Human rights are the basic rights, to which every single individual is entitled. Human rights are Universal in nature. e.g., the Right to Freedom, the Right to Equality, the Right to Education etc. 10th December, every year, is celebrated as the Human Rights Day.
Characteristics of Human Rights
The main characteristics of Human Rights are as follows:
- Human rights cannot be taken away. However, some special situations demand the alienation of human rights.
- Human rights are inter-linked and cannot be divided. This inter-linkage is assured by the Vienna Declaration and the Programme of Action (1993).
- Human rights are totally equal and non-discriminatory in nature, which means that every individual is equally entitled to them without any discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, colour, caste, community and economic status.
- Human rights entail some obligations as well as the States assume obligations and duties under International law to respect, protect and to fulfill human rights.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The UN established the Commission on Human Rights in 1946. The main objective of the organisation is ‘to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights’. The General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10th December, 1948 in Paris. It has 30 Articles. These rights guarantee everyone, the right to live a decent life.
The Covenants (International Bill of Human Rights)
- The International Covenant on Civil and Political rights.
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.
Categories of Human Rights
Both Civil and Political rights and Economic, Social and Cultural rights are included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). These are categorised as follows:
1. Civil Rights
The main civil rights are as follows:
- Right to Life, Liberty and Security of person.
- Equality before law.
- Right to recognition before the law.
- Freedom of movement and residence within the borders of a particular state.
- Freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
2. Political Rights
The main political rights are as follows:
- Right to take part in the government of one’s country.
- Equality in accessing public services.
- Right to elect the government of one’s own choice.
- Right to a Nationality.
3. Economic Rights
The main economic rights are as follows:
- Right to own property.
- Right to social security.
- Right to work and to be protected against unemployment.
- Equal pay for equal work.
- To form and join Trade Unions.
- To a standard of living.
4. Social Rights
The main social rights are as follows:
- Right to marry and to form a family.
- To have full protection for the family.
- To have special care and assistance for the mother and child.
- Right to Education.
5. Cultural Rights
The main cultural rights are as follows:
- To freely participate in the cultural life.
- Protection of moral and material interests.
- To form any scientific, literacy or artistic production.
Declaration of Rights of the Child
The Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted by the General Assembly in 1959. It provides for every child, the right to special protection, opportunity and facilities for a healthy, and normal development. These rights further got a legal binding with the adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the child by the General Assembly in 1889. The Committee on the Rights of Child was set-up to monitor the progress made by member states in this field. It also investigates the allegation of violation of Children’s Rights.
Basis of All Rights (Articles 1 and 2)
It should be noted that the Articles 1 and 2 of the Human Rights Declaration stand important, as they are the basis of all the rights.
Article 1 : All human beings are born free and are equal in dignity and rights.
Article 2 : Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedom set forth in the declaration, without distinction of any kind. These stress on the following aspects:
- All human beings are naturally born free, so they can enjoy the same privilege.
- Each and every individual should have the same opportunities and rights.
- Harmony and spirit of common brotherhood is to spread amongst all beings.
- No discrimination is allowed against the bases sex, race, color, religion, place in a State.
- Applicability of rights to all countries, even if they are self-governed.
Importance of Human Rights Declaration
Importance of Human Rights Declaration is as follows:
- Nations are made responsible to remove all political and social disabilities and inequalities in accordance with the principles laid down in the Declaration.
- The Universal Nature of Human-Rights : All UN members are supposed to ensure the enforcement of the human rights.
- Violation of Human Rights is a matter of International concern. The Covenant on civil and political rights has set-up a Human Rights Committee which keeps a track of the progress made by the signatory state in matters relating to human rights violations.
- The impact of the Declaration of Constitutions of the World. The declaration incorporates most of the provisions of American and British Bills of rights and has had a great impact on several constitutions enacted in the post Second World War period. e.g., on the Constitution of India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan etc.
- The Preamble of the Indian Constitution contains the objectives of the declaration and it also secures to its citizens Liberty and Equality etc.
- Fundamental Rights and Directives Principles of State Policy of Indian Constitution also assures the citizens their rights. These are present in part III and IV of the Constitution respectively.
Violation of Human Rights
- Violation of human rights means the denial of individual’s basic human rights. For example, genocide, sexual abuse, forced labour, torture slavery, rape etc. Massacres, starvation and genocide are the major painful violations of the Human Rights. Genocide refers to the intentional extermination of a single ethnic racial or religious group.
- Women and girls mostly suffer from such violations and their rights are violated. For example, sexual abuse, prostitution etc. Children are the future of any country but these days they are forcibly pushed into child trafficking, labour, prostitution and sexual abuse.
The concept of Non-Aligned Movement came into existence during the Cold War period, when Asia and Africa decided to remain non-aligned and did not join any power blocs. Non-alignment refers to the International policy of a sovereign state according to which it does not align itself with any of the power blocs.
Features of the Non-Alignment
The main features of the Non-Alignment are as follows:
- It is not aligned to any power blocs and it is against military alliances like NATO, SEATO, Warsaw Pact etc.
- The belief, that each country has the complete freedom to take independent foreign policy decisions.
- Non-alignment stands for action rather than passivism and it judges an issue on merit and is for the freedom and justice of people.
- It actively participates in the politics among nations.
Factors Responsible for the Non-Alignment
The main factors responsible for Non-Alignment are as follows:
- Global tension caused by Cold War.
- Struggle against Imperialism and Neo-Colonisation.
- Right of independent judgement.
- Use of moderation in relations to all big powers.
- Restructuring international economic order.
- Formation of a collective force.
Evolution of the Non-Aligned Movement
The origin of the NAM can be tracked back to the Asian Relations Conference held in New Delhi on March 1947, in which Jawaharlal Nehru highlighted the dangers posed by the Cold War and also stressed the need for the Asian countries to work for maintaining world peace. The concept of NAM was given by Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1954 Panchsheel declaration was signed between Indian and China. The principles, become the guidelines of NAM. These five principles were as follows:
- Mutual non-interference in each-other’s internal affairs.
- Mutual non-aggression.
- Equality for mutual benefit.
- Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
- Peaceful co-existence.
First NAM Summit
It was held in September, 1961 at Belgrade in Yugoslavia. This was attended by 25 Afro-Asian and one European country.
Objectives of NAM
The main objectives of NAM are as follows:
- To eliminate the causes that could lead to war.
- To protect the newly independent countries of Asia and Africa from colonial domination.
- To oppose Colonialism, Imperialism and Racial discrimination.
- To support sovereign equality of all States.
- To advocate peaceful settlement of International disputes and protect human rights and the environment.
- To strengthen the United Nations as an organ of world peace.
Achievements of NAM
The main achievements of NAM are as follows:
- NAM helped in solving tensions between the two power blocs and brought an end to the Cold War.
- NAM acted against the arms race of the superpowers during the Cold War years.
- NAM supports the cause of International peace, justice and freedom.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
NAM advocated the new International economic order and the first UN conference on trade and development. NAM had made the developed countries realise that the continued deprivation of the third world would affect the economy of the world and its prosperity.
Future of NAM
NAM stands for a broader objective of international peace as well as independence of the foreign policy of each sovereign state. It is an effective forum for seeking economic justice. With the emergence of Neo-Colonialism, NAM has become even more relevant. NAM still continues to be a positive, dynamic and constructive movement aimed at achieving Universal peace, Disarmament and Development.
Architects of NAM
The founding fathers of NAM were Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. The term NAM was coined by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1954 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Role of Jawaharlal Nehru
India was the first country, which initiated the policy of NAM, under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru. He was the greatest spokesperson, who talked about the neutrality of Aisan and African states in the Cold War Era, as a threat to world peace and opposed alliances which could encourage imperialism. Nehru believed in disarmament and abolition of stockpiles of nuclear weapons and considered them to be the real threat to the human race.