join a trade union.

24. The right to play. We all have the right to rest from work and to relax.

25. A bed and some food. We all have the right to a good life. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to be cared for.

26. The right to education. Education is a right. Primary school should be free. We should learn about the United Nations and how to get on with others. Our parents can choose what we learn.

27. Culture and copyright. Copyright is a special law that protects one’s own artistic creations and writings; others cannot make copies without permission. We all have the right to our own way of life and to enjoy the good things that “art,” science and learning bring.

28. A free and fair world. There must be proper order so we can all enjoy rights and freedoms in our own country and all over the world.

29. Our responsibilities. We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms.

30. Nobody can take away these rights and freedoms from us.



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