Essay on “Human Rights” for CSS, PMS and Judiciary Examination

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Essay on “Human Rights”

Rights that belong to an individual as a consequence of being human. The term came into wide use after World War II, replacing the earlier phrase “natural rights,” which had been associated with the Greco-Roman concept of natural law since the end of the Middle Ages. As understood today, human rights refer to a wide variety of values and capabilities reflecting the diversity of human circumstances and history.

The concept of human rights has evolved over time, and various countries have emphasized different aspects of human rights principles and policy. Some nations have emphasized traditional civil and political rights whereas others-particularly communist and socialist regimes-have emphasized the concept of economic and social rights. Some governments have embraced both sets of principles.

Human rights are a special sort of inalienable moral entitlement. They attach to all persons equally, by virtue of their humanity, irrespective of race, nationality, or membership of any particular social group. They specify the minimum conditions for human dignity and a tolerable life.

The first generation of civil and political rights restricts what others may do, for example, life, liberty, and freedom from torture. The second generation of social and economic rights required active provision, such as by imposing an obligation on the government. Some analysts call them ideals, often constrained in practice by inadequate resources. A third-generation concerns such rights as peace, development, and humanitarian assistance. While many of the claims attach to individuals some belong to collectivities, such as the right to national self-determination.

These are the following rights that are available to every human being:

  • Security of Life and Property
  • The Protection of Honor
  • Sanctity and Security of Private Life
  • The Security of Personal Freedom
  • Right to Protest Against Tyranny
  • Freedom of Expression
  • Freedom of Association
  • Protection of Religious Sentiments
  • Protection from Arbitrary Imprisonment
  • The Rights Jo Basic Necessities of Life
  • Equality Before Law
  • Rulers Not Above the Law
  • The Right to Participate in the Affairs of the State

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the notion of national sovereignty came under increasing challenge, and reformers began to press for international humanitarian standards. In special conferences such as the Hague Conference of 1899 and 1907, nations created laws governing the conduct of wars and handling of prisoners.

Not until after World War II did the international community create international treaties establishing human rights standards. The United Nations, created in 1945, took the lead in this effort. In its charter or founding document, the United Nations developed objectives for worldwide human rights standards. It called for equal rights and self-determination for all peoples, as well as “universal respect for, and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race. sex. language, or religion” (art. 55).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1948, also became an important human rights document.

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To develop the U.N. Charter into an international code of human rights law, the international community created a number of multilatera·1 human rights treaties. The two most significant of these are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, both put into effect in 1976. These treaties forbid discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or another status. The two covenants, along with the U.N.  Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and an accord called the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976), constitute a body of law that has been called the International Bill of Human Rights.

The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights includes protections for the right to life, except after conviction for a serious crime (art. 6); freedom from torture and other cruel and inhumane punishment (art. 7); freedom from slavery and prohibition from slave trade (art. 8); freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention (art. 9); humane treatment of prisoners (art. 1 O); freedom of movement and choice of residence (art. 12); legal standards, including equality before the law, fair hearings before an impartial tribunal, presumption of innocence, a prompt and fair trial, the right to counsel, and the right to review by a higher court; freedom of thought, conscience, and religion (ar. 18); and freedom of association, including association in trade unions (art.22).

The Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights protects additional rights, many of which have yet to be realized in poorer countries. These include the right to work (art. 6); to just wages and safe working conditions (art. 7); to social security and social insurance (art. 9); to a decent standard of living and freedom from hunger (art. 11 ); to universal basic education (art. 13); and to an enjoyment of the cultural life and scientific progress of the country.

The international community has also adopted many other human rights treaties. These include the Convention on the Preventiofl and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948); the Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1953); the Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery (revised 1953); the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel. Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment (1987); and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990). In addition to worldwide human rights agreements, countries have also established regional conventions.

These include the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the American Convention on Human Rights, and the African Charter on Human and
Peoples’ Rights. Human rights refer to “the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the taw.”

The United Nations International Bill of Human Rights states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

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The idea of human rights descended from the philosophical idea of natural rights that are provided by God; some recognize virtually no difference between the two and regard both as labels for the same thing while others choose to keep the terms separate to eliminate association with some features traditionally associated with natural rights. John Locke is perhaps the most important philosopher that developed this theory.

Human rights legislation

The United Nations

The United Nations is the only international entity with jurisdiction for universal human rights legislation. All UN organs have advisory roles to the Security Council. Article 1-3 of the
United Nations Charter states “To achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and
encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

United Nations Human Rights Council

This UN organ is involved with the investigation into violations of human rights.

International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations:

  • Human Rights Legislation – Treaties & National Legislation
  • Where it has been adopted, legislation commonly contains
  • security rights that prohibit crimes such as murder/”enforced” involuntary suicide, massacre, torture, and rape
  • liberty rights that protect freedoms in areas such as belief and religion, association, assembling, and movement
  • political rights that protect the liberty to participate in politics by expressing themselves, protesting, participating in a republic due process rights that protect against abuses of the legal system such as imprisonment without trial, secret trials, and excessive punishments
  • equality rights that guarantee equal citizenship, equality before the law, and nondiscrimination
  • welfare rights (also known as economic rights) that require the provision of; e.g., education, paid holidays, and protections against severe poverty and starvation
  • group rights that provide protection for groups against ethnic genocide and for the ownership by countries of their national territories and resources

Philosophy of human rights

Types

Human rights are sometimes divided into negative and positive rights. “Negative” human rights, which follow mainly from the Anglo-American legal tradition, are rights that a government
and/or private entities may not take action. to remove. For example, the right to life and the security of personal freedom from slavery; equality before the law and due process under the rule
of law; freedom of movement; freedoms of speech, religion, assembly; the right to bear arms.

These have been codified in documents including the Scottish Claim of Rights; the English Bill of Rights the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the United States Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment.

“Positive” human rights mainly follow from the Rousseauian Continental European .legal tradition and denote entitlements that the state is obliged to protect and provide. Examples of such rights include the rights to education, health care to a livelihood. Positive rights. have been codified in the Universal Declaration· of Human Rights and in many 20th century constitutions.

Justification of human rights

Several theoretical approaches have been advanced to explain how human rights become part of social expectations. The biological theory considers the comparative reproductive advantage of human social behavior based on empathy and altruism in the context of natural selection. Other theories hold that human rights codify moral behavior, which is a human, social product developed by a process of biological and social evolution or as a sociological pattern of rule setting This approach includes the notion that individuals in a society accept rules from legitimate authority in exchange for security and economic advantage.

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On the other hand, natural law theories base human rights on the “natural” moral order that derives from religious precepts such as common understandings of justice and the belief that moral behavior is a set of objectively valid prescriptions. Some have used religious texts such as the Bible and Qur’an to support human rights arguments. However, there are also more secular forms of natural law theory that ·understand human rights as derivative of the notion of universal human dignity.

Yet others have attempted t< construct an “interests theory” defense of human rights. For example, the philosopher John Finnis argues that human rights are justifiable on the grounds of their instrumental value in creating the necessary conditions for human well-being. Some interest theorists also justify· the duty to respect the rights of other individuals on grounds of self-interest (rather than altruism or benevolence). Reciprocal recognition and respect of rights ensure that one:s own will be protected.

Ultimately, the term “human rights” is often itself an appeal to a transcendent principle, not based on existing legal concepts. The term “Humanism” refers to the developing doctrine of such universally applicable values. The term “human rights” has replaced the term “natural rights” in popularity, because the rights are less and less frequently seen as requiring natural law for their existence.

Violations of human rights Violation is an abuse of people in a way that it abuses any fundamental human rights. It is a term used when a government violates national or international law related to the protection of human rights.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  fundamental human rights are violated when among other things:

  • A certain race, creed, or group is denied recognition as a “person”.
  • Men and women are not treated as equal
  • Different racial or religious groups are not treated as equal
  • The life, liberty, or security of a person is threatened
  • A person is sold cs or used as a slave
  • Cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment is used on a person such as torture or execution
  • Victims of abuse are denied an effective judicial remedy
  • Punishments are dealt with arbitrarily or unilaterally, without a proper and fair trial
  • Arbitrary interference into personal, or private lives by agents of the state
  • Citizens are forbidden to leave or return to their country
  • Freedom of speech or religion is denied
  • The right to join a trade union is denied
  • Education is denied

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