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What are Human Rights?

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law , general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

History Behind Human Rights

In 539 B.C., the armies of Cyrus the Great, the first king of ancient Persia, conquered the city of Babylon. But it was his next actions that marked a major advance for Man. He freed the slaves, declared that all people had the right to choose their own religion, and established racial equality. These and other decrees were recorded on a baked-clay cylinder in the Akkadian language with cuneiform script. Known today as the Cyrus Cylinder, this ancient record has now been recognized as the worlds first charter of human rights. It is translated into all six official languages of the United Nations and its provisions parallel the first four Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Spread of Human Rights From Babylon, the idea of human rights spread quickly to India, Greece and eventually Rome. There the concept of natural law arose, in observation of the fact that people tended to follow certain unwritten laws in the course of life, and Roman law was based on rational ideas derived from the nature of things. Documents asserting individual rights, such as the Magna Carta (1215), the Petition of Right (1628), the US Constitution (1787), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), and the US Bill of Rights (1791) are the written precursors to many of todays human rights documents

Principles/Features of Human Rights

Universal and inalienable The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This principle, as first emphasized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems. All States have ratified at least one, and 80% of States have ratified four or more, of the core human rights treaties, reflecting consent of States which creates legal obligations for them and giving concrete expression to universality. Some fundamental human rights norms enjoy universal protection by customary international law across all boundaries and civilizations.Human rights are inalienable. They should not be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. For example, the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law. Interdependent and indivisible All human rights are indivisible, whether they are civil and political rights, such as the right to life, equality before the law and freedom of expression; economic, social and cultural rights, such as the rights to work, social security and education , or collective rights, such as the rights to development and self-determination, are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others. Equal and non-discriminatory Non-discrimination is a cross-cutting principle in international human rights law. The principle is present in all the major human rights treaties and provides the central theme of some of international human rights conventions such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The principle applies to everyone in relation to all human rights and freedoms and it prohibits discrimination on the basis of a list of nonexhaustive categories such as sex, race, colour and so on. The principle of non-discrimination is complemented by the principle of equality, as stated in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Both Rights and Obligations Human rights entail both rights and obligations. States assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfill human rights. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfill means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights. At the individual level, while we are entitled our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others

Basic Human Rights

We have 30 basic human rights, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created by the United Nations in 1948 to provide a global understanding of how to treat individuals. 1. We are all free and equal. We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated in the same way. 2. Dont discriminate. These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences. 3. The right to life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety. 4. No slavery past and present. Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make anyone our slave. 5. No Torture. Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us. 6. We all have the same right to use the law. I am a person just like you! 7. We are all protected by the law. The law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly. 8. Fair treatment by fair courts. We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly. 9. No unfair detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in prison without a

good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country. 10. The right to trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do. 11. Innocent until proven guilty. Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. When people say we did a bad thing we have the right to show it is not true. 12. The right to privacy. Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters or bother us or our family without a good reason. 13. Freedom to move. We all have the right to go where we want in our own country and to travel as we wish. 14. The right to asylum. 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. 15. The right to a nationality. We all have the right to belong to a country. 16. Marriage and family. Every grown-up has the right to marry and have a family if they want to. Men and women have the same rights when they are married, and when they are separated. 17. Your own things. Everyone has the right to own things or share them. Nobody should take our things from us without a good reason. 18. Freedom of thought. We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want. 19. Free to say what you want. 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. 20. Meet where you like. We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join a group if we dont want to.

21. The right to democracy. We all have the right to take part in the government of our country. Every grown-up should be allowed to choose their own leaders. 22. The right to social security. We all have the right to affordable housing, medicine, education, and child care, enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill or old. 23. Workers rights. Every grown-up has the right to do a job, to a fair wage for their work, and to join a trade union. 24. The right to play. We all have the right to rest from work and to relax. 25. A bed and some food. We all have the right to a good life. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to be cared for. 26. The right to education. Education is a right. Primary school should be free. We should learn about the United Nations and how to get on with others. Our parents can choose what we learn. 27. Culture and copyright. Copyright is a special law that protects ones own artistic creations and writings; others cannot make copies without permission. We all have the right to our own way of life and to enjoy the good things that art, science and learning bring. 28. A free and fair world. There must be proper order so we can all enjoy rights and freedoms in our own country and all over the world. 29. Our responsibilities. We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms. 30.Nobody can take away these rights and freedoms from us.

National Human Rights Commission

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993.It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA). The NHRC is the national

human rights institution, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, 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".

The NHRC consists of:

A Chairperson who has been a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India One Member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India One Member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court Two Members to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights In addition, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions serve as ex officio members.

TPHRA mandates the NHRC to perform the following functions: Proactively or reactively inquire into violations of human rights or negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant By leave of the court, to intervene in court proceeding relating to human rights Visit any jail or other institution under the control of the State Government, where persons are detained or lodged for purposes of treatment, reformation or protection, for the study of the living conditions of the inmates and make recommendations Review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation Review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures Study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation Undertake and promote research in the field of human rights Engage in human rights education among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means Encourage the efforts of NGOs and institutions working in the field of human rights Such other function as it may consider it necessary for the protection of human rights.

Violation of Human Rights

When you strict or violate human rights, it means to take the basic rights of humanity away such as a home, electricity, food, drink and etc. Also, human rights is to do with treating someone as if they are DIRT so if you break one of those then you are violating human rights towards humans.

India and Violation of Human Rights

The protection of human rights in India took a turn for the worse in 2012, Human Rights Watch said on Friday. India experienced continued incidents of violence against women, failed to provide protection for freedom of speech and continued to not hold public officials accountable for wrongdoing, the rights group said. The sharply critical assessment of India comes as part of 655-page annual review of human rights across more than 90 countries by Human Rights Watch. It was released on Friday. Indias major problem in protecting human rights is the gap between noble intentions and action, Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in an interview. There are often very good intentions, and the right things are said at the very highest level of government, but we dont often see it translate on the ground, Ms. Ganguly said. The strong statements made by the government have to make a difference for people interacting with the lowest level of government for human rights to improve, she said. In its report, Human Rights Watch condemned the unabated sexual violence against women in India, which has garnered national and international attention in the past month. Reflecting on the Dec. 16 gang rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi, Ms. Ganguly said that the governments effort to respond swiftly, by releasing the Verma Commission report outlining recommendations for changes in how sexual

assault was handled in the country, was laudable. But that effort needs to be combined with more systemic change, she said. At the Prime Ministers level and the cabinet level there might be much desire for change, Ms. Ganguly said, but the police officer on the ground who is supposed to register a case of rape is the face of the state. What happens when he doesnt? she asked. India needs a stronger system of accountability for public officials and better training and sensitization of the police , she said. The execution of Ajmal Kasab, convicted for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and the renewed calls for the death penalty to be applied for those convicted of the New Delhi gang rape, showed a regression in criminal justice in India, Human Rights Watch said. The lack of protection for freedom of speech and the misapplication of a colonial-era sedition law continues to undermine the development of civil society and the space for dissent in India, the report said. In 2012 there were various incidents of the state curbing free speech, including the use of sedition laws to attack civil society activists in Maoist insurgent areas, sedition charges lodged against a cartoonist for a work that mocked corruption in the Indian government and the application of draconian Internet laws. There is always this argument from the top level of government in India that we believe in total freedom of speech but are concerned about law and order, Ms. Ganguly said. However, whenever certain interest groups attempt to curb freedom of speech the government submits to these threats of violence. Rather than trying to understand and embrace social media as a platform for debate, the Indian government is heavy handed, she said, and is worried about what is said on Twitter while it arrests people for Facebook posts, she said. The ban on YouTube and Facebook in Kashmir and the arrest of two young women in Mumbai for their Facebook activity are two such incidences. Moving forward, the report said that India needs to revoke the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which allows soldiers to commit serious human rights violations, in order to tackle the culture of impunity within the countrys

defense establishment. The report also pointed to abuses by government and opposition forces in Indias conflict-torn areas such as Jammu and Kashmir, and in the northeastern states and villages considered Maoist insurgent areas. There have been some positive steps taken by the government in the past year, Human Rights Watch said, including the protection of children from sexual abuse, encouragement of medical care centers, the conviction of suspects in the 2002 Gujarat riots and support for the protection of human rights in other countries. The report noted Indias effort to support United Nations resolutions to promote human rights in countries such as Sri Lanka and Syria. However, Ms. Ganguly said that while India harbors ambitions to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, the country fails to express a clear policy on various international situations. Indias policy tends to be reactive, Ms. Ganguly said, with the only constant an insistence on not interfering in the matters of other countries. If India is going to be an emerging power, its global role cannot be We will not speak for the human rights of citizens of other countries, she said.

Human rights and the environment

There are two basic conceptions of environmental human rights in the current human rights system. The first is that the right to a healthy or adequate environment is itself a human right (as seen in both Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, and Article 11 of the San Salvador Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights).The second conception is the idea that environmental human rights can be derived from other human rights, usually the right to life, the right to health, the right to private family life and the right to property (among many others). This second theory enjoys much more widespread use in human rights courts around the world, as those rights are contained in many human rights documents. The onset of various environmental issues, especially climate change, has created potential conflicts between different human rights. Human rights ultimately require a working ecosystem and healthy environment, but the granting of certain rights to individuals may damage these. Such as the conflict between right to decide number of offspring and the common need for a healthy environment, as noted in the tragedy of the commons. In the area of environmental rights, the responsibilities of multinational

corporations, so far relatively unaddressed by human rights legislation, is of paramount consideration. Environmental rights revolve largely around the idea of a right to a livable environment both for the present and the future generations.

NGOs in India Protecting Human Rights

All India Human Rights Organization (AIHRO) Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi (HRPF, Udupi) Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS) Confederation of Human Rights Organizations Forum for Fact-finding Documentation and Advocacy Human Rights Documentation Centre

International NGOs Protecting Human Rights

International Alliance of Women International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists International Center for Transitional Justice International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development International Centre for Human Rights Research International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances International Commission of Jurists International Committee of the Red Cross (private, sovereign organisation) International Crisis Group International Federation for Human Rights International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance International Freedom of Expression Exchange International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (federation of 15 other human rights organisations not included in this list; now bankrupt due to fraud) International Human Rights Administration (IHRA) International Human Rights Association (IHRA) International Human Rights Association (IHRA) International Humanist and Ethical Union International Institute of Human Rights International League for Human Rights