Human Rights Day is observed on December 10, every year in order to safeguard and protect the rights of common people
“Human rights” is a fairly modern concept, and it is one that has been getting a great deal of attention here in the early years of the twenty-first century. While opinions differ wildly about what constitutes human rights, most modern world citizens believe that all people should have at least the most basic rights.
Human Rights plays a role in everyone’s life, but not everyone realizes it. It’s involved in every comment you make that includes someone different. Every near discriminatory “joke” you say. It affects people, even if it doesn’t affect you. Human rights mean being able to hold hands with the person you love, work where you’re qualified to work without your skin colour or sexual orientation being the reason you can’t; it means having the right to be human, making choices and mistakes. The doctrine of human rights was created to protect every single human regardless of race, gender, sex, nationality, sexual orientation and other differences. The international community established international human rights laws that lay down the obligations of governments to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.
How often do we all say that women are treated differently from men, how unsafe women are in the society, the majority of the population is uneducated, there should exist no white people and black people difference, etc. etc. What all does this mean?
This means that we all humans want men and women to be treated equally, we want social security for women and all others, we want everybody to be educated and we want to end discrimination. We all want to make this happen. Just like these mentioned before and many more are the rights that we wish for.
UN and Human Rights
Article 55 of the United Nations Charter (1945) provide that the world body ‘shall promote universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedom for all’. In pursuance of the UN’S Charter, which provided for setting up of a Commission for the promotion of human rights, a Commission, headed by Mrs Eleanor Roosvelt was constituted in 1946.
The Commission worked hard and finally presented before the UN’s General Assembly the draft declaration of human rights in September, 1948. After several modifications in the draft, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was finally adopted unanimously on 10 December, 1948 by 48 member-states.
Thus the 10th day of December every year is being ceremoniously observed as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Day, all over the world.
Human Rights in Indian Context
From the ancient days, India has been committed to the ideals and doctrine of human rights. In conformity with the UDHR, the Constitution of India, in Part III, provides for sue types of Fundamental Rights ensuring equality, justice and freedom to all citizens of India.
The Part IV captioned ‘Directive Principles of State Policy” also ensure Socio-economic justice and rights. India’s fight for freedom from the clutches of the British rulers was also viewed as a struggle for human rights.
Our six fundamental rights comprise both individual rights and social rights but the emphasis has been put on individual’s right ‘to equality of opportunity for all including those belonging to the weaker and disadvantaged section of the ‘Society in the nature of ‘Protective discrimination’.
SC in recognizing & enforcing Human Rights
Courts can also play a critical role in enforcing economic, social and cultural rights, providing relief to individuals and ensuring that governments implement constitutionally guaranteed economic, social and cultural rights. The role of the Supreme Court, in this regard, is phenomenal. The concepts involved with human rights are dynamic per se. The terms “Life”, “Liberty”, “Equality” and “Dignity” is not defined either in the Constitution of India or Statute. Only through “judicial interpretation”, we conceive the scope and domain of these ever growing and affluent concepts of human existence. Human emancipation against all forms of subjugation or exploitation of State, society or individual is fought on these concepts. All these concepts are so closely juxtaposed in a human life, it will lose its edge and shine in the absence of others.
The Court has converted an ordinary list of fundamental rights into a veritable weapon of the weak through creative judicial interpretation. The Supreme Court gave the lead and moved forward to enlarge Fundamental Rights by a process activist interpretation, while constitutional legislation lagged behind. The Court read into the word ‘life’ in Art. 21 of the Constitution of India several other human rights - the right to live with human dignity, the right to clean and healthy environment, right to education upto 14 years of age, right to emerging medical aid, right to health, right to shelter, right to livelihood, right to fair and speedy trial and right to free legal aid, right to compensation, rights of children, rights against torture, rights of prisoners and so on. The important point here is that some of these rights which are contained in the Chapter on Directive Principles in Part IV have, on account of the widening of Art. 21. “crossed over” imperceptibly from Part IV into Part III. Similarly, the Supreme Court has spelt out the right to freedom of the press and the fundamental right to freedom of information from the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression in Art. 19(1) (a).
Human rights are institutionalized by means of their transformation into positive law. When human rights are guaranteed by a written Constitution, they become enforceable fundamental rights. The foundation of fundamental rights is essentially a foundation for judicially enforcing human rights.
Thus it is concluded that with the spread of human rights jurisprudence across the world it has become necessary to measure compliance of State and non State actors against a universal standard of measurement of such rights. This would enable us to examine the variations and challenges that countries such as India are currently facing in their quest to extend such universally accepted human rights to our citizens. International human rights standards embody universal values of respect for human dignity and human well-being. They not only provide the foundations of a humane, just and a progressive society, but also a compelling normative framework for the formulation of national and international policies and strategies for human development.
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