The theory of human rights is an ethical or moral theory; that is, human rights language evaluates actions as being ethically good or evil and socioeconomic-political institutions as being just and unjust. Human rights theory is a type of deontological theory because it concerns the ethical duties of humans. This is not immediately obvious because human rights theory emphasizes people’s rights, but every rights claim is a claim about the duties that other people and entities owe the rights-holder. Human rights theory is really a theory about the duties and obligations of others.
Types of Rights and How Human Rights Relate to Other Types of Rights
Rights can be categorized depending on the grounds on which the right is claimed. Human rights claims are usually based either on ethical theory (e.g., Sumner 1987) or on recognized international declarations of...
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