violation of human rights

GC: n

S: UforHR – (last access: 31 January 2019); NYTIMES – (last access: 31 January 2019).

N: 1. – violation (n): c. 1400, from Old French violacion and directly from Latin violationem (nominative violatio) “an injury, irreverence, profanation,” from past participle stem of violare “to treat with violence, outrage, dishonor,” perhaps an irregular derivative of vis “strength, force, power, energy,” from PIE root *weie- “to go after, pursue with vigor or desire”).
– of (prep): Old English of, unstressed form of æf (prep., adv.) “away, away from,” from Proto-Germanic *af (source also of Old Norse af, Old Frisian af, of “of,” Dutch af “off, down,” German ab “off, from, down”), from PIE root *apo- “off, away.” Primary sense in Old English still was “away,” but shifted in Middle English with use of the word to translate Latin de, ex, and especially Old French de, which had come to be the substitute for the genitive case. “Of shares with another word of the same length, as, the evil glory of being accessory to more crimes against grammar than any other.” (Fowler)
Also from 1837 a non-standard or dialectal representation of have as pronounced in unstressed positions (could of, must of, etc.).
– human (adj): mid-15c., humain, humaigne, “human,” from Old French humain, umain (adj.) “of or belonging to man” (12c.), from Latin humanus “of man, human,” also “humane, philanthropic, kind, gentle, polite; learned, refined, civilized.” This is in part from PIE *(dh)ghomon-, literally “earthling, earthly being,” as opposed to the gods (from root *dhghem- “earth”), but there is no settled explanation of the sound changes involved. Compare Hebrew adam “man,” from adamah “ground.” Cognate with Old Lithuanian žmuo (accusative žmuni) “man, male person.”
Human interest is from 1824. Human rights attested by 1680s; human being by 1690s. Human relations is from 1916; human resources attested by 1907, American English, apparently originally among social Christians and based on natural resources. Human comedy “sum of human activities” translates French comédie humaine (Balzac).
– rights (pln): Old English riht (West Saxon, Kentish), reht (Anglian), “that which is morally right, duty, obligation,” also “rule of conduct; law of a land;” also “what someone deserves; a just claim, what is due; correctness, truth; a legal entitlement, a privilege,” from the root of right (adj.1). Meaning “the right” (as opposed to the left) is from mid-13c.; political use from 1825. From early 14c. as “a right action, a good deed.” Meaning “a blow with the right fist” is from 1898. The phrase to rights “at once, straightway” is 1660s, from sense “in a proper manner” (Middle English).
2. What it Means to Violate Human Rights. There is now near-universal consensus that all individuals are entitled to certain basic rights under any circumstances. These include certain civil liberties and political rights, the most fundamental of which is the right to life and physical safety. Human rights are the articulation of the need for justice, tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity in all of our activity. Speaking of rights allows us to express the idea that all individuals are part of the scope of morality and justice.
3. To protect human rights is to ensure that people receive some degree of decent, humane treatment. To violate the most basic human rights, on the other hand, is to deny individuals their fundamental moral entitlements. It is, in a sense, to treat them as if they are less than human and undeserving of respect and dignity. Examples are acts typically deemed “crimes against humanity,” including genocide, torture, slavery, rape, enforced sterilization or medical experimentation, and deliberate starvation.

S: 1. OED –;;; (last access: 31 January 2019). 2 & 3. BeyIntr – (last access: 29 July 2015).


CR: child marriage, crime against humanity, enforced disappearance, human rights, intergovernmental organisation, international protection.