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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 never before have so many people worked in research and knowledge development? More than 90% of all the researchers throughout the ages are alive today. At the same time, 130 million children are growing up unable to read, write and count.





Even though the world is moving forwards, it is not the case that everyone automatically benefits from this development. Despite the fact that the population of the world, as a whole, has never been as rich and knowledgeable as it is today, the greatest human rights related challenge is still that people are going hungry. A total of 1.2 billon people have too little food and 800 million of these are chronically undernourished. At the same time, in just one country – the USA – in just one year, 400,000 people underwent liposuction. This illustrates the great differences and challenges that exist in our time and which we have a responsibility to do something about. Working to implement human rights the world over can change this situation.

The international human rights system has undergone immense development since the Universal Declaration was adopted in 1948. Because the declaration is not legally binding, the UN's Commission on Human Rights continued its work. This involved getting the member states to commit themselves to following these rules – i.e. turning human rights into national laws with which the states had to comply. This took 18 long years. It was not until 1966 that work on “the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” and “the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” was completed. The process had been delayed by the Cold War. The documents did not become legally enforceable (valid) until 35 states had ratified them (subjected them to a special procedure and signed them) and this did not happen until 1976. So far, just under 150 of the world’s almost 200 states have ratified these two conventions. The Universal Declaration of 1948 and the conventions from 1966 form the actual foundation of the international human rights system. These three documents are collectively called “The International Bill of Human Rights”.

Other inter-governmental organisations than just the UN also work to promote human rights: the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), among others. Thousands of voluntary organisations and individuals also work for human rights.

Perhaps you would also like to work to increase respect for human rights?



Many of the people going hungry live in countries that, as a whole, produce enough food. However the farmers who cultivate the earth sell their products to foreign countries in, for example, the West, where they can earn more for their goods than in their own countries.

53% of Indian children are undernourished. At the same time, the state of India spends billions of NOK on developing a nuclear arsenal. Thus, paradoxically, India is spending its money building up its military capacity to defend the greatest concentration of poor people on earth.

Fact box

Around 92% of all HIV positive people live in developing countries. More than 40 million people are infected. HIV/AIDS no longer presents a threat in industrial countries because information about the illness has reached the people. Besides this there are a lot of medicines that mean that many people can live for a long time and well, even though they are HIV positive. These medicines are too expensive for poor people in poor developing countries to buy.

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