Human Rights as a Standard of Behaviour

As described earlier, each society reaches agreement on human rights (4.2.4).  People are entitled to expect each other to comply with these.

Some agreed human rights define aspirations for how people should behave towards each other: the European Convention on Human Rights specifies “equality between spouses” (Protocol No. 7, Article 5), for example.  They might be hard to enforce in a court of law, but they are nonetheless a required standard of behaviour.

The European Convention on Human Rights would be very difficult to change, requiring the agreement of all the signatories to it, so for immigrants to Europe they are in effect non-negotiable.  Other Western countries have comparable conceptions of human rights, such as the American Constitution, and these are also hard to change.

Some rights in the Western world might appear to conflict with the right to freedom of religion.  Islamic texts allow women to be treated as inferior, for example, but in the West this is unacceptable – so Western Muslims have to resolve the apparent contradictions.  As described later, this is possible with goodwill (4.4.4) and most of those affected have adapted peacefully.



This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/4422.htm