With roots in the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans, modern human rights
standards have developed rapidly since 1945. The notion, though pervasive today, is
relatively modern. Before the 1940s, the term “human rights” was virtually unheard of, save
a few notable exceptions.1 By 1990, the reach and extent of human rights had become
undeniable. Following the atrocities of the World Wars, the development of the United
Nations, and the rise of non-governmental organizations, universal human rights rhetoric is
more prevalent now than ever before in history.2 Human rights, or lack thereof, play a central
and pivotal role in global and international politics.
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