Classification of Human Rights

Human rights can be classified and organized in a number of different ways. At an international level the most common categorization of human rights has been to split them into civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights.

Civil and Political Rights are enshrined in Articles 3 to 21 of the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ (UDHR) and in the ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Economic, social and cultural rights are enshrined in articles 22 to 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

Karel Vasak categorized the human rights into three generations.

  1. First – generation civil and political rights (right to life and political participation).
  2. Second – generation economic, social and cultural rights (right to subsistence) and
  3. Third – generation solidarity rights (right to peace, right to clean environment).

Out of these three generations the third generation is the most debated and lacks both legal and political recognition.

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