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Rights have several components to them. First, rights can be said to govern ways of acting towards others or indicating ways of being treated by others. This is a type of prescribed behaviour with correlated obligations. Second, rights involve the idea that they are, in some sense, beneficial to the person who has them. Alternatively, it can be suggested that if someone does not have a given set of rights then that may be considered to be a negative experience. Third, rights are social inventions which define the characteristics of specific communities and societies.

Key Points
  • The concept of universal rights is a contentious issue.
  • Rights differ across cultures and countries.
  • Rights are enshrined in law.
  • Legislation exists to prescribe action and to protect the vulnerable.
  • There is a growing ...

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