From the Rights of Man to the Human Rights: Man – Nation – Humanity Cover Image

Od prava čoveka ka ljudskim pravima: čovek – nacija – čovečanstvo
From the Rights of Man to the Human Rights: Man – Nation – Humanity

Author(s): Adriana Zaharijević
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Institut za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju
Keywords: man; mankind; nation; rights; life;

Summary/Abstract: The insistance on the fact that human rights and the rights of man (codified in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, respectively) are not one and the same, which could be deduced from the notion of man common to both terms, is the key thesis of this text. By developing this motive, I try to determine the following: that the notion of man, by definition inclusive and abstractly non-discriminative term, is in fact established on tacit exclusions in the time of its inception (Enlightenment revolutinary era), and it was only upon these exclusions that the term man could have signified “the free and equal”. Although the parallel or simultaneous evolution and implementation of the rights of man and national rights might seem contradictory, I seek to demonstrate that this paradox is only ostensible, arguing that the notion of man is itself limited and exclusionary, and is therefore compatible with the exclusivity which is the conditio sine qua non of nation. The consequences of nationalism – World Wars, primarily – proved that the conception of liberty and equality, based on the conception of fraternity of men (white European males), and of partial democracy pretending to be universal, cannot be maintained any further. Codification of universal human rights represents a reaction to this internal discrepancy inasmuch as it is a reaction to the destructiveness of all kinds of nationalisms. The notion of life, developed in this text, coresponds to the fundamental requirement for the right to life (as the first and the most basic of all human rights), which no longer belongs to “man”, but to everyone.

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 35
  • Page Range: 111-153
  • Page Count: 43
  • Language: Serbian