Yes, I believe that fundamental human rights do exist. It's the reason why most countries outlaw certain practices like torture. It is also the reason why there are rules in war and that war crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent. To say that human rights don't exist would be to deny the existence of these international rules and regulations.
Numerous arguments have been put forward to justify human rights: Capability of moral action, the golden rule, intuitionism, and so on. These explanations are far more deserving of a summary here. Yet it must be said that while no definitive answer to this question has been put forward, neither has a counter-argument. This leaves an unresolved issue. Human rights, however, must resolve certain criteria. They must be universally applicable, no matter the society; one cannot have an obligation to obey something if it is physically impossible. Also, they must be universal across all human beings, applicable at all times. For the first of these to be resolvable within any society, even hypothetical, pure sustenance-living societies, true human rights must be negative obligations: obligations not to do things to other people. Rules enforcing positive action cannot be rights. These negative rights can include "not to be killed," or "not to be robbed," and although the laws of human nature and physics jointly allow violations, distinct reasoning against action can be provided. Rights exist. Or more accurately, they can exist, justified on an individual basis.
Throughout time, philosophers have agreed that every human has the same right to survival. From that belief stemmed a belief in certain rights that contribute to that ability to survive. If one agrees that everyone should have equal chance of survival, then fundamental human rights must exist or equality would be an impossibility.
Life. Liberty. Happiness. Humans have a right to these three things. Not just because of basic human compassion, but because everyone has the free will to determine their own destiny. In a free society, everyone has the same basic right to exist. Without basic human rights, humanity has no right exist in the first place.
Some of the most basic fundamental human rights: freedom and the right to be free from cruel and inhumane treatment. Freedom is a fundamental right and the proof is the lengths one will go to regain it when it is taken away; people will resort to rebellion. The second formulation of Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative states that humans are to be treated as ends in themselves, never as means to an end. These rights are also privileges, should you behave barbarically you forfeit your right to be treated humanely.
We have evolved beyond animal instincts. Our (western at least) societies are developed and we are no longer savages. The law of the jungle does not apply. A failure to understand the evolution of society is similar to the failure to understand human evolution. Certain rights are inherently clear within civilised societies, have been codified into law and are protected by an independent, yet accountable, judiciary.
Checks and balances.
The right to a fair trial in a court of law.......the right to some clean water and air, the right to nutritious and healthy food, and the right to have a decent shelter to live in, all exist definitely. Whether or not they are given to us is another matter entirely, but I do believe they exist for all of us.
Fundamental human rights exist, but they aren’t necessarily respected. Just as legal rights can be ignored, so can human rights. But if we take this to mean that human rights simply don’t exist, the platform on which all of human civilization rests simply collapses. Society must exist because we want to provide for basic human rights. We create laws and religions around human rights. Sure, different groups have different ideas, but usually most people are more or less the same page. Human rights are the foundation of human civilization and human social rules.
Rights don't exist much in the same way time does not exist, but where time is generally used as a multi-faceted form of measurement, rights seem to be seen as a consensus of rules that magically protect people from/with their choices via entitled justification. We do not have rights, we have choice. People will proudly claim "I have the right to life, or to speak my mind." No you do not, you have the choice to defend yourself, or the choice to say what you like.
I'm not for a moment saying "do not defend yourself because you don't have the right" or "don't speak your mind", by all means, do. It's your choice, but rights themselves won't do you any good if someone who disregards them decides to violate them. You cannot rely on them, they're not really there. They will not act in your favor or back you up, you merely have choice.
Rights do not exist. The power of choice does. Men are free to act with respect for the individual liberties of others, or to act without respect. There is no such force as a natural right that will reward virtuous action, or punish evil. There is only one force in human affairs. That is the force of individual will. Freedom is a choice, not a right.
In response to the Yes column, in particular the line "without basic human rights, humanity has no right to exist in the first place" - yes, we don't have a /right/ to exist, we just suddenly /are/ existing and our choices generally revolve around surviving. Nothing at all has the /right/ to exist, what defining force is there to suggest and enforce that we are justified in existing? Nothing whatsoever.
Human Rights are misnamed. You only have them whilst you live in a community that endorses and protects them. If your community or you do not have human rights, then you may have to fight for them like countless people have done in the past and will continue to do. Australia, generally speaking, advocates for all humans to have some basic rights and we are prepared to challenge those who do not believe in this principle. Our allies generally operate the same way.
There are no human rights without champions to gain and protect them.
Human rights are nothing more than a thin veil behind which we Americans and Europeans practice cultural imperialism. We control our own fate. If we wish to overthrow our leaders we can vote against them or attempt to assassinate them or otherwise remove them from power. The citizens of the United States have no right to tell the Russians or the Chinese how they should write their laws.
Who says that humans have the "right" to exist anyway? I understand that humans have the basic capacity to determine their own fate (in theory), but does society, as a whole? When we use the word "rights" we are acknowledging that something or someone superior to us must allow for our existence and/or our positive welfare.
Unless you are in a position of power over the lives of others, you have to admit that your right to exist is subject to the whim of others.
A person can assert their "rights" until that last shot blows their head off. Unless the person holding the pistol wants to rethink splattering your brains everywhere, it's "lights out". Logic does not work with our species. Appealing to compassion or empathy may work better. Logic tends to piss us off.
I understand if are religious and believe in human rights, but if you use science and logic, what force in the universe says that humans have to have certain things. I'm not saying if someone is trying to hurt you to just let them, I'm just saying that you have to earn everything in life. For example, you work to grow crops, you work to hunt(animals too), you also have a right to safety, because the taxes you pay are the reason the government is strong enough to protect you. If someone is trying to kill you or someone you care for then you may react in kind, because it is nature.
"Rights" are a human definition; and who does the defining? Those with power. There is nothing unassailable or fundamental about it.
The modern concept of human rights was originally created not to protect the downtrodden but to safeguard the troops of world powers after World War I. Even today, human rights are used by said powers as a tactic of international diplomacy, as an economic and military lever to be used against rival states. To justify their actions, 'fundamental' rights could easily be removed or added to.
Just because something might be/have been supported by a majority (free speech, bearing arms, guilty until proven innocent, etc...) doesn't mean that they exist. I personally have beliefs in things I'd support, and that I'd fight for. But I am tired of people calling out their "Rights" as if that makes them right, it makes them support something. Neither right nor wrong, just yourself.
Human rights cannot exist in the form currently envisioned by most pressure groups and governments. Human rights arise in terms of social interaction with others, and as such cannot be inherent. What we refer to as human rights are not physical laws, they are cultural elements of a common courtesy which can be interpreted in a legalistic sense, but which likely arises from simple biological and adaptive reasons. Moreover, all "human rights" cannot always be taken for granted and exists only in certain equilibrium conditions, i.E. When there are plenty resources. Those which cater to the individual are either logical tautologies or are simply manifestations of our current socio-economic condition. This is not to say that the concept of Human Rights cannot be helpful and perhaps even valid, but it is imprecise, and I can't bear imprecision. Thus one should not speak of fundamental rights in the same way one does of fundamental forces as though they were one and the same because they are not.
Humans right hasn't existed at all and if they had, The world wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. There's only choice and change. People should not force their so-called rights on others and people are misuse those so-called rights throughout history because of their greed and pride.
There is a responsibility to yourself, to others, to the worl, and in my opinion to God.
I am not sure where rights fits into this responsibility to be human. The society can decree certain things as rights, but that is ephemeral.
Rights are not fundamental, they are derivative and changeable.