Discuss the relevance of Social Contract theories in the making of ideas of Human Rights

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In a Simple Word Human right is the rights which you have or you deserve. Every human has their basic rights. The basic rights are Food, Shelter, cloth, medical, Education and sex. Many people know something about their rights. Generally they know that they have the right to food and a safe place to stay. They also know that if they do work they deserve to be earn money. But there are many other rights. Many people have many different answer or opinion about Human rights. If we ask a man or woman from the street that what do you think about human rights then we would get many different answers from them. They would tell us the rights they know about, but very few people know all their rights.

Many of the basic ideas that animated the human rights movement developed in the aftermath of the Second World War and the atrocities of The Holocaust, culminating in the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. The ancient world did not possess the concept of universal human rights.<href=”#cite_note-Freeman15-5″> The true forerunner of human rights discourse was the concept of natural rights which appeared as part of the medieval Natural law tradition that became prominent during the Enlightenment with such philosophers as John Locke, Francis Hutcheson, and Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, and featured prominently in the political discourse of the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

From this foundation, the modern human rights arguments emerged over the latter half of the twentieth century.

ACT OF HUMAN RIGHTS : A human rights act is a statute that sets out individual rights and freedoms under the law. Many jurisdictions have bills of rights enshrined into law and called the “Human Rights Act”

What are human rights?

The fours 4 things which comes to our mind about Human Right are





Human rights are based on the principle of respect for the individual. Their fundamental assumption is that each person is a moral and rational being who deserves to be treated with dignity. They are called human rights because they are universal. Whereas nations or specialized groups enjoy specific rights that apply only to them, human rights are the rights to which everyone is entitled—no matter who they are or where they live—simply because they are alive.

Kofi Annan Declared that, ” Human Rights Education is much more than a lesson in school ; it is a process to Equip people with the tool they need to live lives of security and dignity.”

Indeed, human rights education plays an essential role in teaching the world’s future leaders how to prevent and address the worst human rights violations of our time. By instilling youth with the analytical and moral frameworks necessary to affect change, it ultimately empowers them to improve the lives of others in both our local and global communities.

Although the International Community has been more constructive of late in developing new ways to enforce the international human rights law, these efforts have too been highly affected by the matters discussed above. For example, the International Criminal Court was meant to be a symbol of hope for the enforcement of human rights. But despite its indubitable promise, states cannot be commanded to accept the jurisdiction of the Court in the same way that a human being would be bound by positive domestic law. They still retain the general discretion to decide whether they should ratify the Rome Statute and a number have refused to do so.

Social contract Theory: Although Many people Created some norms that enable them to live together, But some of these have to be coupled with a system of enforcement. This conforms to broad social contract theory and can also be applied to the international sphere. The international community is also based on a system of norms. However, unlike the domestic context, there is no overreaching authority to direct states on what they should do. Rather it is left to states themselves to police this framework. However, this has resulted in one of the conditions envisaged by social contract theorists, namely a stasis between the command order and the state of nature. This may explain, for instance, the indifference to some modern human rights violations. Hence the current system of International law, with its insistence on the Westphalian principle of equality of states has caused a substantial fracture in the enforcement of international law, particularly when it comes to serious human rights breaches, and caused something akin to the state of nature envisaged by social contract theorists. While it may be practically impossible to provide a command system in the international sphere similar to the one in the domestic life, there is some hope that a revised deontological ethic founded on global integration may provide one impetus for change.

In a simple word, the social contract is a theory or model, originating during the Age of Enlightenment, that typically addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.

It is an agreement among the members of an organized society or between the governed and the government defining and limiting the rights and duties of each. Social contract theory is an old theory. It tells us that Government is in the position to serve the people. But, they can choose not to serve the people. People elect the Government and Government protects the freedom of people. People have some basic rights, such as food, cloth, shelter because they live in a society and that said by Social contract theory.

Human rights and social contract

Human rights refer to the basic rights and freedom which all human being are deserved. Examples civil and political rights, right to life in liberty, freedom of expression, and equality before the law, the right of be a member of a any cultural organization, the right to eat food, to do work or to receive proper education.

”All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”

Some Definitions:

To explain how and why human rights become part of social expectations, some theories trend to designate the influence from part of some philosophers.

For example Hume says that, Human rights point to a moral behavior which is a human social product developed by a process of biological and social evolution.

Philosophers like Hobbes says that, “Locke or Rousseau remark that we need a social contract to live with a minimum of security and to own economic advantages but we have to be subordinate to some rules from a legitimate authority to made respect the law.”

Socrates and his philosophic heirs, Plato and Aristotil also posited that a “natural justice or natural rights exist The development of this tradition of natural justice into one of natural law is usually attributed to the Stoics.

Bangladesh Culture : In Bangladeshi culture we see that when a new government come to rulethe country, then they got all the power. They can change the law or create new rules and regulation. Also when they gotthe power they use those power in wrong way. We have many cases in our country Example ” The police secretly submitted the final report in the case against the Rapid Action Battalion lodged by the mother of Limon Hossain, a college student whose leg had to be amputated after being shot.”And still now Limon didn’t get his right. Also we see the Rana plaza crashed where more than 1127 people were killed. The owner Rana he took the land illegally and without any proper permission he build eight-story commercial building. Without the shelter of government he would never do that kind of work.

Bangladesh’s overall human rights situation becomes worsened in 2012, as the government narrowed political and civil society space, shielded abusive security forces from accountability, and ignored calls to reform laws and procedures in flawed war crimes and mutiny trials. The security forces disguised extrajudicial killings as “crossfire” killings. Opposition members and political activists “disappeared”.


Every human being has their own rights. A nation provide certain rights for their citizens . But those right may be differ or vary from one country to another country. But some of the right must be same. Example the right for education, the right for voting, the right for speech, and the right for marriage. If someone create any disturbances to achieving that rights then one can protest in court. Also political power create much effect on a country. By having political power one can do illegal kind of works without caught. Country like Bangladesh has many example. Which government come they goy ultimate power. Government change the rule and create new rules for their benefit. Mostly poor and developing countries people are suffer. Because of less education those citizens cannot protest or feel nervous to protest. So education plays an vital role for getting ones right. An educated person can protest for his or her rights. Mostly less educated people join in political parties. So political parties wants the high rate illiteracy.

The General Theme of social Contract theory

The general theme of social contract theory adopted here is that because of certain universal human tendencies people may not always be able to respect the rights of others. Therefore, a strong system of directives is required to facilitate their relations. This paradigm has also been applied to the international sphere and it has been argued that a stronger system of enforcement is required there as well. But, there are, of course, difficulties because of sovereignty. So, what could be an appropriate answer? There doesn’t necessarily have to be a Leviathan or an overarching authority to control states. Rather, a strong consensus or recognition of the importance of enforcing international law may suffice. However, this is the basis on which the UN was founded, so why should things be any different now? Maybe global integration provides an answer. For example, at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009, although states were unable to agree on a binding treaty to control carbon emissions, there was a much stronger recognition that because of globalization, and the way in which issues transcend national borders, states ought to have done more to defend universal well-being. One of the questions that this poses, however, is where did this global expectation come from? Whilst there should be an expectation that political leaders will act in a fair way when it comes to domestic issues, why did people require the international body politic at Copenhagen to act similarly? One of the reasons for this may be the new global ethic that the last two decades, in particular, have created. The word ‘morality’ generally tends to get a bad press in some quarters because it is assumed that it is a directive for people to act in a particular way. For that reason, it is not difficult to imagine that the notion of a ‘global morality’ would also tend to conjure up a picture of a large Leviathan<href=”#_ftn1″ name=”_ftnref1″ title=””>[1] wielding a sword expecting the world to conform to one universal code of behavior. However, this view would be incorrect. For instance, during the recent global credit crisis, it was expected that global leaders would take concerted international action to address the problems. This did not necessarily mean that they were required to hand over their entire national sovereignty on economic affairs to one overarching international institution. Instead, it was expected that they would find a compatible solution that would reconcile both international and domestic interests. Thus, it may be argued that global integration may provide further impetus for the enforcement of international law, which, up until now, has been largely undermined by state interests. Because of integration, what happens in one part of the world often has an effect elsewhere, and political leaders will have to come together to address common issues. However, this global process is still very much in its infancy and it may, indeed, be sometime before states find the right balance. Greater global dialogue, transnational trust building and diversity and respect will go some way in achieving it. Given the speed and the manner in which the world is integrating, and the global challenges that this is likely to bring in the future, it is fundamental that the international community develop a system to take concerted international action. Thus, a global ethic founded on international integration may provide one such normative approach.


Human Rights are one of the important issue in recent times. without human right a human cannot exist. General people has elected a government to fulfill their wants. A Government is also known as a leader of the general people. So all the responsibility should take by the government. If government fail to fulfill the wants of general people then people can protest or change the government. Every human being have their rights and to achieving those right they can fight for their goal.


1. http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights.html

2. http:://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights

3. http://newagebd.com/detail.php?date=2012-08-16&nid=20794#.Ub8fdvlmh8E

4. http://chanezportfolio.blogspot.com/2009/02/human-rights-as-social-contract.html

5. http://www.hrw.org/asia/bangladesh

<href=”#_ftnref1″ name=”_ftn1″ title=””>See, for example, Arnett, J. J. Psychology of Globalisation. American Psychologist. 2000, p. 777.