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fdsfdsdfssdddvccvcxsMeaning and Nature of Human Rights

Human rights refer to those conditions of life which are availaable to a

ll persons as human beings irrespective of their caste, sex, religion, nationali
ty or any of them. According to Human Rights Encyclopedia, human rights are thos
e rights which belong to an individual or group of individuals as a consequence
of being human. They refer to a wide continuum of values or capabilities thought
to enhance human agency and declared to be universal in nature, in some sense e
qually claimed for all human beings. Thus, human rights are rights inherent to a
ll human beings without distinction of nationality, ethnic origin, sex, religion
or any other ground. These rights are universal, inalienable, interrelated, int
erdependent and indivisible. The principle of universality of human rights denot
es that these rights are available to all persons irrespective of any distinctio
n whatsoever among them. The human rights are inalienable in the sense that they
cannot be taken away, except in rare conditions and according to due process of
law. These rights are also interrelated and indivisible in the sense that all c
ategories of rights like political, civil, economic rights are complementary to
each other and one cannot be sacrificed for the sake of the other. These rights
are called human rights because they provide fundamental conditions necessary fo
r civilized human life. These rights are natural in the sense that they are self
evident truths and available to all persons by birth. The Human Rights may be d
istinguished from the Fundamental Rights contained in the Constitutions of vario
us countries in the sense that, the latter are enforced within the national juri
sdiction, whereas former are enforced and applicable universally throughout the
globe. The basic idea behind the Human Rights is that there are certain rights w
hich are to be respected in all parts of the world for the sake of international
peace and security as well as development of human society.
Theories of Natural Rights
The most plausible explanation of human rights is offered by the theory
of Natural Rights. The theory of Natural Rights is called so because it is origi
nated and grounded in the motion of Law of Nature, initially postulated by Stoic
s and later elaborated by Romans. The Stoics held that human conduct should be j
udged according to, and brought in to harmony with, the Law of Nature. The Roman
idea of jus gentium (law of nations) implied that there are certain universal r
ights which extended beyond the reghts of citizenship. The modern conception of
natural laws implying natural rights was elaborated primarily by the thinkers of
17th and 18th century such as Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Bacon, Locke and Rous
seau. The theory of Natural Rights assumes that there are certain basic rights a
vailable to human beings by birth in the state of nature before the origin of st
ate and which are sanctioned by the law of nature. The very purpose of the origi
n of state is to protect these rights. If the State fails to protects these righ
ts or abrogates these rights, the people have the natural right to overthrow the
state. John Locke, the main propounder of natural rights, identifies three natu
ral rights namely right to life, liberty and property. Much of the philosophical
base of the human rights is derived from the theory of Natural Rights.
The Principle of Reciprocity
The Golden Rule or the ethics of reciprocity states that one must do unt
o others as one would be treated himself. This principle prescribes that recipro
cal recognition and respect of rights ensures that one's own rights would be pro
tected. The principle of reciprocity is found in almost all religions of the wor
ld. This pricciple was enshrined in the 'Declaration towards a Global Ethic' by
the Parliament of the World Religions in 1993.
The other theories of human rights are The Instrumental Theory and the I
nterest theory. The Instrumental Theory is elaborated by the philosopher John Fi
nnis. This theory justifies human rights on the ground that these rights are ins
trumental in creating necessary conditions for human well-being. Thus, the human
rights should be available to all as they are the fundamental requirements for
the survival and development of civilized human beings. The Interest Theory asse
rts that the people respect the rights of other individuals on the ground of tht
heir own self-interest. According to noted scholar Neeraj Nathwani, the human ri

ghts law, applied to a state, own citizens serves the interests of states by min
imizing the risk of violent resistance and protest and by keeping the level of d
issatisfaction among people within the manageable limits. Yet there is another n
otion called Human Security Approach, which justifies human rights as a prior co
ndition for ensuring human secutity. This school of thought challenges the tradi
tional, state-based conception of security and argues that a people-focused appr
oach to security is more appropriate in modern interdependent world and would be
more effective in advancing the security of individuals and society across the
globe. The international regime of human rights is a complementary requirement t
o realize the new idea of human security.