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Human Right Course
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What are human rights?
The history of human rights
In the really old days..
the middle class and the development of cicil and political rights
the working class and the development of economic, social and cultural rights
World war II and the founding of the UN
Universial declartion of human rights
Human rights in our time
What right do we have?
The protection of Human Rights
Human rights in everyday life
Human Rights

Did you know

Did you know that at the beginning of the 1900s in Britain women suffragettes fought for the right to vote and equality? (Suffrage means the right to vote)




The struggle for human rights in the era of enlightenment and revolution was about individual liberty and the right to participate in the governing of society. This is what the new middle class wanted. As the middle class gained more power and society developed, another new social group emerged with new needs, namely the workers. The workers worked in the factories and companies of the middle class, and were dependent on them like the peasantry was dependent on the landowners. In the same way as the middle class had demanded that the power elite observe their right to liberty, the working class now demanded that their social and economic needs be met. They organised across national borders and fought for higher pay, better working conditions, shorter working hours, the right to strike and organise, the right of all children to an education and other social benefits. As time passed these economic, social and cultural rights were also incorporated into many states’ laws.

In parallel with the struggle of labour movements, there was also a struggle for the rights of particular groups. One of these groups was women. The last 2,000 years of theories about democracy and natural rights had quite simply ignored women’s rights.



In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft, an Englishwoman, wrote a book called “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. The book became a classic and today is one of the most famous books about feminism.

Marcus Thrane organised the first labour movement in Norway in the 1840s. Thrane demanded that all men be given the right to vote, regardless of their income. He also believed that work is a human right. These demands shocked the middle class.

Fact box

Karl Marx was the working class’ most important ideologist and most prominent spokesman. He criticised the middle class’ capitalism and one-sided civil and political rights.

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