Introduction to Human Rights:
The U.N.O defines Human rights as “The rights inherent to all human beings, status. Everyone is entitled to these rights ethnicity, language, religion or any other without discrimination.”
The history of human rights has roots in all the great events of the world and it has sustained the struggle for freedom and equality everywhere. The United Nations Organisation (U.N.O) was formed after the Second World War. It proposed to deal with the consequences of war and to prevent such happenings in the future. UNO was established in 1945 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR) has played a crucial role in promoting human rights.
(i). Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone document in the history of human rights. It was drafted by the representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world. The Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10th December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217A) as a common standard of achievement of all people and all nations. The first time it sets out the fundamental human rights to be universally protected and the UDHR has been translated into many languages.
There are 30 articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it guarantees freedom of expression as well as civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. These rights apply to all people, irrespective of their race, gender and nationality, as all people are born free and equal.
This general explanation of Human Rights by UDHR is not a legally binding document; however, it has political and moral importance and many of its guarantees have become standard norms today.
(ii). Social, Economic and Cultural Rights:
Social, economic and cultural rights are integral parts of the human rights law that developed due to the aftermath of World War II.
Social rights are necessary for full participation in society. Economic rights guarantee every person to have conditions under which they are able to meet their needs. They are a part of a range of legal principles through which economic equality and freedom are preserved in a State.
Cultural rights are human rights that aim at assuring the enjoyment of culture and its components in conditions of equality, human dignity, and non-discrimination.
Civil and Political Rights:-
Civil and political rights protect an individual’s freedom from infringement by the government, social organizations and private individuals. These rights ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and state.
The term ‘Civil rights’ refers to the basic rights afforded by laws of the government, to every person regardless of race, nationality, color, gender, age, religion, etc.,
Political rights exercised in the formation and administration of a government. They are given to the citizens by law. These rights give power to the citizens to participate either directly or indirectly in the administration.
(iii). National Human Rights Commission:
The National Human Rights Commission is an autonomous body constituted on 12th October 1993 under the protection of the Human rights Act,1993. It consists of a chairman and a few other members. NHRC is responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights in India defined by the Act as rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the international covenants.
Functions of NHRC:
• To inquire into the violation of human rights or negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant
• To intervene in court proceedings relating to human rights
• To undertake and promote research in the field of human rights
• To engage in human rights education among various sections of society
• To encourage the effects of NGOs and institutions working in the field of human rights.
(iv). State Human Rights Commission(SHRC):
Every state in India has a State Human Rights Commission established in accordance with the power conferred on the state under section 21 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. The protection and promotion of human rights constitute the principal concern of the Commission. Moreover, the procedures adopted by the Commission to conduct its proceedings, the suo motu actions taken on complaints regardless of the sources received and the transparency of the proceedings of the SHRC add strength to its functioning in a state.
Functions of SHRC
• The SHRC shall enquire into violation of human rights in respect of matters specified in the state and concurrent lists.
• Its objectives and duties are the same as NHRC but confined only to the state. It has a chairman and two members.
• It has the power of a civil court and can take cognizance of cases if received or in suo motu.
• It can also recommend compensation to victims.
(v). Child Rights:
Apart from the fundamental rights described by the Constitution, we have to ensure certain other rights. A child is a person who has not completed the age of 18 years i.e. a minor as per UNO. This principle is exhibited in Articles 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Based on these principles, the declaration of the Rights of the child was accepted and adopted in the UN General Assembly on 20th November 1989.
• Right to life
• Right to a family environment
• Right to Education
• Right to benefit from Social security
• Right against sexual exploitation
• Right against sale or trafficking
• Right against other forms of exploitation like Child labor.
(a) Right to life:
A child has the right to survive even before its birth. The right to survival also includes the right to be born, the right to basic needs of food, shelter and clothing and dignified living.
(b) Right to Family Environment:
A child has the right to live a normal childhood in a family environment. Children who have been left destitute, abandoned or orphaned also have the right to live. These children can be given for adoption to caring families.
(c) Right to benefit from Social security:
Children should get financial support from the country when their parents or guardians are unable to provide them with a good standard of living by themselves, due to any illness, disability or old age.
(d) Right to Education:
Right to Education Act is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 2009 for free and compulsory education for children from 6 to 14 years of age as under Article 21A of the Constitution.
(e) Right against sale or trafficking:
Children should be treated as individuals with fundamental human rights. Children are vulnerable. There
are root causes such as poverty, gender discrimination, broken families, etc., behind the sale or trafficking of children. Children are subjected to sale or trafficking for various reasons – economic exploitation, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, drug trafficking, and child labor.
(f) Right against sexual exploitation:
The state should protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities physically or mentally.
(g) Right against other forms of exploitation like Child labor:
Children are often employed in several industries. These children are deprived of their childhood, health, and education. This will lead to a life of poverty and want. These children are made to work in glass, match-box, lock-making factories, rag-picking, carpet-making the industry, beedi – rolling, mining, stone quarrying, brick kilns, and tea gardens, etc.
Work is mostly gender-specific, with girls performing more home-based work, while boys are employed as waged labor. Since these children work in agricultural fields, restaurants, motor repair workshops, and home-based industries, elimination of child labor remains a challenge.
(vi). Women Rights:
The National Commission for Women (NCW) is constituted in India to review the Constitutional and legal safeguards recommend or women end remedial measures and advise the government on all matters of policy affecting the welfare and development of women in the country.
In modern India, women have held high offices including that of the President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, and Governors.
Women’s rights under the Constitution of India mainly include equality, dignity, and freedom from discrimination; additionally, India has various statutes governing the rights of women.
(vii). Right to Information Act (RTI):
The Right to Information Act is a revolutionary act that aims to promote transparency in the government institutions in India. This act was enacted in October 2005.
A common man can demand any government organization to provide information. The information must be provided within thirty days. If not, a fee will be collected as a penalty from the concerned official.
It is one of the most powerful laws in the country. This act is people-friendly; even an illiterate person can ask any Public Information Officer to write it down for him. All government agencies like Municipal Corporations, Government departments, Government Schools, Road Authorities, etc., come under this Act.
(viii). Labour Rights:
The Constitution ensures the right to equality, equality of opportunity in public employment, right to form associations and unions, right to livelihood, prohibits trafficking, forced labor, and child labor. Article 39(d) ensures equal wages to male and female workers for equal work.
“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened,” said John F. Kennedy. Civilized nations of the world insist on equality. Nations pay more attention to human rights to ensure equality. This helps in maintaining peace, harmony, and development of the country.
Dr.B.R. Ambedkar’s contribution to laborers.
• Reduction in Factory Working Hours (8 hours a day)
• Compulsory Recognition of Trade Unions
• Employment Exchange in India
• Employees State Insurance (ESI)
• Minimum Wages
• Coal and Mica Mines Provident Fund