Human rights are those rights that are fundamental for the human life. Human rights are rights to certain claims and freedoms for all human beings all over the world. These rights, besides being fundamental and universal in character, assumed international dimension.
These rights ensure to make man free. Universalization of Rights without any distinction of any kind is a feature of human rights. These rights recognize the basic human needs and demands. Every country should ensure human rights to its citizens. The Human rights should find its place in the Constitution of every country.
Human rights in International Forums: Human rights are no longer concern of the people of any particular country. It has become an international issue.
The United Nations has adopted a Charter of Human Rights and it asks the governments to respect these rights of their citizens. On 10th day of December, 1948, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the present day, world there is a lot of concern about the protection of human rights.
The problem about human rights varies from society to society. The entitlement of civil, political, economic, and social right of individuals varies from country to country according to the laws governing these rights of the citizens of that country.
Basic human rights: The basic human rights includes:
- right to life, liberty and security of person,
- right to freedom of speech,
- judicial remedy,
- freedom to movement,
- right to take part in the governance of one’s country.
Economic and social rights: The second types of rights are economic and social rights. The rights included in this group are also very important. These includes:
- right to work,
- right to have a good standard of living,
- right to rest and leisure,
- right to education, and
- right for equal pay for equal work.
Women’s rights are human rights: The UN has taken a great deal of interest in the abolition of discrimination against women.
Racial discrimination in South Africa: Racial discrimination is a serious instance of human rights violation. The policy of Apartheid was practiced in South Africa for a long time. Though the Black people formed the majority in South Africa, they were denied their political rights. The white people, who were a minority, were ruling them. However, the UN condemned the racist policy and passed a resolution in this regard.
Finally, South Africa witnessed a momentous change after long years of struggle when they elected a Black President, Mr. Nelson Mandela. The policy of ‘one person one vote’ was the basis for the election. Political and civil rights were given to all the people of South Africa.
Human rights in India: It is the duty of every nation to create such laws and conditions that protect the basic Human rights of its citizens. India being a democratic country provides such rights to its citizens and allows them certain rights including the freedom of expression. These rights, which are called ‘Fundamental Rights’ form an important part of the Constitution of India.
These rights are fundamental in three different ways.
- First, these are basic human rights. As human beings we have the right to enjoy these rights.
- Secondly, our Constitution gives us these fundamental rights and guarantees. These rights are necessary for the citizens of our country to act properly and live in a democratic manner.
- Thirdly, the procedure for the effective enforcement of these guaranteed Fundamental Rights has been mentioned in the constitution itself. Every citizen of India has the right to move to a court of law if he/she is denied these rights. The Constitution is there to safeguard her/his rights.
Fundamental rights in India: The Constitution guarantees to us six Fundamental Rights. The six Fundamental Rights as mentioned in our Constitution are:
- Right to Equality
- Right to freedom
- Right against Exploitation
- Right to Freedom of Religion
- Cultural and Educational Rights
- Right to Constitutional Remedies.
Importance of human rights: The importance of the human rights movement is that it tells people that one cannot call a society a good and a just society until all its citizens enjoy these human rights. The human rights laws aims at eliminating unjust discrimination against any human being.
The concept of Human rights is based on the principle of human solidarity, cooperation, and development and access of all to the common heritage of humankind.
The impact and importance of human rights are so deep and strong that the constitutions of India, Indonesia, Costa Rica and other countries incorporated many of the provisions of rights codified in the said Declaration in their respective constitutions. This may be treated as landmark the history of progress of civilization.
The Charter of human rights exerts tremendous pressure on all political authorities. Strong vigilance is noticed throughout world against the violation of human rights.
Women empowerment: The issue of Women empowerment and inequality have been taken up as a Human rights issue. Several institutions, organizations are working hard to create awareness among the masses. It is high time that every person within the society come forward in support women in her fight for justice. She should be treated at par with men all venues of social framework. Her position need to be elevated.
Limitations: However, the Declaration of Human Rights is not above limitations.
- These rights do not enjoy legal sanction.
- These are somewhat but extra-legal and non-justifiable rights.
However, it remains to be said that the human rights enlisted in the international for are a firm resolve. Hence, the moral principles expressed through these rights, have deeper, and more profound and more lasting influence than any legal instrument.
Conclusion: Even today, there are several instances of human rights violation at various places of the world. There can be no permanent and regular prosperity of human beings unless every country or nation creates such conditions in which human rights are enjoyed by its natives.
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Category: Essays, Paragraphs and Articles
Professor Chris Frost, the former head of journalism at Liverpool John Moores University, told Index of the importance of allowing every individual view to be heard, and that those who fear taking on opposing ideas and seek to silence or no-platform should consider that it is their ideas that may be wrong. He said: “If someone’s views or policies are that appalling then they need to be challenged in public for fear they will, as a prejudice, capture support for lack of challenge. If we are unable to defeat our opponent’s arguments then perhaps it is us that is wrong.
“I would also be concerned at the fascism of a majority (or often a minority) preventing views from being spoken in public merely because they don’t like them and find them difficult to counter. Whether it is through violence or the abuse of power such as no-platform we should always fear those who seek to close down debate and impose their view, right or wrong. They are the tyrants. We need to hear many truths and live many experiences in order to gain the wisdom to make the right and justified decisions.”
Free speech has been the topic of many debates in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The terrorist attack on the satirical magazine’s Paris office, in January 2015, has led to many questioning whether free speech is used as an excuse to be offensive.
Many world leaders spoke out in support of Charlie Hebdo and the hashtag #Jesuischarlie was used worldwide as an act of solidarity. However, the hashtag also faced some criticism as those who denounced the attacks but also found the magazine’s use of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed offensive instead spoke out on Twitter with the hashtag #Jenesuispascharlie.
After the city was the victim of another terrorist attack at the hands of ISIS at the Bataclan Theatre in November 2015, President François Hollande released a statement in which he said: “Freedom will always be stronger than barbarity.” This statement showed solidarity across the country and gave a message that no amount of violence or attacks could take away a person’s freedom.
French cartoonist t0ad told Index about the importance of free speech in allowing him to do his job as a cartoonist, and the effect the attacks have had on free speech in France: “Mundanely and along the same tracks, it means I can draw and post (social media has changed a hell of a lot of notions there) a drawing without expecting the police or secret services knocking at my door and sending me to jail, or risking being lynched. Cartoonists in some other countries do not have that chance, as we are brutally reminded. Free speech makes cartooning a relatively risk-free activity; however…
“Well, you know the howevers: Charlie Hebdo attacks, country law while globalisation of images and ideas, rise of intolerances, complex realities and ever shorter time and thought, etc.
“As we all see, and it concerns the other attacks, the other countries. From where I stand (behind a screen, as many of us), speech seems to have gone freer … where it consists of hate – though this should not be defined as freedom.”
In the spring 2015 issue of Index on Censorship, following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Richard Sambrook, professor of Journalism and director of the Centre for Journalism at Cardiff University, took the opportunity to highlight the number journalists that a murdered around the world every day for doing their job, yet go unnoticed.
Sambrook told Index why everyone should have the right to free speech: “Firstly, it’s a basic liberty. Intellectual restriction is as serious as physical incarceration. Freedom to think and to speak is a basic human right. Anyone seeking to restrict it only does so in the name of seeking further power over individuals against their will. So free speech is an indicator of other freedoms.
“Secondly, it is important for a healthy society. Free speech and the free exchange of ideas is essential to a healthy democracy and – as the UN and the World Bank have researched and indicated – it is crucial for social and economic development. So free speech is not just ‘nice to have’, it is essential to the well-being, prosperity and development of societies.”
Ian Morse, a member of the Index on Censorship youth advisory board told Index how he believes free speech is important for a society to have access to information and know what options are available to them.
He said: “One thing I am beginning to realise is immensely important for a society is for individuals to know what other ideas are out there. Turkey is a baffling case study that I have been looking at for a while, but still evades my understanding. The vast majority of educated and young populations (indeed some older generations as well) realise how detrimental the AKP government has been to the country, internationally and socially. Yet the party still won a large portion of the vote in recent elections.
“I think what’s critical in each of these elections is that right before, the government has blocked Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook – so they’ve simultaneously controlled which information is released and produced a damaging image of the news media. The media crackdown perpetuates the idea that the news and social media, except the ones controlled by the AKP, are bad for the country.”