History of the concept
The history of human rights has not been entirely progressive. Many established rights would be replaced by other less tolerant systems. Stable institutions may be uprooted such as in cases of conflict such as war and terrorism.
The earliest conceptualisation of human rights is credited to ideas about natural rights emanating from natural law.
The Northeast African civilization of Ancient Egypt supported basic human rights. For example, Pharaoh Bocchoris (725-720 BC) promoted individual rights, suppressed imprisonment for debt, and reformed laws relating to the transferral of property.
The first recording of human rights were inscribed by Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, into the Cyrus Cylinder. The Cyrus Cylinder is a clay tablet created in 539 B.C. soon after the Achaemenid conquest of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It proclaimed all of his subject to be free and banned the practice of slavery. Additionally it stated the freedom to practice ones faith without persecution and forced conversions.
The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, who ruled from 268 to 232 BCE, established the largest empire in South Asia. Following the reportedly destructive Kalinga War, Ashoka adopted Buddhism and abandoned an expansionist policy in favor of humanitarian reforms. The Edicts of Ashoka were erected throughout his empire, containing the 'Law of Piety'. These laws prohibited slavery, religious discrimination, and cruelty against both humans and animals.
Later documents pertaining to human rights can be referenced in the Constitution of Medina (622), Al-Risalah al-Huquq (late 7th to early 8th century), Magna Carta (1215), the German Peasants' War Twelve Articles (1525), the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), and the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution (1791).
The statute of Kalisz (1264), bestowed privileges to the Jewish minority in the Kingdom of Poland such as protection from discrimination and hate speech. Samuel Moyn suggests that the concept of human rights is intertwined with the modern sense of citizenship, which did not emerge until the past few hundred years.
17th-century English philosopher John Locke discussed natural rights in his work, identifying them as being "life, liberty, and estate (property)", and argued that such fundamental rights could not be surrendered in the social contract. In Britain in 1689, the English Bill of Rights and the Scottish Claim of Right each made illegal a range of oppressive governmental actions. Two major revolutions occurred during the 18th century, in the United States (1776) and in France (1789), leading to the United States Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen respectively, both of which articulated certain human rights. Additionally, the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 encoded into law a number of fundamental civil rights and civil freedoms.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
— United States Declaration of Independence, 1776
These were followed by developments in philosophy of human rights by philosophers such as Thomas Paine, John Stuart Mill and G.W.F. Hegel during the 18th and 19th centuries. The term human rights probably came into use some time between Paine's The Rights of Man and William Lloyd Garrison's 1831 writings in The Liberator, in which he stated that he was trying to enlist his readers in "the great cause of human rights". Although the term had been used by at least one author as early as 1742.
In the 19th century, human rights became a central concern over the issue of slavery. A number of reformers, notably British Member of Parliament William Wilberforce, worked towards the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade and abolition of slavery. This was achieved across the British Empire by the Slave Trade Act 1807, which was enforced internationally by the Royal Navy under treaties Britain negotiated with other nations, and the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. In the United States, all the northern states had abolished the institution of slavery between 1777 and 1804, although southern states clung tightly to the "peculiar institution". Conflict and debates over the expansion of slavery to new territories constituted one of the reasons for the southern states' secession and the American Civil War. During the reconstruction period immediately following the war, several amendments to the United States Constitution were made. These included the 13th amendment, banning slavery, the 14th amendment, assuring full citizenship and civil rights to all people born in the United States, and the 15th amendment, guaranteeing African Americans the right to vote. In Russia, the reformer Tsar Alexander II ended serfdom in 1861, although the freed serfs often faced restrictions of their mobility within the nation.
Many groups and movements have achieved profound social changes over the course of the 20th century in the name of human rights. In Europe and North America, labour unions brought about laws granting workers the right to strike, establishing minimum work conditions and forbidding or regulating child labour. The women's rights movement succeeded in gaining for many women the right to vote. National liberation movements in many countries succeeded in driving out colonial powers. One of the most influential was Mahatma Gandhi's movement to free his native India from British rule. Movements by long-oppressed racial and religious minorities succeeded in many parts of the world, among them the civil rights movement, and more recent movements, on behalf of women and minorities in the United States.
The establishment of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the 1864 Lieber Code and the first of the Geneva Conventions in 1864 laid the foundations of International humanitarian law, to be further developed following the two World Wars.
The World Wars, and the huge losses of life and gross abuses of human rights that took place during them, were a driving force behind the development of modern human rights instruments. The League of Nations was established in 1919 at the negotiations over the Treaty of Versailles following the end of World War I. The League's goals included disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries through negotiation and diplomacy, and improving global welfare. Enshrined in its charter was a mandate to promote many of the rights later included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At the 1945 Yalta Conference, the Allied Powers agreed to create a new body to supplant the League's role; this was to be the United Nations. The United Nations has played an important role in international human-rights law since its creation. Following the World Wars, the United Nations and its members developed much of the discourse and the bodies of law that now make up international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Analyst Belinda Cooper argued that human rights organisations flourished in the 1990s, possibly as a result of the dissolution of the western and eastern Cold War blocs. Ludwig Hoffmann argues that human rights became more widely emphasised in the latter half of the twentieth century because it "provided a language for political claim making and counter-claims, liberal-democratic, but also socialist and post colonialist.
- Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam
The CDHR was signed by member states of the OIC in 1990 at the 19th Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Cairo, Egypt. It was seen as the answer to the UDHR. In fact, the CDHR was "patterned after the UN-sponsored UDHR of 1948". The object of the CDHR was to "serve as a guide for member states on human rights issues. CDHR translated the Qur'anic teachings as follows: "All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, belief, sex, religion, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. True religion is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to human integrity. The CDHR referenced Islamic Sharia  which includes Quran, Hadith, prophetic teachings and Islamic legal tradition.