Each state in the world has its own government, laws, and rules which govern the citizens and bring about order and systematic approaches towards the working of the state. Similarly, the state provides certain privileges to the people so that they can enjoy certain liberties and freedoms as citizens of that state. These privileges are nothing but rights. However, on an international level, the United Nations provides the common people with International Human Rights under the United Nations Charter (UNC) where certain specific rights of the people are mentioned. The procedures to follow if the rights are violated are also explained in the same.
Historical Background Of Human Rights
Earlier, in the 19th century, certain theories based on the concept of the state were formed. International Law was based on these theories which were concerned with the formation and working of state. According to International Law, a sovereign state is a political entity that has a certain amount of population, a definite territory with secure boundary lines, one government, and the ability to establish relations with other sovereign states. This led to several theories that stated that states are the sole entities that can create the rules of International Law and that the rules are valid only to them alone. Individuals were related to the state as the population by means of nationality and citizenship. However, the relationship between a citizen of one state and another state altogether was alien. The other state was not responsible for the actions and injuries of a foreigner. But the state can claim damages under International Law if the person has caused any injury to the state. To avoid such a state to state action against such injuries, there was a need to establish an internationally accepted law.
Meaning Of Human Rights
By virtue of being human, individuals possess certain basic and inalienable rights which are known as human rights. Human beings are rational in nature, and hence, they are aware of these rights which are conferred upon them. Thus, we can say that human rights are those rights that every individual is entitled by virtue of being
human. Human rights become operative in society right from an individual’s birth. They are inherent in all individuals irrespective of their religion, race, caste, creed, gender, and nationality. These rights form an important part of any constitution’s rigid structure because they cannot be amended or removed by any legislative or judicial
action. The government should accept these rights as a fundamental part of the constitution of that particular state. That is why they are called fundamental freedoms in International Law.
International Human Rights
• Liberty, Equality, freedom of speech and expression, right to information, etc.
• Basic rights: constitutional rights and basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter, etc.
• Right to human dignity, the right to practice one’s own religion, right to the profession, etc.
Human rights, on the other hand, are categorized into 3 generations, according to the time period in which they were introduced. This system of categorization helps us to get a better understanding of human rights and how they came into existence.
|First Generation||Second Generation||Third Generation|
|1. 17th Century to Mid 18th Century||1. 18th Century to 19th Century||1. 20th Century|
|2. Civil and Political Rights||2. Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights||2. Individual and Collective Rights|
|3. Also called Blue Rights||3. Also called Red Rights||3. Also called green Rights|
|4. Includes Part III of the Indian Constitution||4. Includes Part IV of the Indian Constitution|
Civil And Political Rights
Civil and Political Rights are regarded as rights belonging to the first generation of Human Rights. They came into being primarily from the 17th century to sometime during the 18th century. They are termed as Blue Rights As the name suggests, these sets of rights provide privileges to the people regarding their conduct as politically
aware and civilized citizens of a state. These rights are centered around Right to Life and Personal Liberty. These rights are crucial for a human being as the Right to Live a Dignified Life is the heart of all the other rights. These sets of rights also include the Right to Life, Security, and Liberty of a person, Right to Privacy, Home and Correspondence, the Right to own a Property, the Right to practice one’s own Religion, and the Freedom of Movement. Political Rights allow a person to
participate in the working of a state and also take part in any government-related activities. These rights include the Right to Vote, the Right to be elected in a Periodic Election, the Right to take part in public affairs, etc. The nature of civil and political rights is somewhat similar, though they are very different from each other.
Economic, Social And Cultural Rights
These sets of rights originated in the time period between the 18th and 19th centuries, which is considered to be the second generation in the time chart of origins of Human Rights. This was the time when the Russian Revolution took place. Post that, the people had only one objective in mind, which was to bring about social equality within the people. The concept behind these sets of rights was fundamentally based on the above principle. These rights guarantee all the minimum and basic necessities of life. Without these rights, the ‘human’ aspect of individuals will be curbed. These rights include the Right to adequate Food, Clothing, Housing, and the Adequate Standard of Living. These rights also include freedom from hunger, the Right to Work, the Right to Social Security, the Right to Physical and Mental Health, and the Right to Education. The Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights are termed as Red Rights.
According to its name, these rights are enjoyed by individual members of a certain community. These privileges are given to a certain society for general public welfare and the overall development of the people. These rights include the Right to Economic and social development, the Right to a Healthy Environment, collective well-
being and so on. These rights are quite a recent addition to the International Human Rights chalked out by the United Nations. They were introduced in the 20th century as there were many countries that were in the developing state. The UN decided to grant these rights to the states as a whole, which would benefit their working and provide a larger scope of systematic development. These rights are termed as Green Rights.
Human Rights Under The United Nations Charter
The San Francisco conference of the United Nations in 1945 was held for a purpose to create an International Organisation, where it was discussed that the United Nations should establish an International Bill of Rights. Soon after, a number of provisions were added to the United Nations Charter for the promotion of International Human Rights. These provisions were also important because they included the Fundamental Freedoms as well.
- Article 1, paragraph 3: This provision deals with the achievements of the International Corporation in promotion and encouragement of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms for all without discriminating between race, sex, language, or religion. The International Corporation has also done a great deal by promoting respect for Human Rights.
- Article 13: The United Nations Charter encourages and empowers the United Nations General Assembly to suggest measures and recommends ways to promote Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms without discriminating between race, sex, language, or religion.
- Article 55: United Nations shall promote: (a) Higher Standards of Living, Full Employment, Economic and Social Development (b) Solutions for internationally occurring problems of Economy, Social Health, Culture, and Education (c) Universal respect for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms without ant discrimination between race, sex, language or religion.
- Article 56: This provision suggests that how all the members of the United Nations should pledge together to take joint and separate actions regarding all the objectives mentioned above in Article 55, for the smooth functioning of the organization.
- Article 62: This provision talks about supervising the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to make recommendations for the purpose of promoting respect for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms for all.
- Article 68: This provision lets the United Nations set up various committees for the promotion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
- Article 76(c): This provision in the United Nations Charter encourages the awareness and respect of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, without discrimination between race, sex, language, and religion.