Eine universelle Revolution

NEW YORK – Der bedeutsamste Beitrag der Allgemeinen Erklärung der Menschenrechte, die vor 60 Jahren, am 10. Dezember 1948, von der Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen verabschiedet wurde, war die Proklamation eines großen Gedankens: Menschenrechte sind universell. Sie sind nicht an Mitgliedschaft in irgendeiner Gemeinschaft oder an die Staatsbürgerschaft eines bestimmten Landes gebunden. Sie werden auch nicht von einem Gesellschaftsvertrag abgeleitet. 

Vielmehr sind die Menschenrechte, aufgrund ihrer Universalität, Eigenschaften aller Menschen. Sie sind ein Teil dessen, was uns zum Menschen macht. Jeder von uns kommt in den Genuss dieser Rechte. Personen in Machtpositionen unterliegen in ihrer Machtausübung gewissen Einschränkungen, die sich aufgrund der Menschenrechte ergeben.  

Natürlich ist es möglich, das Konzept universeller Menschenrechte zumindest bis zum englischen Naturrecht des 17. Jahrhunderts zurückzuverfolgen. Teilweise wurde das Konzept in der französischen Erklärung der Menschen- und Bürgerrechte aus dem Jahr 1789 umgesetzt und in noch größerem Maße fand es Ausdruck in Thomas Jeffersons Formulierung der „unveräußerlichen Rechte“ in der amerikanischen Unabhängigkeitserklärung. Überdies beeinflusste dieses Konzept  die Anführer im Kampf gegen die Sklaverei in England in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts, der ersten Menschenrechtsbewegung.

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