I have tried to trace the development of human rights from antiquity to the present day by quoting a succession of great thinkers from Pericles, St Paul and Marcus Aurelius to John Locke, Montesquieu and John Stuart Mill. I also quote the key provisions of covenants and resolutions from Magna Carta to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I list the many shameful countries where torture is still in constant use, and the very few where suspects are not subjected to inhuman treatments. I deplore our exclusive preoccupation with rights which has made us forget about human duties. Finally, I discuss some of the criticisms that have been made of the concept of human rights.
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