Human Rights and Its Development over the Years

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Human Rights and Its Development over the Years

Written By: Khwahish Khurana

Introduction

“We can live without religion and meditation, but cannot survive without human affection.” Human rights are very crucial in a person’s life. They are basic rights that protect a person from being abused. These rights are very important for an individual as well as a country. A country can only be developed if its citizens aren’t deprived of their basic rights.

Human Rights And Magna Carta

In simple words, human rights are the basic rights that a person inherits from its birth. These rights cannot be taken away from any person and are regardless of their gender, race, caste, religion, ethnicity, etc. The first time human rights were documented was in 1215 in England called the ‘Magna Carta’. It was when King John, the youngest son of King Henry 2 married the princess of France for the property but lost the property as he wasn’t successful in military campaigns.

After which king henry increased the tax rates without consulting barons in the country and appointed an advisor without asking the pope. In anger, the pope denied all services to England. At that time ‘Magna Carta’ was brought into the picture which contained a set of rules or principles that protected the citizens from arbitrary acts by the king. It brought a concept of ‘Rule of Law’. The king was no longer absolute and had to respect such a set of rules or principles known as ‘Magna Carta’.

History, Evolution Of Human Rights And NHRC

Human Rights and Its development, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was published in 1948 which is an international document adopted by the UN containing the rights and freedom of all human beings. 50 countries including India came together at San Francisco for a conference to promote peace and prevent future wars. Before UDHR came into force, there were documents that promoted and protected human rights as well.

In 1776, Virginia adopted the Virginia bill of rights which was written by George Mason. It was a manuscript that carried basic rights that humans inherit from their birth. Because of such a Bill, the government could not approve any law without consultation with the public representatives. People could voice up against the government if they weren’t satisfied with their decisions.

Similarly, the American Declaration of Independence was also adopted in 1776. It was declared at the time of the independence of the USA from Great Britain. It incorporated the Law of Nature, Right to Life, Liberty, and Happiness. Freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and powers were also guaranteed in such a Declaration.

In addition, in 1791, the 10th amendment of the US Constitution called the Bill of Rights focused on protecting the rights of all citizens, residents, and visitors in America. It held freedom of speech, religion, assembly, petition, right to keep and bear arms, etc.

Human rights in India came into consideration much later after independence. National Human Rights Commission was formed in 1993 in India which was in conformity with the Paris principles and is governed by the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993. Paris principles was the 1st international workshop on the national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights held in Paris in Oct 1991.

Promotion term was included as many people weren’t aware of their basic rights. NHRC was a way of expressing India’s concern about human rights. NHRC is not enforceable and is only advisory in nature. It can only make recommendations to the government which the government is free to disapprove. Hence, it is a weak body.

Need For Existence Of Nhrc, If It Isn’t Enforceable

Though NHRC isn’t binding or enforceable, it still has contributed a lot to promote and protect human rights over the years. NHRC has the power to interrogate issues related to human rights if they find a violation. They can interfere in judicial proceedings related to human rights, can review it, and so forth. Their recommendations aren’t binding but usually, the government does accept these recommendations as they come from a panel of prestigious people who are experts in human rights.

There are numerous cases in India in which NHRC stepped in and made sure that the human rights of the people aren’t getting violated. In the Godhara incident, NHRC filed a petition in the supreme court and made sure the wrongdoers were punished. Similarly, NHRC stood up when a lot of farmers were committing suicide, especially in Mumbai. It made sure that appropriate relief was given by the government to farmers. In a lot of such cases, NHRC benefited the country and its people.

Conclusion

Human Rights and Its development have evolved over the years but things aren’t what it is supposed to be till now. NHRC was a way to express that India cares about human rights. The NHRC does not have enough powers to make its recommendations binding or enforceable. They only have an advisory role and government is free to disapprove.

Though these recommendations are generally accepted by the government, NHRC should be given more power and the government should make their decisions obligatory. In this way, the citizens would be given a guarantee of their rights and freedom and won’t be deprived of them.

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