Natural Rights, doctrine of

The direct antecedent to the concept of human rights (see Human rights, history and characteristics of the concept of) is found in the doctrine of natural rights, which emerged in the 17th century and whose most complete exponent was the English thinker John Locke (1632 -1704). At a time when absolutist monarchies dominated Europe, Locke was particularly concerned about the concentration of power and the consequent abuses against the individual. According to his argument – ​​derived from an eminently religious matrix and, more specifically, Protestant – each individual has a fundamental and direct responsibility in the realization of God's plan: the survival and flourishing of his creatures, human beings. . In this way, the basic rule of "natural law" (the set of fundamental norms that any person could discern using reason) consists of respecting the life, liberty and property of others, because only in this way can they survive and flourish. , and therefore only in this way can the divine plan be fulfilled (Freeman, 2002: 20-21). Linking this argument to a "contractualist" theory, Locke derives the existence of a triad of fundamental rights of the individual: life, liberty, and property. Locke argues (1999: 47-53, 119-122, 179-198) that in order to escape from the “state of nature” –characterized primarily by conflict and insecurity– individuals found it necessary to constitute a government whose obligations and limits were given by the "natural law" itself. The raison d'être of government is, therefore, to guarantee the life, liberty, and property of individuals. By failing in this obligation and, even more, by violating it directly, it loses its mandate and individuals acquire the right to rebel and put it down. The individual has, then, a series of natural rights (to life, liberty and property) that the authority is obliged to respect. Thus arises the idea of ​​the existence of fundamental rights of the individual, above the authority of the State, as a solution to the old problem of the abuse of power, in particular the abuse by the State itself; idea that was taken up as a source of inspiration and justification during the two great revolutions of the 18th century: the North American and the French.

Progressive development (progressivity)

Gradual and continuous expansion of the protection of human rights, expressed in:

a) The recognition and insertion of new rights in the laws (Nikken, 1994). For example, the right to territory has been recognized in ILO Convention 169. However, it has not yet been integrated into the internal laws of Mexico. Its recognition in the CPEUM would be a case of progressive development.

b) In the issuance of new laws, norms and programs that allow the development and guarantee of already recognized rights (ICESCR, 1966). For example: the adoption of effective mechanisms that allow people who have suffered the violation of a human right to repair the damage caused by the infraction.

The ICESCR has established this principle of “progressive development”, in part, as “a recognition of the fact that the full realization of all economic, social and cultural rights in general cannot be achieved in a short period of time” (CESCR , 1990). However, this principle is considered applicable to all human rights in general. In this regard, the IACHR has established that the progressive development of rights is not limited to economic, social, and cultural rights. The principle of progressivity is inherent in all human rights instruments as they are developed and expanded. Human rights treaties often include provisions that implicitly or explicitly provide for the expansion of the rights contained therein.”(IACHR, 1993: 523).

Sustainable development

Emerged from the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987, it is defined as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (UN General Assembly: Resolution 42/187 ). For its part, the UN, understanding that the center of development is the human being, has taken up the issue on several occasions, highlighting the strong link between environmental problems and the enjoyment of human rights (Gil Pérez, 2004; see also the ICESCR).


Name used to designate people or groups of people who have been forced to leave their homes or places of habitual residence due to an armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, human rights violations or natural disasters or caused by the human being, and that they have not yet crossed an internationally recognized border between States or that they do so in order to avoid the effects of all this (Deng, 1998).

Because this term has similarities with that of refugees (especially in terms of the reasons why they leave their homes), it is important to mention that UNHCR has considered that the only fact that differentiates internally displaced persons from refugees is that the former do not cross the international border. This differentiation, in terms of rights, is important, since while the refugees, crossing the border, become