Une révolution universelle

NEW-YORK – Il y a 60 ans, le 10 décembre 1948, l'Assemblée générale des Nations unies adoptait la Déclaration universelle des droits de l'homme. Son apport majeur a été l'affirmation d'une idée forte : ces droits sont universels. Ils ne dépendent pas de l'appartenance à une communauté particulière ou la citoyenneté à un pays donné, ils ne sont pas issus d'un contrat social.

Ils s'appliquent à tous, ils sont partie constitutive de ce qui fait de nous des êtres humains. Chacun doit pouvoir en bénéficier. Ceux qui exercent le pouvoir ne peuvent le faire que dans certaines limites. Ces limites sont fixées par les droits de l'homme.

L'origine du concept de droits universels remonte à l'Angleterre du 17° siècle, lorsqu'on réfléchissait à la loi naturelle. Ce concept a été partiellement englobé dans la Déclaration des droits de l'homme proclamée en France en 1789 et il se retrouve dans une plus grande mesure dans ce que disait à la même époque Thomas Jefferson lorsqu'il évoquait des "droits inaliénables". Ce concept a aussi modelé la pensée de ceux qui en Angleterre menaient la lutte contre l'esclavage dans la deuxième moitié du 18° siècle - le premier mouvement de défense des droits de l'homme.

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