Agreement Theories of Human Rights Explained
The concept of human rights is critical to the well-being and dignity of human beings worldwide. The idea that every human being is entitled to certain inalienable rights is central to the development of modern political theory and has been endorsed by virtually every major political and social institution in the world.
One of the most important and widely recognized philosophical approaches to human rights is the agreement theory. This theory proposes that human rights are based on social agreements that are made by various political and social institutions, such as governments, international organizations, and civil society groups.
According to this theory, human rights are not inherent in individuals but are rather created by society to protect individual dignity and freedom. This perspective argues that human rights exist because societies have agreed to recognize and protect them, usually through legal frameworks and international treaties.
In agreement theories of human rights, there are two main approaches: the social contract theory and the moral universalism theory.
The social contract theory proposes that human rights are the product of a social contract between individuals and society. The idea is that individuals agree to give up some of their freedoms in exchange for protection and security provided by the government. This contract ensures that the government will protect the rights of its citizens and use its authority to prevent abuses of power.
The moral universalism theory, on the other hand, suggests that human rights are inalienable because they are based on universal moral principles. According to this theory, there are certain fundamental rights that all individuals possess, regardless of the culture, religion, or societal norms they belong to. These universal principles include the right to life, liberty, and freedom from torture and discrimination.
While agreement theories of human rights have been widely accepted across the globe, there are also criticisms of this perspective. Some argue that social agreements can change over time and that the protection of human rights should be based on something more inherent in individuals. Others claim that the moral universalism theory can be seen as a form of cultural imperialism, where the Western conception of human rights is imposed on non-Western societies.
Regardless of these criticisms, the agreement theories of human rights remain critical for protecting and promoting human dignity and freedom. It is through these social agreements that societies can guarantee the protection of basic rights and freedoms of individuals, thereby creating a more just and equitable world for all.