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Uniquely Human: The Basis of Human Rights

There is still a widespread assumption that “human rights” is just another name for the confused idea of “natural rights” from the eighteenth century, rights that were promulgated by and for adult white males.

The authors of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 assumed that they were reformulating an old idea. However, they were beginning a new idea. Human rights can be realized only through conversations across differences within gender, age, culture and religion.