Human Rights

10th December marks the International Human Rights Day. Human Rights are basic moral principles that describe certain standards of human behavior that is acceptable and is protected as legal right by international law. These laws are fundamental rights which a person is entitled to simply because he/she is a human being. These rights are inherent to all human beings regardless of their nationality, location, language, religion, ethnicity, color, or gender. These rights are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are free in the sense of being same for everyone.

On 10th December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The declaration was a direct outcome from the experiences of the Second World War. This was the first global expression of rights that all humans are entitled too. The declaration consists of 30 articles that have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and other laws.

Initial draft of the International Declaration of Human Rights; Image Source:
The International Bill of Human Rights consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols. In 1976, after the required number of individual nations had sanctioned the Covenants, then Bill took on the force of International Law.

Image Source:
The fundamental Human rights that exist, and are a right for every human being include the following:

  • The Right To Life: the concept of right to life came to light with the issues of abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, self defense and war. The right states that,

‘Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

– Article 6.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

  • *Freedom From Torture: *history holds proof how torture had been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and bullying. Torture has not only been used by political groups for state motives, but also by individuals or groups to inflict pain. However since mid-20th century, torture has been prohibited under the international law and domestic laws of most countries. It is consider the violation of human rights and has been declared unacceptable by Article 5 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • Freedom From Slavery: Article 4 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

‘No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. * *

Slavery in all forms including debt slavery and human trafficking is banned, despite this the number of slaves in the world today is higher than at any point in history. A 2010 survey claims about 27 million people are affected by slavery due to debt, and human trafficking.

  • Right To Free Trial:

‘Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.’* *

This is one of the most extensive human rights and all international human rights instruments treasure it in more than one article. The aim of this right is to ensure proper administration of justice. The right to fair trial includes the following fair trail rights in civil and criminal proceedings:

  1. The right to be heard by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal,
  2. The right to a public hearing,
  3. The right to be heard within a reasonable time,
  4. The right to counsel, and
  5. The right to interpretation.

  6. *Right Of Speech: *the freedom of speech allows a human being to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of speech is synonymously used with freedom of expression. Freedom of speech thus includes any act of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. Freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and is commonly subject to limitations.

  7. Freedom Of Though, Conscience & Religion:

‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.’

– Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

This practice allows any human to practice any religion in public or private, individually or in a community, to think and freely hold conscientious beliefs and to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.

  • *Freedom Of Movement: *Freedom of movement asserts that a citizen of a state in which that citizen is present has the liberty to travel, reside in, and/or work in any part of the state where one pleases within the limits of respect for the liberty and rights of others, and to leave that state and return at any time.

  • Rights Debates: *The world is constantly changing; events and new possibilities can affect existing rights or require new ones. Advances of technology, medicine, and philosophy constantly challenge the status quo of human rights thinking. Rights debate allows for amendments and additions to the human rights declaration. *

Human Rights are the basic rights of every individual that should harbored, respected and appreciated by one and all.