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INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS

By: REHAN RAUF ADVOCATE M.A. (Political Science) M.A (History) P.G.D.E.L., LL.B (Punjab University) E-mail: DJREHAN103FM@YAHOO.COM 1. PRELIMINARY NOTE Human rights are sometimes called fundamental rights or basic or natural Rights. Fundamental or basic rights are those, which must not be taken away by any legislature, or any act of government and which are often set out in Constitution. Human rights refer to the "basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled." Examples of rights and freedoms which are often thought of as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life and liberty, freedom of expression, and equality before the law; and social, cultural and economic rights, including the right to participate in culture, the right to food, the right to work, and the right to education. The Magna Charta or "Great Charter" was one of England's first documents containing commitments by a sovereign to his people to respect certain legal rights. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood 2. VIEWS OF PHILOSOPHERS ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS J, E.S Fawcett, The law of nations (London, 1968) P, 151 Human Rights are common rights, for they are rights which men or women in the world should share Lauterpacht. International law and human rights, P. 152 Human Rights are not created by any legislation, they assume the position of natural rights MC Dougal. Human rights in the United Nations, Vol.56 (1964), P.604 International concern with human rights is not a modern innovation. It is in fact, heir to all great historic movements for mans freedom. 3. HISTORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS This history of human rights covers thousands of years and draws upon religious, cultural, philosophical and legal developments throughout recorded history. Several ancient documents and later religions and philosophies included a variety of concepts that may be considered to be human rights. Notable among such documents are the Cyrus cylinder of 539 BC, a declaration of intentions by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great after his conquest of the Neo-Babylonian Empire; the Edicts of Ashoka issued by Ashoka the Great of India between 272-231 BC; and The Constitution of Medina of 622 AD, drafted by Muhammad to mark a formal agreement between all of the significant tribes and families of Yathrib(later known as Medina), including Muslims, Jews and Pagans. The English Magna Charta of 1215 is particularly significant in the history of English law, and is hence significant in international law and constitutional law today. Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen approved by the National Assembly of France, August 26, 1789

Much of modern human rights law and the basis of most modern interpretations of human rights can be traced back to relatively recent history. The British Bill of Rights (or An Act Declaring the Rights

and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown) of 1689 made illegal a range of oppressive governmental actions in the United Kingdom. Two major revolutions occurred during the 18th century, in the United States (1776) and in France (1789), leading to the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen respectively, both of which established certain rights. Additionally, the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 set up a number of fundamental rights and freedoms. 4. U.N CHARTER AND HUMAN RIGHTS: The charter of united nation represents a significant advancement so far as faith in and respect, for human rights is concerned. Views of philosophers Philip E.Jacob. The united nations and struggle for HR (January 1951), P.220 All the organs of UN touch in greater or less degree upon the subject of Human Rights Humphrey. The international Protection of Human Rights (London 1967) The provisions concerning human rights run through out the UN. Charter like a golden thread 5. PROVISIONS OF THE UN CHARTER CONCERNING HUMAN RIGHTS There are following references in the preamble of UN charter; Art 13 Purposes of UN Art 13 (2) responsibilities of general assembly Art 55 (c) functions of ECOSOC Art 62 (2) responsibility of ECOSOCs Commission Art 68 objectives of the trusteeship system Views of philosophers Ian brow lie, Principles of public international law (second edition, 1973). P 552 The provisions of UN. Charter concerning human rights provides a foundation for protection of human rights. Oppenheim, International law. Vol eighth edition (1970), edited by lauterpatch, P.783 The provisions of UN Charter indicates the wide possibilities of the international recognition of human rights. 6. 1946 Purpose of HRC Ian brow lie, Principles of public international law (second edition, 1973). P 554 The purpose of Human Right Commission is protection of human rights 7. CATEGORIES OF HUMAN RIGHTS There are following categories of rights; Civil and Political Rights Economic, Social and Cultural Rights HUMAN RIGHT COMMISSION The commission on human rights established by the Economic and Social Council in February

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Environmental Rights Reproductive Rights

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by General Assembly on 1948. This Declaration consists of a preamble and 30 articles."It is not a treaty. In the future, it may well become the international Magna Charta." The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a non-binding declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, partly in response to the atrocities of World War II. Although the UDHR is a non-binding resolution, it is now considered to be a central component of international customary law which may be invoked under appropriate circumstances by national and other judiciaries. The UDHR urges member nations to promote a number of human, civil, economic and social rights, asserting these rights are part of the "foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." The declaration was the first international legal effort to limit the behavior of states and press upon them duties to their citizens following the model of the rights-duty duality. 9. HUMAN RIGHTS Following are a few International Human Rights mentioned in Universal Declaration of Human rights with relevant Provisions/Articles. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 10. Right to life and liberty Prohibition of slavery Prohibition of torture Equality of all Freedom of movement Rights to seek asylum Right to nationality Right to own property Freedom of religion Freedom of opinion Freedom of Association Right to social security Right to employment Right to education Art 3 Art 4 Art 5 Art 6-11 Art 13 Art 14 Art 15 Art 17 Art 18 Art 19 Art 20 Art 22 Art 23 Art 26

CONVENTION OF WORLD-WIDE CHARTER Followings are a few conventions relating to protection of international human rights. Employment policy convention 1964 Convention on forced labor 1957 Collective bargaining convention 1949 Convention relating to status of refugee 1951 Equal remuneration convention 1951 Convention on political rights of women 1952 Convention relating to stateless person 1954 Others.

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REGIONAL CONVENTION At regional level there exists a European Convention on protection of human rights. 12. AMERICAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS 1969 This convention was signed at the inter-American specialized conference on human rights at San Joe, Costa Rica, on 22nd November, 1969. This convention is also relating to the protection of human right. 13. GENEVA CONVENTIONS The Geneva Conventions came into being between 1864 and 1949 as a result of efforts by Henry Dunant, the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The conventions safeguard the human rights of individuals involved in armed conflict, and build on the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions, the international community's first attempt to formalize the laws of war and war crimes in the nascent body of secular international law. The conventions were revised as a result of World War II and readopted by the international community in 1949. The Geneva Conventions are: First Geneva Convention "for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field" (first adopted in 1864, last revision in 1949) Second Geneva Convention "for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea" (first adopted in 1949, successor of the 1907 Hague Convention X) Third Geneva Convention "relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War" (first adopted in 1929, last revision in 1949) Fourth Geneva Convention "relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War" (first adopted in 1949, based on parts of the 1907 Hague Convention IV) In addition, there are three additional amendment protocols to the Geneva Convention: Protocol I (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts. As of 12 January 2007, 167 countries had ratified it. Protocol II (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts. As of 12 January 2007, 163 countries had ratified it. Protocol III (2005): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem. As of June 2007 it had been ratified by 17 countries and signed but not yet ratified by an additional 68 countries.

All four conventions were last revised and ratified in 1949, based on previous revisions and partly on some of the 1907 Hague Conventions. Later conferences have added provisions prohibiting certain methods of warfare and addressing issues of civil wars. Nearly all-200 countries of the world are "signatory" nations, in that they have ratified these conventions. The International Committee of the Red Cross is the controlling body of the Geneva conventions. 14. INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW Human rights law is a system of laws, both domestic and international, designed to promote human rights. Human rights law includes a number of treaties, which are intended to punish some violations of human rights such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. There are also a number of international courts, which have been constituted to judge violations of human rights including the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court.

An important concept within human rights law is that of universal jurisdiction. This concept, which is not widely accepted, is that any nation is authorized to prosecute and punish violations of human rights wherever and whenever they may have occurred. 15. HUMAN RIGHTS TREATIES In 1966, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) were adopted by the United Nations, between them making the rights contained in the UDHR binding on all states that have signed this treaty. However they only came into force in 1976 when they were ratified by a sufficient number of countries (despite achieving the ICCPR, a covenant including no economic or social rights, the US only ratified the ICCPR in 1992). The ICESCR commits 155 state parties to work toward the granting of economic, social, and cultural rights (ESCR) to individuals. Since then numerous other treaties (pieces of legislation) have been offered at the international level. They are generally known as human rights instruments. Some of the most significant are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 16. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (adopted 1948, entry into force: 1951) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (adopted 1966, entry into force: 1969) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (entry into force: 1981) United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) (adopted 1984, entry into force: 1984) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (adopted 1989, entry into force: 1989) International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW) (adopted 1990) Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (entry into force: 2002)

ENFORCEMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAW

By international law, the United Nations Security Council is the only group authorized to enforce human rights laws. Historically, it has often been the case that a government will make claims of human rights violations in another country as a reason to go to war against that country. 17. THE UNITED NATIONS The United Nations (UN) is the only multilateral governmental agency with universally accepted international jurisdiction for universal human rights legislation. All UN organs have advisory roles to the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council, and there are numerous committees within the UN with responsibilities for safeguarding different human rights treaties. The most senior body of the UN with regard to human rights is the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The United Nations has an international mandate to: achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. 18. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL The United Nations Human Rights Council, created at the 2005 World Summit to replace the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, has a mandate to investigate violations of human rights. The Human Rights Council is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly and reports directly to it. It ranks below the Security Council, which is the final authority for the interpretation of the United Nations

Charter. Forty-seven of the one hundred ninety-one member states sit on the council, elected by simple majority in a secret ballot of the United Nations General Assembly. Members serve a maximum of six years and may have their membership suspended for gross human rights abuses. The Council is based in Geneva, and meets three times a year; with additional meetings to respond to urgent situations. Independent experts are retained by the Council to investigate alleged human rights abuses and to provide the Council with reports. The Human Rights Council may request that the Security Council take action when human rights violations occur. This action may be direct actions, may involve sanctions, and the Security Council may also refer cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC) even if the issue being referred is outside the normal jurisdiction of the ICC. 19. SECURITY COUNCIL The United Nations Security Council has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and is the only body of the UN that can authorize the use of force (including in the context of peace-keeping operations), or override member nations sovereignty by issuing binding Security Council resolutions. Created by the UN Charter, it is classed as a Charter Body of the United Nations. The UN Charter gives the Security Council the power to: Investigate any situation threatening international peace; Recommend procedures for peaceful resolution of a dispute; Call upon other member nations to completely or partially interrupt economic relations as well as sea, air, postal, and radio communications, or to sever diplomatic relations; and Enforce its decisions militarily, if necessary.

The Security Council hears reports from all organs of the United Nations, and can take action over any issue, which it feels threatens peace and security, including human rights issues. It has at times been criticized for failing to take action to prevent human rights abuses, including the Darfur crisis, the Srebrenica massacre and the Rwandan Genocide. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court recognizes the Security Council the power to refer cases to the Court, where the Court could not otherwise exercise jurisdiction. 20. OTHER UN TREATY BODIES A modern interpretation of the original Declaration of Human Rights was made in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993. The degree of unanimity over these conventions, in terms of how many and which countries have ratified them varies, as does the degree to which they are respected by various states. The UN has set up a number of treaty-based bodies to monitor and study human rights, under the leadership of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR). The bodies are committees of independent experts that monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties. The treaty that they monitor creates them. The Human Rights Committee promotes participation with the standards of the ICCPR. The eighteen members of the committee express opinions on member countries and make judgments on individual complaints against countries, which have ratified the treaty. The judgments are not legally binding. The Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights monitors the ICESCR and makes general comments on ratifying countries performance. It does not have the power to receive complaints. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination monitors the CERD and conducts regular reviews of countries' performance. It can make judgments on complaints, but these are not legally binding. It issues warnings to attempt to prevent serious contraventions of the convention.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women monitors the CEDAW. It receives states' reports on their performance and comments on them, and can make judgments on complaints against countries, which have opted into the 1999 Optional Protocol. The Committee Against Torture monitors the CAT and receives states' reports on their performance every four years and comments on them. It may visit and inspect individual countries with their consent. The Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors the CRC and makes comments on reports submitted by states every five years. It does not have the power to receive complaints. The Committee on Migrant Workers was established in 2004 and monitors the ICRMW and makes comments on reports submitted by states every five years. It will have the power to receive complaints of specific violations only once ten member states allow it. Each treaty body receives secretariat support from the Treaties and Commission Branch of Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) inGeneva except CEDAW, which is supported by the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW). CEDAW meets at United Nations headquarters in New York; the other treaty bodies generally meet at the United Nations Office in Geneva. The Human Rights Committee usually holds its March session in New York City. 21. INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has legal status as a non-governmental sovereign entity. It has a mandate to be the controlling authority of International Humanitarian Law. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral, and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance. MISSION OF ICRC The ICRC directs and coordinates international relief and works to promote and strengthen humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles. The core tasks of the Committee, which are derived from the Geneva Conventions and its own statutes, are the following: To monitor compliance of warring parties with the Geneva Conventions To organize nursing and care for those who are wounded on the battlefield To supervise the treatment of prisoners of war and make confidential interventions with detaining authorities To help with the search for missing persons in an armed conflict (tracing service) To organize protection and care for civil populations To act as a neutral intermediary between warring parties

The ICRC drew up seven fundamental principles in 1965 that were adopted by the entire Red Cross Movement. They are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, volunteerism, unity, and universality. Although the ICRC has no powers to enforce the rights enshrined in the Geneva Conventions, its statements carry significant force, and few countries or warring parties deny the ICRC access to the individuals it exists to protect. Doing so has a significant effect on public opinion and international standing and can be taken as an implicit admission of wrongdoing. The initial refusal of the United States to admit the ICRC to its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay drew considerable international condemnation.

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REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHT There are many regional agreements and organizations promoting and governing human rights. AFRICA

The African Union (AU) is a supranational union consisting of fifty-three African states. Established in 2001, the AU purpose is to help secure Africa's democracy, human rights, and a sustainable economy, especially by bringing an end to intra-African conflict and creating an effective common market. The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) is a quasi-judicial organ of the African Union tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective (peoples') rights throughout the African continent as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and considering individual complaints of violations of the Charter. The Commission has three broad areas of responsibility: Promoting human and peoples' rights Protecting human and peoples' rights Interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights

In pursuit of these goals, the Commission is mandated to "collect documents, undertake studies and researches on African problems in the field of human and peoples, rights, organize seminars, symposia and conferences, disseminate information, encourage national and local institutions concerned with human and peoples' rights and, should the case arise, give its views or make recommendations to governments" (Charter, Art. 45). With the creation of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (under a protocol to the Charter which was adopted in 1998 and entered into force in January 2004), the Commission will have the additional task of preparing cases for submission to the Court's jurisdiction. In a July 2004 decision, the AU Assembly resolved that the future Court on Human and Peoples' Rights would be integrated with the African Court of Justice. The Court of Justice of the African Union is intended to be the principal judicial organ of the Union (Protocol of the Court of Justice of the African Union, Article 2.2). Although it has not yet been established, it is intended to take over the duties of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, as well as act as the Supreme Court of the African Union, interpreting all necessary laws and treaties. The Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights entered into force in January 2004 but its merging with the Court of Justice has delayed its establishment. The Protocol establishing the Court of Justice will come into force when ratified by 15 countries. 24. AMERICA The Organization of American States (OAS) is an international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States. Its members are the thirty-five independent states of the Americas. Over the course of the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War, the return to democracy in Latin America, and the thrust toward globalization, the OAS made major efforts to reinvent itself to fit the new context. Its stated priorities now include the following: Strengthening democracy Working for peace Protecting human rights Combating corruption

The rights of Indigenous Peoples Promoting sustainable development

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (the IACHR) is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States, also based in Washington,D.C. Along with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San Jos, Costa Rica; it is one of the bodies that comprise the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights. The IACHR is a permanent body which meets in regular and special sessions several times a year to examine allegations of human rights violations in the hemisphere. Its human rights duties stem from three documents: The OAS Charter The American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man The American Convention on Human Rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights was established in 1979 with the purpose of enforcing and interpreting the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights. Its two main functions are thus adjudicatory and advisory. Under the former, it hears and rules on the specific cases of human rights violations referred to it. Under the latter, it issues opinions on matters of legal interpretation brought to its attention by other OAS bodies or member states. Many countries in the Americas, such as the United States, Colombia, Cuba, and Venezuela, have been accused of human rights violations. 25. ASIA There are no Asia-wide organizations or conventions to promote or protect human rights. Countries vary widely in their approach to human rights and their record of human rights protection. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a geo-political and economic organization of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The organization now also includes Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar andCambodia. Its aims include the acceleration of economic growth, social progress, cultural development among its members, and the promotion of regional peace. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia, representing almost 1.5 billion people. It was established in 1985 by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan. In April 2007, at the Association's 14th summit, Afghanistan became its eighth member. The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG) is a trade bloc involving the six Arab states of the Persian Gulf, with many economic and social objectives. Created in 1981, the Council comprises the Persian Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) is a body created in 2002 to promote Asian cooperation at a continental level, helping to integrate the previously separate regional organizations of political or economical cooperation. The main objectives of the ACD are as follows: To promote interdependence among Asian countries in all areas of cooperation by identifying Asia's common strengths and opportunities which will help reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for Asian people whilst developing a knowledge-based society within Asia and enhancing community and people empowerment;

To expand the trade and financial market within Asia and increase the bargaining power of Asian countries in lieu of competition and, in turn, enhance Asia's economic competitiveness in the global market; To serve as the missing link in Asian cooperation by building upon Asia's potentials and strengths through supplementing and complementing existing cooperative frameworks so as to become a viable partner for other regions; To ultimately transform the Asian continent into an Asian Community, capable of interacting with the rest of the world on a more equal footing and contributing more positively towards mutual peace and prosperity. None of the above organizations have a specific mandate to promote or protect human rights, but each has some human rights related economic, social and cultural objectives. A number of Asian countries are accused of serious human rights abuses by the international community and human rights organizations.

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EUROPE

The Council of Europe, founded in 1949, is the oldest organization working for European integration. It is an international organization with legal personality recognized under public international law and has observer status with the United Nations. The seat of the Council of Europe is in Strasbourg in France. The Council of Europe is responsible for both the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. These institutions bind the Council's members to a code of human rights which, though strict, are more lenient than those of the United Nations charter on human rights. The Council also promotes the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the European Social Charter. Membership is open to all European states, which seek European integration, accept the principle of the rule of law and are able and willing to guarantee democracy, fundamental human rights and freedoms. The Council of Europe is separate from the European Union, but the latter is expected to accede to the European Convention and potentially the Council itself. The EU also has a separate human rights document; the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The European Convention on Human Rights defines and guarantees since 1950 human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. All 47 member states of the Council of Europe have signed this Convention and are therefore under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In order to prevent torture and inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 3 of the Convention), the Committee for the Prevention of Torture was established. The European Court of Human Rights is the only international court with jurisdiction to deal with cases brought by individuals (rather than states). 27. AUSTRALIA There are no regional approaches or agreements on human rights for Oceania, but most countries have a well-regarded human rights record. Australia is the only western democracy with no constitutional or legislative bill of rights, but a number of laws have been enacted to protect human rights and the Constitution of Australia has been found to contain certain implied rights by the High Court. However, Australia has been criticized at various times for its immigration policies, treatment of asylum seekers, treatment of its indigenous population, and foreign policy. 28. PHILOSOPHIES OF HUMAN RIGHTS Animal rights

Children's rights Civil rights Collective rights Equal rights Fathers' rights Gay rights Group rights Human rights Inalienable rights Individual rights Legal rights Men's rights Natural right Negative & positive Reproductive rights Self-defense Social rights "Three generations" Women's rights Workers' rights Youth rights

Several theoretical approaches have been advanced to explain how and why human rights become part of social expectations. One of the oldest Western philosophies on human rights is that they are a product of a natural law, stemming from different philosophical or religious grounds. Other theories hold that human rights codify moral behavior which is a human social product developed by a process of biological and social evolution (associated with Hume). Human rights are also described as a sociological pattern of rule setting (as in the sociological theory of law and the work of Weber). These approaches include the notion that individuals in a society accept rules from legitimate authority in exchange for security and economic advantage a social contract. 29. NATURAL RIGHTS Natural law theories base human rights on a natural moral, religious or even biological order that is independent of transitory human laws or traditions. Socrates and his philosophic heirs, Plato and Aristotle, posited the existence of natural justice or natural right (Latin jus naturale). Of these, Aristotle is often said to be the father of natural law, although evidence for this is due largely to the interpretations of his work by Thomas Aquinas. The development of this tradition of natural justice into one of natural law is usually attributed to the Stoics.

Some of the early Church Fathers sought to incorporate the pagan concept of natural law into Christianity. Natural law theories have featured greatly in the philosophies of Thomas Aquinas, Francisco Suarez, Richard Hooker, Thomas Hobbes, Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf, and John Locke. The term "human rights" has replaced the term "natural rights" in popularity, because the rights are less and less frequently seen as requiring natural law for their existence. 30. STATE AND NON-STATE ACTORS Companies, NGOs, political parties, informal groups, and individuals are known as non-State actors. Non-State actors can also commit human rights abuses, but are not generally subject to human rights law other than under International Humanitarian Law, which applies to individuals. Also, certain national instruments such as the Human Rights Act 1998 (UK), impose human rights obligations on certain entities which are not traditionally considered as part of government. Multi-national companies play an increasingly large role in the world, and are responsible for a large number of human rights abuses. Although the legal and moral environment surrounding the actions of governments is reasonably well developed, that surrounding multi-national companies is both controversial and ill-defined. Multi-national companies' primary responsibility is to their shareholders, not to those affected by their actions. Such companies may be larger than the economies of some the states within which they operate, and can wield significant economic and political power. No international treaties exist to specifically cover the behavior of companies with regard to human rights, and national legislation is very variable. Jean Ziegler, Special Reporter of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the right to food stated in a report in 2003:the growing power of transnational corporations and their extension of power through privatization, deregulation and the rolling back of the State also mean that it is now time to develop binding legal norms that hold corporations to human rights standards and circumscribe potential abuses of their position of power. 31. HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS Human rights violations occur when any state or non-state actor breaches any part of the UDHR treaty or other international human rights or humanitarian law. In regard to human rights violations of United Nations laws. Article 39 of the United Nations Charter designates the UN Security Council (or an appointed authority) as the only tribunal that may determine UN human rights violations. Human rights abuses are monitored by United Nations committees, national institutions and governments and by many independent non-governmental organizations, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, World Organization Against Torture, Freedom House, International Freedom of Expression Exchange and Anti-Slavery International. These organizations collect evidence and documentation of alleged human rights abuses and apply pressure to enforce human rights laws. Only a very few countries do not commit significant human rights violations, according to Amnesty International. In their 2004 human rights report (covering 2003), the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Costa Rica are the only countries that did not (in their opinion) violate at least some human rights significantly. There are a wide variety of databases available, which attempt to measure, in a rigorous fashion, exactly what violations governments commit against those within their territorial jurisdiction. An example of this is the list created and maintained by Prof. Christian Davenport at the University of Maryland. 32. WATER There is no current universal human right to water, binding or not, enshrined by the United Nations or any other multilateral body. In November 2002, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights issued a non-binding comment affirming that access to water was a human right: the human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights.

United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights This principle was reaffirmed at the 3rd and 4th World Water Councils in 2003 and 2006. This marks a departure from the conclusions of the 2nd World Water Forum in The Hague in 2000, which stated that water was a commodity to be bought and sold, not a right. There are calls from many NGOs and politicians to enshrine access to water as a binding human right, and not as a commodity. 33. FETAL RIGHTS Proposed rights of the fetus have been a controversial subject. Currently, human rights only apply to individuals. Pro-life and pro-choice groups dispute the point at which a fetus is considered to be an individual in particular. Those who are pro-life believe that an individual's life begins at the moment of conception, or at the time of implantation, and therefore believe that the fetus has equal rights to any other person. Others, including many pro-choice groups, argue that until the point at which the fetus is viable (or could survive alone), typically marked somewhere within the third trimester, the rights of the fetus are secondary to and dependent upon those of the mother. 34. ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS The onset of global warming and a heightened knowledge of environmentalism has created potential conflicts between different human rights. Human rights ultimately require a working ecosystem and healthy environment, but the granting of certain rights to individuals may damage these. In the area of environmental rights, the responsibilities of multi-national corporations, so far relatively undressed by human rights legislation, is of paramount consideration. 35. FUTURE RIGHTS Future technological advances, such as the possibility of mass space travel, the advances in the internet and the possibility of access to huge amounts of information, and others, all raise the possibility of new rights. In Britain of late, reformers have demanded a new Supreme Court-enforceable Bill of Rights to protect a much wider range of economic, political, judicial, communication, and personal rights and freedoms than are currently protected under basic law. 36. EPITOME Human rights are seen as belonging to men and women by their very nature. Another way to describe human rights would be to call them common rights, for they are rights which all men or women in the world should share. The element of human rights is also found in the United States Declaration of Independence, 1776 which says We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness 37. REFERENCES Amnesty International (2004). Amnesty International Report. Amnesty International Publications. ISBN 0862103541 ISBN 1-887204-40-7 Alexander, Fran (ed) (1998). Encyclopedia of World History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198602235 Alston, Philip (2005). "Ships passing in the Night: The Current State of the Human Rights and Development Debate seen through the Lens of the Millennium Development Goals". Human Rights Quarterly. Vol. 27 (No. 3) p.807 Arnhart, Larry (1998). Darwinian Natural Right: The Biological Ethics of Human Nature SUNY Press. ISBN 0791436934

Ball, Olivia; Gready, Paul (2007). The No-Nonsense Guide to Human Rights. New Internationalist. ISBN 1-904456-45-6 Barzilai, Gad. (2003). Communities and Law: Politics and Cultures of Legal Identities. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472113151 Chauhan, O.P. (2004). Human Rights: Promotion and Protection. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. ISBN 812612119X. Cook, Rebecca J.; Fathalla, Mahmoud F. (September 1996). "Advancing Reproductive Rights Beyond Cairo and Beijing". International Family Planning Perspectives Vol.22 (No.3): p.115-121 Davenport, Christian (2007a). State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521864909 Davenport, Christian (2007b). State Repression and Political Order. Annual Review of Political Science.