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HUMAN RIGHTS Medical humanities II 2014-2015 Prof. Marija Definis-Gojanovi , MD, Ph.D. The Geneva Conventions came into being between 1864 and 1949 as a result of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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HUMAN RIGHTS Medical humanities II 2014-2015
Prof. Marija Definis-Gojanovic, MD, Ph.D.
  • Human rights
  • "fundamental rights to which a person is
    inherently entitled simply because she or he is a
    human being."
  • universal (applicable everywhere),
  • egalitarian (the same for everyone)
  • natural / legal
  • in national / international law

  • History of concept
  • In 539 B.C., the armies of Cyrus the Great,
  • the first king of ancient Persia
  • - conquered the city of Babylonm
  • - he freed the slaves, declared that all people
    had the right to choose their own religion, and
    established racial equality,
  • - recorded these on a baked-clay cylinder in the
    Akkadian language - has now been recognized as
    the worlds first charter of human rights.

  • Magna Carta (Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great
    Charter of the Liberties of England)
  • not charter of human rights,
  • rather the foundation and
  • constituted a form of limited
  • political and legal agreement
  • to address specific political
  • circumstances
  • originally issued in Latin in
  • 1215, translated into French in
  • 1219, and reissued later in the
  • 13th century in modified versions

  • Magna Carta (Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great
    Charter of the Liberties of England)
  • required King John of England to proclaim certain
    liberties (e.g., the right of the church to be
    free from governmental interference, the rights
    of all free citizens to own and inherit property
    and to be protected from excessive taxes)
  • led to the rule of constitutional law in the
    English speaking world
  • was important in the colonization of American
    colonies and used as England's legal system

  • Statute of Kalisz
  • One of the oldest records of human rights (1264)
  • Gave privileges to the Jewish minority in the
    Kingdom of Poland such as protection from
    discrimination and hate speech.

  • The basis of most modern legal interpretations of
    human rights recent European history
  • The Twelve Articles (1525)
  • were part of the peasants' demands
  • of the Swabian League during
  • the German Peasants War
  • considered to be the first
  • record of human rights in Europe

  • Petition of Right, 1628
  • English Parliament sent to Charles I
  • a statement of civil liberties
  • was based upon earlier statutes and charters and
    asserted four principles
  • No taxes may be levied without consent of
  • (2) No subject may be imprisoned without cause
    shown (reaffirmation of the right of habeas
  • (3) No soldiers may be quartered upon the
    citizenry, and
  • (4) Martial law may not be used in time of peace.

  • History of concept
  • Two major revolutions occurred during the 18th
  • in the United States (1776), leading to the
    adoption of the United States Declaration of
    Independence and
  • in France (1789), leading to the adoption of the
    French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of
    the Citizen,
  • both of which established certain legal rights.

  • United States
  • Declaration of Independence, 1776
  • Its primary author, Thomas Jefferson, wrote the
    Declaration as a formal explanation of why
    Congress had voted to declare independence from
    Great Britain, and as a statement announcing that
    the thirteen American Colonies were no longer a
    part of the British Empire.
  • Philosophically, the Declaration stressed two
    themes individual rights and the right of

  • The Constitution of the United States of America
    (1787) and Bill of Rights (1791)
  • Constitution of the United States of America is
    the fundamental law of the US federal system of
    government and the landmark document of the
    Western world. It is the oldest written national
    constitution in use.
  • The first ten amendments to the Constitutionthe
    Bill of Rightslimited the powers of the federal
    government and protecting the rights of all
    citizens, residents and visitors in American

  • Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the
    Citizen (1789)
  • 6 weeks after the storming of the Bastille, and 3
    weeks after the abolition of feudalism, the
    Declaration was adopted by the National
    Constituent Assembly as the first step toward
    writing a constitution for the Republic of
  • proclaims that all citizens are to be guaranteed
    the rights of liberty, property, security, and
    resistance to oppression.
  • ...the exercise of the natural rights of each
    man has only those borders which assure other
    members of the society the enjoyment of these
    same rights.

  • The First Geneva Convention (1864)
  • provided for care to wounded soldiers
  • sixteen European countries and several American
    states attended a conference in Geneva, at the
    invitation of the Swiss Federal Council
  • main principles provided for the obligation to
    extend care without discrimination to wounded and
    sick military personnel and respect for and
    marking of medical personnel transports and
    equipment with the distinctive sign of the red
  • on a white background

  • History of concept
  • In the 19th century, human rights became a
    central concern over the issue of slavery
  • The abolition of slavery was achieved in the
    British Empire by the Slave Trade Act 1807 and
    the Slavery Abolition Act 1833

  • History of concept
  • In the United States, all the northern states had
    abolished the institution of slavery between 1777
    and 1804
  • one of the reasons for the southern states
    secession and the American Civil War. During the
    period immediately following the war, several
    amendments to the United States Constitution were
    made 13th - banning slavery, 14th - assuring
    full citizenship and civil rights to all people
    born in the United States, and 15th
    guaranteeingAfrican Americans the right to vote.

  • History of concept
  • 20th century in Europe and North America
  • labour unions brought about laws granting workers
    the right to strike, establishing minimum work
    conditions and forbidding or regulating child
  • women's rights movement succeeded in gaining for
    many women the right to vote

  • History of concept
  • national liberation movements in many countries
    succeeded in driving out colonial powers
  • one of the most influential was
  • Mahatma Gandhis movement
  • to free his native India from
  • British rule
  • Movements by long-oppressed racial and religious
    minorities succeeded in many parts of the world,
    among them the African American Civil Rights

  • History of concept
  • The establishment of the International Committee
    of the Red Cross, the 1864 Lieber Code
  • and the first of the Geneva Conventions
  • in 1864 laid the foundations of
  • International humanitarian law,
  • to be further developed following
  • the two World wars.

  • History of concept
  • The League of Nations, 1919
  • - negotiations over the Treaty of Versailles
    following the end of World War I (goals
    disarmament, preventing war through collective
    security, settling disputes between countries
    through negotiation and diplomacy, and improving
    global welfare...)
  • At the 1945 Yalta Conference, the Allied Powers
    agreed to create a new body to supplant the
    League's role this was to be the United Nations..

  • Classification
  • 1. Civil and political rights /1st generation/
  • - Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR,
    art. 3-21)
  • - International Covenant on Civil and Political
    Rights (ICCPR)
  • 2. Economic, social and cultural rights /2nd
  • - Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR,
    art. 22-28)
  • - International Covenant on Economic, Social and
    Cultural rights (ICESCR)
  • 3. Right to piece, clean environment... /3rd

  • The UDHR included both economic, social and
    cultural rights and civil and political rights
    because it was based on the principle that the
    different rights could only successfully exist in
  • All human rights are universal, indivisible and
    interdependent and related. The international
    community must treat human rights globally in a
    fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and
    with the same emphasis.

  • Economic, social and cultural rights are argued
    to be
  • positive, meaning that they require active
  • resource-intensive, meaning that they are
    expensive and difficult to provide
  • progressive, meaning that they will take
    significant time to implement
  • vague, meaning they cannot be quantitatively
  • ideologically divisive/political, meaning that
    there is no consensus on what should and
    shouldn't be provided as a right
  • socialist
  • non-justifiable, meaning that their provision,
    or the breach of them, cannot be judged in a
    court of law
  • aspirations or goals, as opposed to real 'legal'

  • Similarly civil and political rights are
    categorized as
  • - negative, meaning the state can protect them
    simply by taking no action
  • - cost-free
  • - immediate, meaning they can be immediately
    provided if the state decides to
  • - precise, meaning their provision is easy to
    judge and measure
  • - non-ideological/non-political
  • - justifiable
  • - real 'legal' rights

  • In the aftermath of the atrocities of World War
    II, there was increased concern for the social
    and legal protection of human rights as
    fundamental freedoms.
  • United Nations Charter provided a basis for a
    comprehensive system of international law and
    practice for the protection of human rights.
    Since then, international human rights law has
    been characterized by a linked system of
    conventions, treaties, organizations, and
    political bodies, rather than any single entity
    or set of laws.

  • International protection
  • United Nations Charter
  • Article 1(3) states
  • that one of the purposes of the UN is
  • "to achieve international cooperation in solving
    international problems of an economic, social,
    cultural, or humanitarian character, and in
    promoting and encouraging respect for human
    rights and for fundamental freedoms for all
    without distinction as to race, sex, language, or

  • International protection
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • was adopted by the United Nations General
    Assembly in 1948
  • was a non-binding resolution now considered by
    some to have acquired the force of international
    customary law which may be invoked in appropriate
    circumstances by national and other judiciaries

  • Articles 1 and 2 are the foundation blocks their
    principles of dignity, liberty, equality and
  • Articles 311 rights of the individual, such as
    the right to life and the prohibition of slavery.
  • Articles 1217 rights of the individual in civil
    and political society.
  • Articles 1821 spiritual, public and political
    freedoms such as freedom of religion and freedom
    of association.
  • Articles 2227 social, economic and cultural

Five categories of Human Rights Civil Political E
conomic Social Cultural Civil and political
rights are a class of rights that protect
individuals' freedom from infringement by
governments, social organizations, and private
individuals, and which ensure one's ability to
participate in the civil and political life of
the society and state without discrimination or
  • Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples'
    physical and mental integrity, life and safety
    protection from discrimination and individual
    rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought
    and conscience, speech and expression, religion,
    the press, assembly and movement.
  • Political rights include natural justice
    (procedural fairness) in law, such as the rights
    of the accused, including the right to a fair
    trial due process the right to seek redress or
    a legal remedy and rights of participation in
    civil society and politics such as freedom of
    association, the right to assemble, the right to
    petition, the right of self-defense, and the
    right to vote.

  • Economic, social and cultural rights are
    socio-economic human rights, such as the right to
    education, right to housing, right to adequate
    standard of living, right to health and the right
    to science and culture.
  • Member states have a legal obligation to respect,
    protect and fulfil economic, social and cultural
    rights and are expected to take "progressive
    action" towards their fulfilment.

International treaties - generally known as
human rights instruments - some of the most
significant (with ICCPR and ICESCR)
are Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Racial Discrimination Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women United Nations Convention Against
Torture Convention on the Rights of the
Child Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities International Convention on the
Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers
and Members of their Families
Customary international law may protect some
human rights, such as the prohibition of torture,
genocide and slavery and the principle of
  • International humanitarian law
  • regulates the conduct of armed conflict (jus in
  • branch of international law which seeks to limit
    the effects of armed conflict by protecting
    persons who are not or no longer participating in
    hostilities, and by restricting and regulating
    the means and methods of warfare available to
  • includes the Geneva Conventions and the Hague
    Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case
    law, and customary international law.

  • The Geneva Conventions
  • came into being between 1864 and 1949 as a
    result of efforts by Henry Dunant, the founder of
    the International Committee of the Red Cross
  • 1859 - aftermath of the Battle of Solferino
  • he was horrified by the sight of thousands of
    wounded soldiers lying helpless and abandoned
    with no one to care for them
  • experience led him to suggest the setting up of
    voluntary relief societies who could be trained,
    during peacetime, to care for the wounded in time
    of war
  • called for an international agreement to be
    drawn up to protect the wounded, and those who
    looked after them, from further attack.

The Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the
Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces
in the Field was adopted in 1864, revised and
replaced by the 1906 version, the 1929 version,
and later the First Geneva Convention of 1949.
The Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of
the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked
Members of Armed Forces at Sea was adopted in
1906, revised and replaced by the Second Geneva
Convention of 1949. The Geneva Convention
relative to Treatment of Prisoners of War was
adopted in 1929, revised and replaced by the
Third Geneva Convention of 1949. The Fourth
Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of
Civilian Persons in Time of War was adopted in
Three additional amendment protocols to the
Geneva Convention Protocol I (1977) Protocol
Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August
1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims
of International Armed Conflicts. As of 12
January 2007 it had been ratified by 167
countries. Protocol II (1977) Protocol
Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August
1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims
of Non-International Armed Conflicts. As of 12
January 2007 it had been ratified by 163
countries. Protocol III (2005) Protocol
Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August
1949, and relating to the Adoption of an
Additional Distinctive Emblem. As of June 2007 it
had been ratified by seventeen countries and
signed but not yet ratified by an additional 68.
The Geneva Conventions establish the standards of
international law for the humanitarian treatment
of the victims of war. The articles of the
Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) extensively
defined the basic, wartime rights of prisoners
(civil and military) established protections for
the wounded and established protections for the
civilians in and around a war zone.
Two Protocols were adopted in 1977 that extended
the terms of the 1949 Conventions with additional
protections. In 2005, a third brief Protocol was
added establishing an additional protective sign
for medical services, the Red Crystal, as an
alternative to the ubiquitous Red Cross and Red
Crescent emblems, for those countries that find
them objectionable.
Nations who are party to these treaties must
enact and enforce legislation penalizing any of
these crimes, are obligated to search for persons
alleged to commit these crimes, or ordered them
to be committed, and to bring them to trial. The
principle of universal jurisdiction also applies
to the enforcement of grave breaches when the UN
Security Council asserts its authority and
jurisdiction from the UN Charter to apply
universal jurisdiction. The UNSC did this via the
International Criminal Court.
Summary of main points about Geneva Conventions
The Third
The First
The Second
extends the Conventions, taking into
consideration modern means of warfare and
transport and aiming to give further protection
to civilians
provides a code of minimum protection for the
combatants and the civilian population during
civil wars. They embody the main idea which led
to the founding of the Red Cross
covers members of the armed forces who fall into
enemy hands. They are in the power of the enemy
State, not of the individuals or troops who have
captured them
The Forth
covers all individuals "who do not belong to the
armed forces, take no part in the hostilities and
find themselves in the hands of the Enemy or an
Occupying Power"
United Nations system Under the mandate of the
UN charter, UN, as an intergovernmental body,
seeks to apply international jurisdiction for
universal human-rights legislation. Within the
UN machinery, human-rights issues are primarily
the concern of the United Nations Security
Council and the United Nations Human Rights
Council, and there are numerous committees within
the UN with responsibilities for safeguarding
different human-rights treaties. The most senior
body of the UN in the sphere of human rights is
the Office of the High Commissioner for Human
European Convention on Human Rights Convention
consists of three parts. The main rights and
freedoms are contained in Section I, which
consists of Articles 2 to 18. Section II
(Articles 19 to 51) sets up the Court and its
rules of operation. Section III contains various
concluding provisions. Many of the Articles in
Section I are structured in two paragraphs the
first sets out a basic right or freedom (such as
Article 2(1) the right to life) but the second
contains various exclusions, exceptions or
limitations on the basic right (such as Article
2(2) which excepts certain uses of force
leading to death).