What are the Three Generations of Human Rights?

What are the three generations of Human Rights?

Human Rights are divided up into three generations or categories: First Generation, Second Generation and Third Generation. These generations had been firstly established by Karel Vasaka, a jurist in 1979. These rights affect the quality of individual’s lives directly.

First Generation

The first generation of human rights is civil and political rights which are derived from natural rights philosophy. The instruments on these rights require instant respect for the rights enumerated therein. These rights have traditionally been given priority by the Western States during the Cold War.

Incorporated in:- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 from Article 3 to 21

Also Read: Rights Granted to Refugees and Various Provisions dealing with them in India

Second Generation

The second generation of human rights is Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It has attained recognition in the 20th Century with the advent of ‘socialist notions’. The instruments on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights require the States or Government to take appropriate steps to achieve a progressive realization of these rights and that those rights are fulfilled.


 Incorporated in:- Article 22 to 28 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, also in the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, 1966.

Third Generation

The third generation rights are broad classes rights and comparatively new and supported predominantly by developing States. The third-generation human rights are emerged in the 1970s and classified as Soft law which means these laws are not legally binding. Collective rights, group rights or solidarity rights fall under the definition of third generation rights. These rights include the right to development, environment, peace, etc.

Incorporated in:- Declaration of the United Nation Conference on Human Environment 1972, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development 1992 and other laws.

Also Read: Human Rights Wider Concept and Humanitarian law is a Narrow Concept in International Aspect

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