“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”- Nelson Mandela
Human Rights are the rights and liberties that we enjoy by virtue of being humans. A baby born into this world yesterday is just as entitled to human rights as I, a 24-year-old woman, am.
Put into simpler terms, these rights are not granted by any state, country, or political entity on earth. One is born with these and enjoys these regardless of caste, creed, religion, sex, or culture. The most popular human right of all is probably the “right to life”.
What Are The Human Rights?
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, passed in the year 1948, guarantees a set of Human Rights that citizens of all 193 nations under the UN are bound to abide by.
The 30 enumerated articles in the doctrine serve as a source and protector of the rights. The charter has also been adapted into constitutions and human rights legislations of several countries.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and their implications in the modern-day judicial machinery(Constitution, Bills, and Acts) are as follows:
Articles 1 And 2
Articles 1 and 2 state that all humans are equal and should not be discriminated against on the basis of caste, creed, sex, religion, etc.
The 15th amendment to the US Bill of Rights is an adaptation of these two articles. Federal laws of the US guarantee protection from discrimination on the grounds of one’s ancestry, culture, birthplace, or native language.
In some instances, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in the US has looked into patterns and practices of accusing people of crimes based on their racial backgrounds.
The murder of George Floyd brought about the rise of the powerful “Black Lives Matter” movement- where an African American was killed by the police personnel on the grounds of mere suspicion.
Article 3 states that all humans have a right to live their life. The 14th amendment of the US Bill of Rights states guarantees the protection of one’s right to life and personal liberty.
In the historical judgment of Roe v. Wade(1973), the Supreme Court held that a woman’s Right to an Abortion fell under the purview of the Right to Personal Liberty.
In many nations, this right encompasses various aspects such as the right to privacy, health, shelter, legal aid, speedy trial, and the like. This is the case in the Indian Constitution.
Article 4 and 5
Articles 4 and 5 prohibit the practice of slavery and cruel and inhuman treatment. The 13th amendment of the US Constitution, passed in the year 1865, banned slavery (“involuntary servitude) and all related crimes.
Article 6 deals with the Right to Recognition Before the Law. This section is established to protect and uphold one’s voice against involuntary disappearances. The disappearances of children during the Argentinan war (1976-83) is what this section aims to protect the global citizens against.
Article 7 establishes that all are equal before the eyes of the law. Equality before law and equal protection of law is established under the 14th amendment of the US Constitution.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka(1954) is the historic landmark case that established equal protection of law. The Supreme Court ruled racial bias in the education system to be unconstitutional.
Article 8 of the Declaration guarantees one’s right to get effective remedies in case of an infringement of human rights. Law Tribunals, Courts, and The International Court of Justice are places where the aggrieved find remedies.
Articles 9 and 10
Articles 9 and 10 establish freedom to fair trial and from arbitrary detention. The 6th amendment of the US Constitution protects the citizen’s rights to a free trial without unnecessary delay. Every accused has the right to hire an attorney to represent him in Court.
Article 11 provides one the opportunity to plead innocent until he has been proven guilty in the Courts of Law. This article is based on the Latin phrase “Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat”. This means that the one who declares the accused to be guilty of a crime has to be the one to prove his guilt.
Articles 13 and 14
Articles 13 and 14 defend our rights to free movement (right to return to or leave one’s country) and seek asylum in other countries. Immigration courts and asylum offices were set up to that effect. A person returning to his homeland also has the right to not be tortured.
Articles 16, 17, and 18
Rights to marriage, property, and practice of religion are dealt with in Articles 16, 17, and 18. The 5th amendment protects the citizen’s right to own private property. It establishes the need for adequate compensation if one’s personal property is ceased by the state for public use.
In the landmark judgment of Obergefell v. Hodges(2015), the Supreme Court guaranteed the right to same-sex marriage under the 14th amendment clause.
Articles 19, 20, and 21
Articles 19, 20, and 21 guarantee the freedom of expression, assembly, and participation in public affairs. Knowing the mechanisms of one’s government is crucial for a democratic citizen, and article 21 protects that right.
The 1st amendment protects the citizen’s right to harbor and express their own opinion. One is free to form clubs or organizations backing their own ideals, provided those do not go against public policy.
Articles 23 and 24
Articles 23 and 24 deal with the Right to work, rest, and leisure. These rights include an individual’s right to his choice of employment, under safe and favorable conditions, and without any discrimination in pay.
Human Rights guarantee that one enjoys designated leaves with pay amidst prolonged periods of employment.
Article 26 deals with the Right to education. Education is to be free in the fundamental stages and shall include technical and professional education.
The US Constitution guarantees all kids the right to free and fair education irrespective of their religion, race, or culture.
Article 27 states that one has the right to share the community’s culture, arts, and sciences. This includes literary and artistic freedom.
Article 28 establishes one’s right to a free and fair world when our rights are respected and protected. Article 29 talks about our duties to our community.
Article 30 establishes that these rights provided to us are inalienable. No one can act out of disrespect for these rights.
This article provides a vivid description of what human rights are. The United Nations is an international organization working across 193 nations. It was established in the year 1945. Its main agenda is to ensure peacekeeping and cordial relationship amongst its member states. UN acts as a vanguard of global human rights through the successful implementation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The International Court of Justice is the prime body that looks into all matters concerning human rights violations and upholds justice as and when it deems fit.
Hope you are well informed about the UNDHR now-
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