oa African Yearbook of Rhetoric - The fragility of rights

Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2220-2188
  • E-ISSN: 2305-7785



John Warr was writing at the time of the English revolution, three hundred years before the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the introduction to their publication of his writings in , Sedley and Kaplan refer to Warr's "appreciation of individual worth" and how he develops from this "the entitlement of people to overthrow a government which has broken its compact with the people and turned to tyranny". We hear an echo of this in the preamble to the Universal Declaration, which begins with the claim that "the inherent dignity and ... the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world", and goes on to proclaim that it "is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law".

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