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Concept of Human Rights
Course:
Public International Law
B.A.LL.B. (Hons.) 6th Sem
Human Rights: Introduction
 All human beings are entitled to and are empowered for a dignified
existence. (Natural Rights)
 Human beings demand the realization of diverse values to ensure their
individual and collective well-being. (Ethical Principle)
 Demands or rights were denied through exploitation, oppression,
persecution, etc. in many countries. (No Recognition of such Rights)
 Such demand gained attention following the Second World War, where
millions of people lost their lives. (Second World War)
 After Second World War, members of the United Nations took a pledge to
take measures for the universal respect for and observance of human rights
and fundamental freedoms for all. (United Nations)
 After the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 by
the United Nations, it was seen as a sign of optimism for the better
protection, promotion and enforcement of human rights. (Recognition)
(Source: David L. Sills, International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences (New York: The MacMillan Company and The Free Press, 1968) at 541.
Human Rights: Meaning
 Human rights is defined as those minimum rights which every individual must
have against the state or other public authority by virtue of his being a human.
(Against State)
 The UN defines Human Rights as those rights which are inherent in our state of
nature and without which we cannot live as human beings. (Inherent Rights)
(Source: https://www.unhcr.org/getinvolved/teachingtools/46937d1f2/lesson-plans-ages-12-14-human-rights-refugees-rights-responsibilities-refugees.html)
 Human rights constitute a set of norms governing the treatment of individuals and
groups by states and non-state actors on the basis of ethical principles regarding
what society considers fundamental to a decent life. (Based on ethical principles)
 In present day context human rights is defined as those rights without which
human beings cannot live with dignity, freedom and justice in any nation or state
regardless of colour, place of birth, ethnicity, race, religion or sex or any other
such considerations.
 Human Rights means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the
individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International
Covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
[The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, Section 2(1)(d)].
Human Rights: Evolution
 Natural Law philosophy suggested that men were entitled to make
claims for the protection of their life, liberty and property by virtue of
their common humanity. (Natural Rights)
 Recognition of Human Rights began with the Magna Carta of 1215. It
stated that Englishmen had certain basic rights which even the King
could not violate.
 These rights were no free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or
outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed except by the lawful
judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
 These English rights were expanded by the Petition of Rights, 1628
and the English Bill of Rights, 1689.
 The idea that all mankind has the same rights is the beginning of
modem theories of human rights. (Universal Character of Rights)
Universalization of Human Rights
 Until 1945, protection of human rights was confined to treaties abolishing
slave trade, the laws of war and the minority rights concluded after the
Treaty of Versailles.
 After 1945, the rights individuals came under the protection of international
law. The rules of state behavior and rights pertaining to individuals within
states were rewritten in authoritative international documents such as:
 The United Nations Charter of the Human Rights, 1945
 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
 The Genocide Convention, 1948
 The Geneva Convention, 1949
 The European Convention on Human Rights, 1950
 The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations 1945.
 All these documents arose with the moral impulse to rebuild public morality after
the Second World War. The United Nations Charter of the Human Rights is
addressed to states as moral actors, while the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (UDHR) addresses the individual human.
(Sourec: V. T. Patil, Human Rights- Third Millennium Vision (New Delhi: Authors Press, 2001) pp.3-5.
Human Rights under UN Charter
 The Charter of the United Nations, 1945 represented the historical
development on mankind’s social organization.
 The Charter not only embodied limitations on a state’s freedom of
action, it also made provisions for the development of human rights
through each nation’s Constitution.
 The Charter provided a Constitutional basis for achieving international
peace, security and well-being.
 The Preamble of the Charter states that “We the peoples of the United
Nations determined……..to reaffirm faith in fundamental human
rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person in the equal rights
of men and women and of nations large and small.
 The clauses concerning Human Rights in the Charter provided the
foundation for an impetus to further protection and promotion of
human rights.
Human Rights under UDHR
 Under UN Charter international community made a historic commitment to
enshrine the fundamental rights of the individuals for living in any part of the
world.
 Such commitment came in the form of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(UDHR) adopted by the Member States of the United Nations General Assembly
on December 10, 1948.
 The Declaration outlined a common standard of achievement for the future of
human rights and has become the cornerstone of human rights. However, the
UDHR is not a binding treaty, but rather a declaration of principles of human
rights.
 It specifies and unequivocally affirms, among others the following generally
agreed upon basic rights: right to life, liberty, and security of a person, equal
protection of the law, right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest, right to fair and
public trial, freedom of thought, conscience and religion etc.
Source: Seighart Paul, The International Law of Human Rights (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983) at 24.
 On assumption that the UDHR would not impose sufficient binding obligations,
the UN Commission on Human Rights (Since 2006, Human Rights Council)
drafted the Covenants on Human Rights designed to become legally binding on
the UN’s member states.
Covenants on Human Rights
 The two Covenants:
1. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
(ICESCR) and
2. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
were presented to the United Nations General Assembly in 1954. the United
Nations General Assembly adopted these Covenants in 1966. These Covenants
came into force in 1976 on different dates.
 The ICCPR defines a variety of rights and freedoms, and imposing an absolute
and immediate obligation on each of the State parties to respect and ensure these
rights to all individuals within its territories and subject to its jurisdiction.
 The ICESCR provides that the States which are party to the covenant shall
undertake to ensure the equal rights of men and women for the enjoyment of all
economic, social and cultural rights put forth in the Covenant.
 The most visible trend in the development of human rights has been seen through
the increased number and range of treaties which elucidate or add to the
principles of the UDHR.
Optional Protocols to the ICCPR
 The First Optional Protocol entered into force on March 23, 1976. The
purpose of the Optional Protocol to achieve the purposes of the
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
 For implementation of its provisions it would be appropriate to enable
the Human Rights Committee to receive and consider communications
from individuals claiming to be victims of violations of any of the
rights set forth in the Covenant.
 The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, adopted in 1989 aiming at the Abolition of
the Death Penalty is the only international treaty of worldwide scope
to prohibit executions and to provide for total abolition of the death
penalty.
(Source: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/2ndOPCCPR.aspx
Human Rights in India
 The Preamble to the Indian Constitution pledges justice, social, economic and political,
liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and of
opportunity and fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity
of the nation to ail its citizens.
 India was a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A number of
fundamental rights guaranteed to the individuals in Part Ill of the lndian Constitution are
similar to the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 Most of the economic, social and cultural rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights have been incorporated in part IV of the lndian Constitution.
 In Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala the Supreme Court observed, "The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights may not be a legally binding instrument but it shows how
India understood the nature of human rights at the time the Constitution was adopted.
 The Supreme Court of lndia recognises fundamental rights as ‘Natural Rights’ or ‘Human
Rights’.
 In 1993, India enacted the National Human Rights Protection Act, 1993 for better
protection of Human Rights in India.
Thank You !

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Concept of Human Rights_VI Sem.pptx

  • 1. Concept of Human Rights Course: Public International Law B.A.LL.B. (Hons.) 6th Sem
  • 2. Human Rights: Introduction  All human beings are entitled to and are empowered for a dignified existence. (Natural Rights)  Human beings demand the realization of diverse values to ensure their individual and collective well-being. (Ethical Principle)  Demands or rights were denied through exploitation, oppression, persecution, etc. in many countries. (No Recognition of such Rights)  Such demand gained attention following the Second World War, where millions of people lost their lives. (Second World War)  After Second World War, members of the United Nations took a pledge to take measures for the universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. (United Nations)  After the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 by the United Nations, it was seen as a sign of optimism for the better protection, promotion and enforcement of human rights. (Recognition) (Source: David L. Sills, International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences (New York: The MacMillan Company and The Free Press, 1968) at 541.
  • 3. Human Rights: Meaning  Human rights is defined as those minimum rights which every individual must have against the state or other public authority by virtue of his being a human. (Against State)  The UN defines Human Rights as those rights which are inherent in our state of nature and without which we cannot live as human beings. (Inherent Rights) (Source: https://www.unhcr.org/getinvolved/teachingtools/46937d1f2/lesson-plans-ages-12-14-human-rights-refugees-rights-responsibilities-refugees.html)  Human rights constitute a set of norms governing the treatment of individuals and groups by states and non-state actors on the basis of ethical principles regarding what society considers fundamental to a decent life. (Based on ethical principles)  In present day context human rights is defined as those rights without which human beings cannot live with dignity, freedom and justice in any nation or state regardless of colour, place of birth, ethnicity, race, religion or sex or any other such considerations.  Human Rights means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India. [The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, Section 2(1)(d)].
  • 4. Human Rights: Evolution  Natural Law philosophy suggested that men were entitled to make claims for the protection of their life, liberty and property by virtue of their common humanity. (Natural Rights)  Recognition of Human Rights began with the Magna Carta of 1215. It stated that Englishmen had certain basic rights which even the King could not violate.  These rights were no free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.  These English rights were expanded by the Petition of Rights, 1628 and the English Bill of Rights, 1689.  The idea that all mankind has the same rights is the beginning of modem theories of human rights. (Universal Character of Rights)
  • 5. Universalization of Human Rights  Until 1945, protection of human rights was confined to treaties abolishing slave trade, the laws of war and the minority rights concluded after the Treaty of Versailles.  After 1945, the rights individuals came under the protection of international law. The rules of state behavior and rights pertaining to individuals within states were rewritten in authoritative international documents such as:  The United Nations Charter of the Human Rights, 1945  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948  The Genocide Convention, 1948  The Geneva Convention, 1949  The European Convention on Human Rights, 1950  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations 1945.  All these documents arose with the moral impulse to rebuild public morality after the Second World War. The United Nations Charter of the Human Rights is addressed to states as moral actors, while the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) addresses the individual human. (Sourec: V. T. Patil, Human Rights- Third Millennium Vision (New Delhi: Authors Press, 2001) pp.3-5.
  • 6. Human Rights under UN Charter  The Charter of the United Nations, 1945 represented the historical development on mankind’s social organization.  The Charter not only embodied limitations on a state’s freedom of action, it also made provisions for the development of human rights through each nation’s Constitution.  The Charter provided a Constitutional basis for achieving international peace, security and well-being.  The Preamble of the Charter states that “We the peoples of the United Nations determined……..to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.  The clauses concerning Human Rights in the Charter provided the foundation for an impetus to further protection and promotion of human rights.
  • 7. Human Rights under UDHR  Under UN Charter international community made a historic commitment to enshrine the fundamental rights of the individuals for living in any part of the world.  Such commitment came in the form of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the Member States of the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948.  The Declaration outlined a common standard of achievement for the future of human rights and has become the cornerstone of human rights. However, the UDHR is not a binding treaty, but rather a declaration of principles of human rights.  It specifies and unequivocally affirms, among others the following generally agreed upon basic rights: right to life, liberty, and security of a person, equal protection of the law, right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest, right to fair and public trial, freedom of thought, conscience and religion etc. Source: Seighart Paul, The International Law of Human Rights (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983) at 24.  On assumption that the UDHR would not impose sufficient binding obligations, the UN Commission on Human Rights (Since 2006, Human Rights Council) drafted the Covenants on Human Rights designed to become legally binding on the UN’s member states.
  • 8. Covenants on Human Rights  The two Covenants: 1. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and 2. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) were presented to the United Nations General Assembly in 1954. the United Nations General Assembly adopted these Covenants in 1966. These Covenants came into force in 1976 on different dates.  The ICCPR defines a variety of rights and freedoms, and imposing an absolute and immediate obligation on each of the State parties to respect and ensure these rights to all individuals within its territories and subject to its jurisdiction.  The ICESCR provides that the States which are party to the covenant shall undertake to ensure the equal rights of men and women for the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights put forth in the Covenant.  The most visible trend in the development of human rights has been seen through the increased number and range of treaties which elucidate or add to the principles of the UDHR.
  • 9. Optional Protocols to the ICCPR  The First Optional Protocol entered into force on March 23, 1976. The purpose of the Optional Protocol to achieve the purposes of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  For implementation of its provisions it would be appropriate to enable the Human Rights Committee to receive and consider communications from individuals claiming to be victims of violations of any of the rights set forth in the Covenant.  The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted in 1989 aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty is the only international treaty of worldwide scope to prohibit executions and to provide for total abolition of the death penalty. (Source: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/2ndOPCCPR.aspx
  • 10. Human Rights in India  The Preamble to the Indian Constitution pledges justice, social, economic and political, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and of opportunity and fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation to ail its citizens.  India was a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A number of fundamental rights guaranteed to the individuals in Part Ill of the lndian Constitution are similar to the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Most of the economic, social and cultural rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been incorporated in part IV of the lndian Constitution.  In Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala the Supreme Court observed, "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights may not be a legally binding instrument but it shows how India understood the nature of human rights at the time the Constitution was adopted.  The Supreme Court of lndia recognises fundamental rights as ‘Natural Rights’ or ‘Human Rights’.  In 1993, India enacted the National Human Rights Protection Act, 1993 for better protection of Human Rights in India.