The Cyrus Cylinder (539 B.C.)
The armies of Cyrus the Great, in 539 BC, conquered the city of Babylon.
Later he freed the slaves, declared that everyone had the right to choose their own religion and established racial equality.
These along with other decrees were inscribed, in the Akkadian language, on a cylinder of baked clay.
This cylinder is now known as the Cyrus Cylinder and represents the world’s first document about human rights.
The Magna Carta (1215)
From Babylon, the idea of human rights spread quickly to India, Greece, Rome and eventually to England.
In 1215, after King John of England violated a large number of ancient laws, he was forced by his subjects to sign the Magna Carta, which contained what were later considered human rights.
Among them we find the Church's right to be independent of the government, the right of all free citizens to own and inherit property and to be protected from excessive taxes.
Also it established the principles of fair trial and equality before the law and contained provisions that prohibited corruption by public officials.
The Magna Carta is widely considered as one of the most important legal documents in the development of modern democracy and was crucial in the fight for freedom.
Petition of Right
The next step in the evolution of human rights was the Petition of Rights, created by the English Parliament and sent to Charles I in 1628, as a statement of civil liberties.
The Petition of Rights, promoted by Sir Edward Coke, was based on previous laws and statutes and asserted four principles: no taxes may be levied without consent of Parliament, no subject may be imprisoned without cause shown (habeas corpus), no soldiers may be quartered upon the citizenry, and martial law may not be used in time of peace.
United States Declaration of Independence (1776)
The Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on the 4th of July 1776.
Written mostly by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration explained why on July 2, Congress had voted in favor of independence from Britain.
Jefferson wrote that people have the right to live, the right to be free, and the right to seek happiness.
The Declaration highlighted the individual rights and the right of revolution, these ideas widely supported by Americans spread rapidly internationally coming to affect the French Revolution.
The Constitution of the United States of America (1787) and Bill of Rights (1791)
The constitution of the united states of america is the oldest national constitution that is still in use, drawn up in 1787 in Philadelphia.
It Defines the framework of the Federal Government of the United States and the basic rights of citizens.
The Bill of Rights is the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, defines citizens 'and states' rights in relation to the Government, protects freedom of speech and religion, the right to keep and bear arms, freedom of assembly and freedom to petition.
It prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures of goods, cruel and unusual punishment, forced self-incrimination and prohibits the federal government from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process.
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789)
Another fundamental chapter of Human Rights is the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens that contains the principles that inspired the French Revolution.
In 1789 the French population has come to abolish absolute monarchy and soon after the Constituent National Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (Declaration des droits de l'Homme et du citoyen) that served as the preamble to the Constitution of 1791.
The First Geneva Convention (1864)
In Geneva, in 1864, was held a diplomatic conference in which took part sixteen European countries and several US states in order to adopt a convention for the treatment of wounded soldiers in combat.
In the Convention have been established the principles which include the obligation to provide assistance to military personnel without discrimination, respect for and marking of medical personnel transports and equipment with the distinctive sign of the red cross on a white background.
The United Nations (1945)
The delegates of fifty nations in April 1945 gathered in San Francisco, the United Nations Assembly on International Organization was intended to create an international body aimed at promoting peace and preventing future wars.
The ideals of the organization were stated in the preamble to its proposed charter: “We the peoples of the United Nations are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.”
The new United Nations organization went into effect on October 24, 1945, celebrated each year as United Nations Day.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
In the aftermath of World War II, the newly formed United Nations, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt decided to draft the document that became the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It was adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948, in response to the atrocities committed during the war, the member states of the United Nations have undertaken to define the rights and freedoms necessary to guarantee the value of each individual.