Intercultural Human Rights Law Review

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In recent legal literature on human rights, a commonly accepted approach has been to classify such rights in terms of generations, divided into three tiers. Scholars often divide and ascribe human rights to their corresponding generation. In this practice, first generation rights comprise civil and political rights and freedoms, second generation rights include economic, social, and cultural rights, and third generation rights implicate such diffused rights as more recently identified in international human rights law, such as the right to peace, development, a safe and healthy environment, sufficient and safe food for all, or the use of natural resources. This classification is formally based in existing international legal instruments adopted within the framework of the United Nations since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, which contained the first comprehensive catalogue of fundamental human rights without any classification of them. On the one hand, the first and second generation rights are essentially dealt with, respectively, in the two International Covenants of December 16, 1966. Whereas, on the other hand, the third generation rights are reflected in different specific instruments, mainly General Assembly declarations, as their emergence in humanitarian law is more recent and uncertainties in their identification have prevented the adoption of a comprehensive legal instrument dealing with their protection.

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