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Know About Human Rights

What are Human Rights?

Universal Declaration of Human Rights introduction, whereas recognition of the built-in dignity and of the equal and absolute rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in cruel acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy the freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been indicated as the highest aspiration of the common people.

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations, Whereas the people’s faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, Whereas a human have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the government, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge, Now, therefore, The General Assembly, indicates this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Human rights in India is an issue complicated by the country's large size, its tremendous diversity, its status as a developing country and a sovereign, secular, democratic republic. The Constitution of India provides for Fundamental rights, which include freedom of religion. Clauses also provide for Freedom of Speech, as well as separation of executive and judiciary and freedom of movement within the country and abroad.

In India the idea of human rights is not a contribution of western countries. These rights are a common heritage of glorious past. Of course, the enjoyment of these rights was not open to all segments of the society. There was no uniform application of these freedoms as the society was a caste-ridden hierarchical one. Throughout the period of liberation movement, Indians fought for the protection of their human rights such as political freedom and right of self-determination.

After independence, the constitution of India was formulated with a guarantee of fundamental rights and freedom. In conformity with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Part III of the Indian Constitution provides six types of Fundamental Rights. All citizens are made equal in the enjoyment of rights and opportunities. At the same time special care is taken for protecting the interests of the weaker sections of the society through the policy of protective discrimination. There is reservation of seats for these weaker sections in the legislature and employment in government jobs.

The Constitution of India not only provides six fundamental rights to citizens but also has made them enforceable. The cases of the violation of human rights are alleged to be plenty which have taken different forms in different times. The examples are communal violence, caste rivalry, starvation death, exploitation of workers, domestic violence, custodian violence, sexual violence, social discrimination etc. For the eradication of this violence’s, a democratic polity, parliamentary form of government and an impartial and independent judiciary have been established.

India has been committed to ensure the protection and preservation of these rights. Judiciary has been separated from the executive. With the power of judicial review, the Supreme Court is empowered to strike down any law of the legislature and any order of the executive if they violate the fundamental rights of the people.

With the right to constitutional remedies, a citizen can move to court for getting the enforcement of the fundamental rights. For the eradication of poverty, hunger, disease, unemployment, illiteracy etc., India is committed to realize economic development through socio-economic planning. It has adopted the principle of economic liberalization and world economy with its New Economic Policy of 1991 and has become the member of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995.

Since 1980s, new types of mechanisms have been evolved for the protection of human rights of the poor, exploited and other disadvantaged groups of people. The system of free legal aid for the poor, the creation of Fast Track Courts and Special Courts for the speedy trial of cases, and the system of Public Interest Litigation are designed for the protection of the rights of the people.

The Supreme Court of India is recognizing Public Interest Litigations to a great extent. It enables social activists and conscious citizens to appeal for the protection of the human rights of the weaker sections of the society. The judiciary has been activated with these Public Interest Litigations and directing various governmental and private bodies to ensure the rights of the people. The Judiciary also orders for the appointment of Inquiry Commissions to investigate and report regarding the cases of violation of human rights.

Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • We are All Born Free & Equal: We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all treat in the same way.
  • Don’t Discriminate: These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences.
  • The Right to life: We all have the life, and to live in freedom and safety.
  • No Slavery: Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make any one our slave.
  • No Torture: Nobody has any right to hurt us or torture us.
  • You have Rights. No Matter where you go: I am a person just like you.
  • We are all Equal, Before the Law: The law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly.
  • Your Human Rights are Protected by law : We can all ask for law to help us when we are not treated fairly.
  • No Unfair, Detainment: Nobody has to right to put us in person without good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country.
  • No Unfair to Trial: If we are put on trial this should be public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do.
  • We are always innocent till proven guilty: Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. When people say we did a bad thing we have right to show it is not true.
  • The Right to Privacy: Nobody should try to good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters, or bother us or family without a good reason.
  • Freedom to Move: We all have to where we want in our own country to travel as we wish.
  • The Rights to seek a safe place to Live: If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to run away to another country to be safe.
  • Right to a Nationality: We all have right to belong to country.
  • Marriage and Family : Every grown up has the right to marry and have family if they want to men and women have the same right when they are married, and when they are separated.
  • The Right to own your things: Everyone has the right to own things or share them.
  • Freedom of Thought: We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion or change it we want.
  • Freedom of Expression: We all have the right to make up our own minds to think what we like, to say what we think and to share our ideas with other people.
  • The Right to Public Assembly: We all have the right to our friend and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join group if we don’t want to.
  • The Right to Democracy: We all have the take part in the Government of our country. Every grown up should be allowed to choose their own leaders.
  • Social Society: We all have right to affordable housing medicine, education and child care enough money to live on medical help if we are ill or old.
  • Worker’s Right: Every grown up the right to do a job, to a fair wage for their work and to join a trade union.
  • The Right to Play: We all have right to rest from work and relax.
  • Food and shelter for all: We all have right to a good life. Mother and Children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled and all people have the right to be cared for.
  • The Right to Education: Education is right, primary school should be free. We should learn about the United Nations and how to get with other. Our parents can choose what we learn.
  • Copyright: Copyright is special law that protects one’s own artistic creations and writings; other cannot make copies without permission. We all have right to our own way of life and to enjoy the good things that art, science and learning bring.
  • A fair and free world: There must be proper order so we all enjoy rights and freedom in our own country and all over the world.
  • Responsibility: We have a duty to other people and we should protect their right and freedom.
  • No one can take away your Human Rights.

Protection of Human Rights

Fight against Domestic Violence.

Two-thirds of all married women in India are subjected to domestic violence and a shocking 57% of them think it is justified. These figures reveal that not only are the women of this country unsafe within their homes, many of them have been conditioned to accept their fate silently.

Domestic violence is very common in Indian society. But the common Indian woman is terrified of reporting it to the police or filing for divorce. Instead they become victims of the crime for their entire life and develop suicidal tendencies because of the taboo associated with a divorced woman and the fear of sustaining herself and her kids.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 was brought into force by the Indian government from October 26, 2006. The Act was passed by the Parliament in August 2005 and assented to by the President on 13 September 2005. As of November 2007, it has been ratified by four of twenty-eight state governments in India; namely Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Of about 8,000 criminal cases registered all over India under this act, Rajasthan had 3440 cases; Kerala had 1,028 cases, while Punjab had 172 cases registered.

Primarily meant to provide protection to the wife or female live-in partner from domestic violence at the hands of the husband or male live-in partner or his relatives, the law also extends its protection to women living in a household such as sisters, widows or mothers. Domestic violence under the act includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic.[2] Harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands to the woman or her relatives would also be covered under this definition.

The salient features of the Protection from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are as follows:

The Act seeks to cover those women who are or have been in a relationship with the abuser where both parties have lived together in a shared household and are related by consanguinity, marriage or a relationship in the nature of marriage, or adoption; in addition relationship with family members living together as a joint family are also included. Even those women who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women, or living with the abuser are entitled to get legal protection under the proposed Act.

"Domestic violence" includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse that is physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic. Harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands to the woman or her relatives would also be covered under this definition.

One of the most important features of the Act is the woman’s right to secure housing. The Act provides for the woman’s right to reside in the matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in the household. This right is secured by a residence order, which is passed by a court. These residence orders cannot be passed against anyone who is a woman.

The other relief envisaged under the Act is that of the power of the court to pass protection orders that prevent the abuser from aiding or committing an act of domestic violence or any other specified act, entering a workplace or any other place frequented by the abused, attempting to communicate with the abused, isolating any assets used by both the parties and causing violence to the abused, her relatives and others who provide her assistance from the domestic violence.

The draft Act provides for appointment of Protection Officers and NGOs to provide assistance to the woman w.r.t medical examination, legal aid, safe shelter, etc.

The Act provides for breach of protection order or interim protection order by the respondent as a cognizable and non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees or with both. Similarly, non-compliance or discharge of duties by the Protection Officer is also sought to be made an offence under the Act with similar punishment.

Fight against Child Labour

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 defines a child as a person who has not completed fourteen years of age. The Factories Act, 1948 and Plantation Labour Act 1951 states that a child is one that has not completed fifteen years of age and an adolescent is one who has completed fifteen years of age but has not completed eighteen years of age. According to the Factories Act adolescents are allowed to work in factories as long as they are deemed medically fit but may not for more than four and half hours a day. The Motor Transport Workers Act 1961, and The Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act 1966, both define a child as a person who has not completed fourteen years of age.

The Merchant Shipping Act 1958 and Apprentices Act 1961 don't define a child, but in provisions of the act state that a child below fourteen is not permitted to work in occupations of the act. The Mines Act, 1952 is the only labour related act that defines adult as person who has completed eighteen years of age (hence a child is a person who has not completed eighteen years of age).

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 states that a male has not reached majority until he is twenty-one years of age and a female has not reached majority until she is eighteen years of age. The Indian Majority Act, 1875 was enacted to create a blanket definition of a minor for such acts as the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890. Under the Indian Majority Act, 1875 a person has not attainted majority until he or she is of eighteen years of age. This definition of a minor also stands for both the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 and the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. Muslim, Christian and Zoroastrian personal law also upholds eighteen as the age of majority. The first Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 defined a boy child as below sixteen years of age and a girl child as below eighteen years of age. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 has changed the definition of child to any person who has not completed eighteen years of age.

Because of its umbrella clauses and because it is the latest law to be enacted regarding child rights and protection, many are of the opinion that the definition of child found in the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 should be considered the legal definition for a child in all matters.

Fight Against Children & Women Trafficking

In the wake of globalization and the resultant marginalization and alienation of large sections of humanity, sex trafficking has become a matter of urgent concern today worldwide. In India alone, over 200 thousand women and children are inducted into the flesh trade every year. The state of Andhra Pradesh is one of the largest suppliers of women and children for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Economic hardships coupled with the prevailing status of women in society, and changing public attitudes towards sex and morality creates the context for the flourishing of this modern-day form of slavery. A disturbing fact is that the age of the children is progressively declining to meet the male demand for younger prostitutes. There is a widely held belief that sex with children, especially virgins, will cure sexually transmitted diseases and prevent one from contracting HIV/AIDS. One of every four victims rescued from prostitution is a child, and 60% of these children are HIV positive.

Sex trafficking not only results in a severe violation of human rights but also causes adverse physical, psychological and moral consequences for the victims. All hopes and dreams of a better life are shattered and over time the girls become penniless, mentally broken and affected with serious or life-threatening illnesses such as HIV/AIDS. The journey of sex trafficking destroys the body, mind and soul of a victim, and fundamentally takes away her capacity to trust herself or anyone around her. The damage done is deep rooted and often irreversible, as the sense of rejection, betrayal and numbness that a trafficked women or girl goes through makes her lose faith in humanity. Skewed identity, poor self-worth and learnt helplessness also make her believe there is no hope for her in the outside world and her destiny is to sell her body.

Today, sex trafficking in women and children is one of the fastest growing areas of national and international criminal activity. It is a multi-billion dollar industry, and has created complex criminal networks - at times, with the patronage of those in power. Lack of suitable laws and law enforcement machinery add to the problem.

Our Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative in Northern India launched in 2014 dedicated to ending human trafficking. The initiative focuses on training local to identify victims, facilitate rescues and provide aftercare. Along with education and job training, these things empower these young women and children to have promising futures. Our volunteers are also bringing awareness about trafficking to their communities. Awareness campaigns will be effective in diminishing, eliminating the demand.

In 2013 the central government in India took significant steps to address the issue of human trafficking in their country. From 2008 to 2009, the government allocated a special budget to the Ministry of Home Affairs to create 297 anti-human trafficking units across the nation. The purpose of these units is to train and sensitize law enforcement officials to begin seeing trafficked girls as victims, not willing participants. These units aim to act in the best interest of the victim in order to prevent secondary victimization or re-victimization of those being rescued. Additionally, 35 anti-human trafficking police units were established to help address the growing issue. These officers were not familiar with proper procedures following a raid, including how to coordinate with different semi-government bodies and voluntary organizations, which often leads to penalizing the victims as opposed to coming to their aid. This new direction, new focus and commitment to working as a united front are a significant achievement for our partners in Northern India.

Social Jutice Awareness

The solution to social injustice lies within us only. We should be aware of the expressions the poor, the backwards, social justice which are being used to undermine standards, to flout norms and to put institutions to work. Despite the well intentioned commitment of ensuring social justice through equalization or protective discrimination policy, the governmental efforts have caused some tension in the society. In the name of social justice even such activities are performed which have nothing to do with social justice. The need of hour is to ensure the proper and balanced implementation of policies so as to make social justice an effective vehicle of social progress.

While Liberalism puts freedom first it is conscious of the fact that such freedom is hollow unless it is accompanied by a sense of security and equality. A liberal social policy should aim at providing the most disadvantaged with access to opportunities and, at the same time create a social net that strengthens their ability to cope with crises. Successive governments have attempted to meet the basic needs of people by spending large sums of money on various subsidies, a variety of employment generation and poverty alleviation schemes. While these schemes have created a huge distributive bureaucracy only a small percentage of the sums sanctioned actually reach the intended recipient groups. They have bred corruption on a massive scale.

A phenomenal amount of resources are wasted, destabilizing public finances, harming economic development and burdening future generations. Alongside of measures to liberalize the economy which would create new employment opportunities there is needed to encourage entrepreneurship and self-employment particularly in the light of fast developing technology. This would spur an upward movement of people and each entrepreneur can provide work for one or more persons. Jobs and self-employment opportunities have to be encouraged in sectors like agriculture, plantations, and in a variety of infrastructural activities, etc. Employing techniques that involve a judicial mix of machines and manual labour, the country’s enormous economic potential can be exploited to the benefit of the less fortunate sections of the population.

Without administrative and political decentralization the goals of social justice may not be accomplished. Letting people decide what their development needs are will not only generate social and political awareness among them but also instill a sense of self-respect and build strong leadership at the local and community levels.