Human Rights & Characteristics of Human Rights

Human Rights & Characteristics of Human Rights

Human Rights: Concept

The history of human rights is that of the struggle against exploitation of one person by another. It is based on the recognition of basic rights founded on the concept of the inherent dignity and worth of every individual.

The recognition was consolidated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Its preamble asserted “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”

Human rights are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behaviour, and are regularly protected as legal rights in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being", and which are "inherent in all human beings" regardless of their nation, location, language, religion, ethnic origin or any other status. They are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone. They are regarded as requiring empathy and the rule of law and imposing an obligation on persons to respect the human rights of others, and it is generally considered that they should not be taken away except as a result of due process based on specific circumstances; for example, human rights may include freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture and execution.

Human Rights are commonly understood as “inalienable fundamental rights” to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being. Human Rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian. At the international level human rights have become a movement. It can be studied through many ways which is called as the constituents of Human Rights. They may be civil rights, political, economic, cultural, social rights. They are also called somewhere Fundamental Rights. Being a humankind one must have some rights from birth and hence they are the birth rights of every human being. They are also the rights of freedom to everyone irrespective of caste, creed, sex, region, colour, profession, etc



Human Rights is a 20th century term for what had been traditionally known as “Natural Rights” or in a more appealing phase, the Rights of Man. The notion of  Rights of Man and other such concepts of human rights are as old as humanity. These rights of men had a place almost in all the ancient societies of the world, though they were not referred to by that time

The term “Human Rights” is comparatively of recent origin. But the idea of human rights is as old as the history of human civilization. Human Rights are deeply rooted in the historical past. The history of mankind has been firmly associated with the struggle of individuals against injustice, exploitation and disdain.

Broadly speaking, “Human Right” means right to life, liberty, equality and the dignity of an individual irrespective of caste, creed or sex. Human rights are always natural. Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, this term signifies the rights which belongs equally to every individual. It envisages that all human beings are born free, equal in dignity and rights and are entitled to enjoy all rights

According to United Nations, “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.  Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.

According to The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

According to Social Work Dictionary-1995, “ Human Rights is the opportunity to be accorded the some prerogatives and obligations of social fulfillment as are according to all others without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”
Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.”

Salient Features of Human Rights

Office of The High Commissioner For Human Rights (OHCHR) mentioned some of the most important characteristics of Human Rights in “The Human Rights : A Basic Handbook For Un Staff

§  Human rights are founded on respect for the dignity and worth of each person;



§  Human rights are universal, meaning that they are applied equally and without discrimination to all people;
§  Human rights are inalienable, in that no one can have his or her human rights taken away other than in specific situations – for example, the right to liberty can be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law;
§  Human rights are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent, for the reason that it is insufficient to respect some human rights and not others.

In practice, the violation of one right will often affect the respect of several other rights. All human rights should therefore be seen as having equal importance and of being equally essential to respect for the dignity and worth of every person.





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