Human Rights and its significance

Human rights are privileges that we enjoy merely by virtue of being human; no state has the authority to bestow them. No matter our nationality, sex, ethnicity, race, colour, religion, nationality, or any other status, we are all endowed with these universal rights. The most fundamental of them is the right to life, followed by those that make life worthwhile, including the rights to food, education, employment, health, and liberty. Humans are entitled to a few fundamental rights under the international human rights treaty.

These include:

• Right to life.
• Freedom from torture.
• Freedom from slavery.
• Right to liberty and security of person.
• Right to be treated with humanity in detention.
• Freedom of movement.

A key document in the development of human rights is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration, which was written by representatives from all over the world with diverse legal and cultural backgrounds, was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a benchmark of success for all peoples and all countries.

It has been translated into more than 500 languages and for the first time lays out the need for all people to have access to basic human rights protections. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is widely acknowledged as having inspired and opened the way for the passage of more than 70 human rights treaties, which are still in force at the international and regional levels today. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was ratified by India. On December 26, 1949, the Constituent Assembly approved the Indian Constitution, which became operative on January 26, 1950.

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights had a significant impact on our country’s constitution. The Supreme Court noted in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (AIR 1973 SC 1461) that although the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not a binding legal document, it demonstrates how India perceived the nature of human rights at the time the Constitution was formed.

There are several so-called “basic rights” that are guaranteed under the Indian constitution. The term “fundamental rights” means that these rights are necessary and inalienable for all people. Most likely, the prehistoric societies had no idea of human rights. The idea of human rights, in the form of some fundamental natural rights, dates back to the beginning of human civilisation, according to the creator of the natural law doctrine. The natural law theory supported the idea that a person is born with certain unalienable rights, the most important of which being the rights to life, liberty, and property.

The realisation that the poor man’s human rights were merely cosmetic pieces in the shape of a few articles in the written constitution soon emerged that human rights were in fact privileges reserved for the wealthy and powerful. All human rights become useless and irrelevant when poverty denies a person a fair standard of living. the campaign for , however, continued and gained strength after the Second World War. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights soon after the formation of the United Nations in December, 1948. However, it was not properly implemented as by restricting freedom of expression offline and online, the authorities used repressive laws to silence critics.

Activists, journalists, students, lawyers, and actors who advocated for human rights continued to face intimidation and harassment. Human rights defenders’ rights to privacy, non-discrimination, and data protection were breached by the government’s massive illegal surveillance apparatus, according to independent investigations. Human rights NGOs were targeted with the misuse of the foreign contribution law. Members of minority communities and farmers peacefully protesting against farming laws were the targets of excessive force by security and police forces. The right to a fair trial was undermined by the courts, which also delayed crucial cases involving human rights violations.

The right to health was undermined as a result of Covid-19, which led to an increase in the level of opaqueness regarding how funds were distributed. During the second Covid-19 infection wave, hospital beds and oxygen were in short supply for a significant portion of the population. Violence against Dalits and Adivasis based on caste continued unabated. Minority communities were targeted by vigilant cow protection groups, putting their livelihoods in jeopardy. However, the country’s recent focus on improving healthcare, women’s rights, and the well-being of the poor and minority groups demonstrates that there is still hope for human rights!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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