UNIT 2Human Rights Q1) Define human rights? A1) Human rights are rights that every human being has by virtue of his or her human dignity Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings. They define relationships between individuals and power structures, especially the State. Human rights delimit State power and, at the same time, require States to take positive measures ensuring an environment that enables all people to enjoy their human rights. History in the past 250 years has been shaped by the struggle to create such an environment. Starting with the French and American revolutions in the late eighteenth century, the idea of human rights has driven many revolutionary movements for empowerment and for control over the wielders of power, governments in particular. Human rights are at the core of international law and international relations. They represent basic values common to all cultures and must be respected by countries worldwide. These basic rights are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect and independence. The international law of human rights is the outcome of an evolving process where the responsibility of States derived from their sovereignty has been connected with one of the fundamental values of the international community after World War II. The international law of human rights comprises of both, substantive norms (enunciating rights and duties) and procedural norms that mainly establish monitoring mechanisms to offer some protection against the State at the International level.The term ‘Human Rights’ is a dynamic concept. These rights may be called the basic rights, the fundamental rights, the natural rights or the inherent rights. Human rights represent basic values common to all cultures and must be respected by countries worldwide. The principal objective of both Indian and international laws is to protect the human personality and its fundamental rights. Hence the realization of human rights should be the goal of every state. The subject of human rights has been evoking public interest all over the world. The universal regime of promotion and protection of human rights has been conceived and has grown under the auspices of the Organization of the United Nations. The evolution of the international human rights regime has often been shaped by the push and pulls of political and historical forces and events at the expense of alternative approaches. Q2) Give the Origin and evolution of the concept of human right? A2) The belief that everyone, by virtue of her or his humanity, is entitled to certain human rights is fairly new. Its roots, however, lie in earlier tradition and documents of many cultures; it took the catalyst of World War II to propel human rights onto the global stage and into the global conscience.Throughout much of history, people acquired rights and responsibilities through their membership in a group – a family, indigenous nation, religion, class, community, or state. Most societies have had traditions similar to the "golden rule" of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Hindu Vedas, the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, the Bible, the Quran (Koran), and the Analects of Confucius are five of the oldest written sources which address questions of people’s duties, rights, and responsibilities. In addition, the Inca and Aztec codes of conduct and justice and an Iroquois Constitution were Native American sources that existed well before the 18th century. In fact, all societies, whether in oral or written tradition, have had systems of propriety and justice as well as ways of tending to the health and welfare of their members.Precursors of 20th Century Human Rights DocumentsDocuments asserting individual rights, such the Magna Carta (1215), the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789), and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights (1791) are the written precursors to many of today’s human rights documents. Yet many of these documents, when originally translated into policy, excluded women, people of color, and members of certain social, religious, economic, and political groups. Nevertheless, oppressed people throughout the world have drawn on the principles these documents express to support revolutions that assert the right to self-determination.Contemporary international human rights law and the establishment of the United Nations (UN) have important historical antecedents. Efforts in the 19th century to prohibit the slave trade and to limit the horrors of war are prime examples. In 1919, countries established the International Labor Organization (ILO) to oversee treaties protecting workers with respect to their rights, including their health and safety. Concern over the protection of certain minority groups was raised by the League of Nations at the end of the First World War. However, this organization for international peace and cooperation, created by the victorious European allies, never achieved its goals. The League floundered because the United States refused to join and because the League failed to prevent Japan’s invasion of China and Manchuria (1931) and Italy’s attack on Ethiopia (1935). It finally died with the onset of the Second World War (1939). Q3) What lead to the birth of the United Nations?A3) The idea of human rights emerged stronger after World War II. The extermination by Nazi Germany of over six million Jews, Sinti and Romani (gypsies), homosexuals, and persons with disabilities horrified the world. Trials were held in Nuremberg and Tokyo after World War II, and officials from the defeated countries were punished for committing war crimes, "crimes against peace," and "crimes against humanity."Governments then committed themselves to establishing the United Nations, with the primary goal of bolstering international peace and preventing conflict. People wanted to ensure that never again would anyone be unjustly denied life, freedom, food, shelter, and nationality. The essence of these emerging human rights principles was captured in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address when he spoke of a world founded on four essential freedoms: freedom of speech and religion and freedom from want and fear. The calls came from across the globe for human rights standards to protect citizens from abuses by their governments, standards against which nations could be held accountable for the treatment of those living within their borders. These voices played a critical role in the San Francisco meeting that drafted the United Nations Charter in 1945. In 1945, representatives of 50 states met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organisation to draw up the United Nations Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. The UN Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 states, making international concern for human rights an established part of international law. The United Nations has six principal organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice and the Secretariat. In addition, the United Nations system consists of several specialized agencies and a number of other specialized bodies dealing with human rights. When states become members of the UN, they accept the obligations of the UN Charter that sets out the four main purposes of the UN:
to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to co-operate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights; and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.The UN Charter refers to human rights in the Preamble and Articles 1, 8, 13, 55, 56, 62, 68 and 76: Article 1 defines one of the objectives of the UN as promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.’ Q4) What is the International Bill of Human Rights? Name some Core international human rights treaties.A4) With the establishment in 1945 of the United Nations, “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”2 became one of the fundamental goals pursued by the international community. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) provides the first authoritative elaboration of the term “human rights”, as used in the UN Charter. Although it was not drafted or voted upon as a legally binding instrument, the Declaration can now – close to 70 years later – be considered as a general standard on human rights.Under the leadership of such eminent personalities as Eleanor Roosevelt, René Cassin and Charles Malik, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights succeeded in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in two years. It was adopted by the General Assembly on 10 December 1948. The Declaration sets out civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and the right of everyone “to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Declaration can be fully realized”. Although it is not a binding instrument, and the Socialist States and South Africa abstained when it was adopted, the Declaration has risen, morally and politically, to the status of an immensely authoritative instrument, expressing the United Nations understanding of human rights. Today, it serves as the substantive foundation of the charter-based system of human rights protection.Core international human rights treaties The International Bill of Human Rights has been supplemented with a number of more specific binding instruments, which include both substantive human rights norms as implementing provisions for complaints, reporting and inquiry procedures and other matters. With the two Covenants, these treaties form what are usually referred to as the “core human rights treaties” comprising the following instruments: • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR; adoption in 1966; entry into force in 1976); • Optional Protocol to the ICCPR (OP-ICCPR; adoption in 1966; entry into force in 1976); Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (adoption in 1989); • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR; adoption in 1966; entry into force in 1976); • Optional Protocol to the ICESCR (OP-ICESCR; adoption in 2008; entry into force in 2013); • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD; adoption in 1965; entry into force in 1969); Q5) Name 10 Core international human rights treaties? A5) The International Bill of Human Rights has been supplemented with a number of more specific binding instruments, which include both substantive human rights norms as implementing provisions for complaints, reporting and inquiry procedures and other matters. With the two Covenants, these treaties form what are usually referred to as the “core human rights treaties” comprising the following instruments: • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR; adoption in 1966; entry into force in 1976); • Optional Protocol to the ICCPR (OP-ICCPR; adoption in 1966; entry into force in 1976); Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (adoption in 1989); • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR; adoption in 1966; entry into force in 1976); • Optional Protocol to the ICESCR (OP-ICESCR; adoption in 2008; entry into force in 2013); • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD; adoption in 1965; entry into force in 1969); • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW; adoption in 1979; entry into force in 1981); • Optional Protocol to CEDAW (adoption in 1999; entry into force in 2000); • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT; adoption in 1984; entry into force in 1987); • Optional Protocol to CAT (OPCAT; adoption in 2002; entry into force in 2006); 44 • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC; adoption in 1989; entry into force in 1990) Q6) Explain the universal declaration of human rights?A5) The signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948 was a momentous occasion. Representatives of 48 countries came together to make a profound statement on the value and dignity of human life. After several drafts and much debate, the final version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights emerged. It was a list of basic rights that the international community agreed upon as the inborn (inherent) legacy due to all human beings on earth. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights reflects fundamental beliefs shared by countries around the world regarding human rights. The document is divided into two sections- the preamble, which describes the reasons for creating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 30 Articles that list out basic human rights. There are two main themes contained in the preamble. The first is the belief that in order to support a better quality of life for all, laws that protect human rights must be enforced and respected universally. The second is the belief that, by upholding human rights, "freedom, justice, and peace in the world" can be achieved. In short, respecting human rights means a better world for everyone. There are 30 articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, covering various categories of human rights, such as basic rights (e.g., life, security of the person, freedom); political rights (e.g., right to vote); civil rights and liberties (e.g., freedom of opinion and expression); equality rights (e.g., the right to be free from discrimination); economic rights (e.g., the right to fair wages and safe working conditions); social rights (e.g., access to education and adequate health care); and cultural rights (e.g., the right to speak your native language and practice your culture). Although each of these rights may differ from one another, they are all considered to be part of an indivisible set of human rights. The Declaration provides that everyone has the rights to life, liberty and security of the person; to recognition as a person before the law; to equality before the law; to specified judicial safeguards in criminal trials; to freedoms of movement within the country and the right to leave; to a right to asylum; to a right to nationality; to the right of property; to the freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression; peaceful assembly and association; to the right to social security; right to work and to join trade unions for protection; to the right to an adequate standard of living and education; to participate in the cultural life of the community; to enjoy the arts and share in the scientific advancement and benefits. These rights are provided for the overall development of the individual on political, economic and social fronts both in the national and international sphere. Q7) Explain in detail the Preamble in reference to Human right?A7) Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people. Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law, Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations, Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge, Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction. In perhaps the most resonant and beautiful words of any international agreement, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The commitments made by all States in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are in themselves a mighty achievement, discrediting the tyranny, discrimination and contempt for human beings that have marked human history. The Universal Declaration promises to all the economic, social, political, cultural and civic rights that underpin a life free from want and fear. They are not a reward for good behaviour. They are not country-specific, or particular to a certain era or social group. They are the inalienable entitlements of all people, at all times, and in all places — people of every colour, from every race and ethnic group; whether or not they are disabled; citizens or migrants; no matter their sex, their class, their caste, their creed, their age or sexual orientation. Human rights abuses did not end when the Universal Declaration was adopted. But since then, countless people have gained greater freedom. Violations have been prevented; independence and autonomy have been attained. Many people – though not all – have been able to secure freedom from torture, unjustified imprisonment, summary execution, enforced disappearance, persecution and unjust discrimination, as well as fair access to education, economic opportunities, and adequate resources and health-care. They have obtained justice for wrongs, and national and international protection for their rights, through the strong architecture of the international human rights legal system. The power of the Universal Declaration is the power of ideas to change the world. It inspires us to continue working to ensure that all people can gain freedom, equality and dignity. One vital aspect of this task is to empower people to demand what should be guaranteed: their human rights. Q8) What are the Human Rights constituents with special reference to Fundamental Rights stated in the Constitution?A8) The Rights and Fundamental Rights are sections of the Constitution of India that provides people with their rights. These Fundamental Rights are considered as basic human rights of all citizens, irrespective of their gender, caste, religion or creed. etc. These sections are the vital elements of the constitution, which was developed between 1947 and 1949 by the Constitution of India.There are six fundamental rights in India. They are Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right against Exploitation, Right to Freedom of Religion, Cultural and Educational Rights, and Right to Constitutional Remedies.1.Right to EqualityRight to Equality ensures equal rights for all the citizens. The Right to Equality prohibits inequality on the basis of caste, religion, place of birth, race, or gender. It also ensures equality of opportunity in matters of public employment and prevents the State from discriminating against anyone in matters of employment on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, place of residence or any of them.2. Right to FreedomRight to freedom provides us with various rights. These rights are freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly without arms, freedom of movement throughout the territory of our country, freedom of association, freedom to practice any profession, freedom to reside in any part of the country. However, these rights have their own restrictions.3. Right against ExploitationRight against Exploitation condemns human trafficking, child labor, forced labor making it an offense punishable by law, and also prohibit any act of compelling a person to work without wages where he was legally entitled not to work or to receive remuneration for it. Unless it is for the public purpose, like community services or NGO work. 4. Right to Freedom of ReligionRight to Freedom of Religion guarantees religious freedom and ensures secular states in India. The Constitutions says that the States should treat all religions equally and impartially and that no state has an official religion. It also guarantees all people the freedom of conscience and the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion of their choice. 5. Cultural and Educational RightsCultural and Educational Rights protects the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic minorities by enabling them to conserve their heritage and protecting them against discrimination. Educational rights ensure education for everyone irrespective of their caste, gender, religion, etc. 6. Right to Constitutional RemediesRight to Constitutional Remedies ensures citizens to go to the Supreme Court of India to ask for enforcement or protection against violation of their fundamental rights. The Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to enforce the Fundamental Rights even against private bodies and in case of any violation, award compensation as well to the affected individual.7. Right to PrivacyThe right to Privacy is an intrinsic part of Article 21 (the Right to Freedom) that protects the life and liberty of the citizens.The right to privacy is the newest right assured by the Supreme Court of India. It assures the people's data and personal security.Fundamental rights for Indians have also been aimed at overturning the inequalities of pre-independence social practices. Specifically, they have also been used to abolish untouchability and thus prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. They also forbid trafficking of human beings and forced labour (a crime). They also protect cultural and educational rights of religious establishments. Right to property was changed from fundamental right to legal right. Q9) What are Limitation clauses and Derogation during a state of emergency?A9) Limitation clauses Many obligations to respect human rights are subject to so-called limitation clauses. For instance, the exercise of political freedoms, such as freedom of expression, assembly and association, carries with it duties and responsibilities and may, therefore, be subject to certain formalities, conditions, restrictions and penalties in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of public health or morals, or the protection of the reputation or rights and freedoms of others. If people misuse their freedom of speech and freedom to participate in a demonstration, to incite racial or religious hatred, to promote war propaganda or to encourage others to commit crimes, governments have an obligation to interfere with the exercise of these freedoms in order to protect the human rights of others. Any interference, restriction or penalty must, however, be carried out in accordance with domestic law and must be necessary for achieving the respective aims and national interests in a democratic society. States must in any case demonstrate the necessity of applying such limitations, and take only those measures which are proportionate to the pursuance of the legitimate aims Derogation during a state of emergency In exceptional circumstances, including armed conflict, rioting, natural disasters or other public emergencies that threaten the life of a nation, governments may take measures derogating from their human rights obligations, provided that the following conditions are met:• A state of emergency, which threatens the life of the nation, must be officially declared. • The specific measures derogating from an international treaty must be officially notified to the competent international organizations and other States Parties. • Derogation is permissible only to the extent strictly required by the situation. • The derogation must be lifted as soon as the situation permits. • The rights subject to derogation must not be among those that admit no derogation Give the precursors of 20th century human rights documents?Precursors of 20th Century Human Rights DocumentsDocuments asserting individual rights, such the Magna Carta (1215), the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789), and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights (1791) are the written precursors to many of today’s human rights documents. Yet many of these documents, when originally translated into policy, excluded women, people of color, and members of certain social, religious, economic, and political groups. Nevertheless, oppressed people throughout the world have drawn on the principles these documents express to support revolutions that assert the right to self-determination.Contemporary international human rights law and the establishment of the United Nations (UN) have important historical antecedents. Efforts in the 19th century to prohibit the slave trade and to limit the horrors of war are prime examples. In 1919, countries established the International Labor Organization (ILO) to oversee treaties protecting workers with respect to their rights, including their health and safety. Concern over the protection of certain minority groups was raised by the League of Nations at the end of the First World War. However, this organization for international peace and cooperation, created by the victorious European allies, never achieved its goals. The League floundered because the United States refused to join and because the League failed to prevent Japan’s invasion of China and Manchuria (1931) and Italy’s attack on Ethiopia (1935). It finally died with the onset of the Second World War (1939).
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