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The Legal Analyst ISSN: 2231-5594 Volume 1, 2011, pp.106-110

UNIVERSALITY OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Monika Soni* & Preeti Sodhi**

The evolution of the human rights movement clearly illustrates humanity's ongoing struggle toward creating a better world.

-Robert Alan 1 Abstract: In 21st century we are witnessing uproar and the turmoil spans across the world without any consideration of geographical constraints. These situations compel us to think whether Human Rights are indeed practiced. 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. It has been over 50 years since the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed by most governments in the world and yet the abuses continue to grow. Freedom of Speech and Human Rights are taken for granted in the west, but recent years have seen conditions deteriorate around the world. The situation of human rights in India is a complex one, as a result of the country's large size and tremendous diversity, its status as a developing country and a Sovereign, Secular, Democratic Republic, and its history as a former colonial territory. Vivid endeavour has been made by authors to know the historical perspective of human rights. Further varied incidents are scrutinized related to exploitation of human rights at global as well as Indian stature. At the end, few observations were jotted down. Key Words : Human Rights, World View, Indian View.

Introduction:

Before going to discuss the actual meaning of human rights, we would like to take you to the journey which initiated the processes of bringing the concept to the forefront. Like other political developments, thoughts and theories, the process too begins with Greece, where Socrates, son of an Athenian sculptor, born in 469 BC, ignited that beacon of human rights, in a Greek slave owning society for that bulk of people, destitute of any human rights and were just skeletons to work for their masters, which kept the flame of justice alive and burning for the fighters and martyrs of human rights for all the ages to come. After the Greek period, the views of roman thinkers like Cicero also stressed upon the idea of framing those laws by the state, which supply the idea of human welfare. During the middle age the concept again gained momentum in the hands of William of Ockham, John of Paris and Marsilius of Padua (Italian Marsilio or Marsiglio da Padova), who raised voice against the corruption of papacy and tried to free mankind from the clutches of priests and Popes. And in the later part, the idea went through its rough patches in the form of imperialism, fascism, racialism and colonialism in the 15th and 16th century in the hands of colonial powers like Spain, Germany, Britain and Portugal. But after an arduous struggle these colonies eventually became able to have their right to self determination and the dignity and happiness of a man came to be regarded as the utmost urgency of human life. Thinkers like Karl Marx also gifted the cause by his concept of dialectical materialism and advocated the eradication of exploitation of a man by man. In this journey, the corner stones like Magna Carta, French revolution, American Revolution must not be over looked. 2 International Scenario:

The world also witnessed two world wars which brought with them sheer violation of human rights in the form of torn and shattered humanity so after this tormentation new awakening among the nations burst forth. And the idea got a concre te shape as the UN came out in 1948 with its Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stressed upon-four basic rights i.e. civil, political, social and economic. Apart from making provisions in these forms of rights, two international covenants on economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights were also passed by it. Others are as Declaration of Elimination of all

*Lecturer, A.S. College for Women Khanna, INDIA. **Senior Instructor, Govt. Home Science College, Chandigarh, INDIA.

1

http://www.betterworld.net/quotes/humanrights-quotes.htm

2 http://www.globalissues.org/article/138/human-rights-for-all

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Forms of Racial Discrimination, (1963); Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, (1965) Convention of the Elimination all Forms of Discrimination against Woman 1979, Convention against Torture 1984, Bond of Principles for the Protection of all Persons under any Form of Detention or Imprisonment 1988 and Vienna Declaration 1993. These all have been instrumental in this world wide movement called protection of human rights. All the signatory countries are bound to provide these rights to her citizens as UN has proclaimed a common standard of achievement of these rights for all the people of all nations. Instances of Violation of Human Rights: Here starts another issue that is about the universal violation of human rights. The world has been a witness to many tortures and atrocities inflicted upon mankind of one nation or the other from time to time whether in the form of aggressions, genocides, dictatorship, enslavement, racial discriminations, and massacres lust of liquid gold. Here are some of the incidents:

1. Jallianwalabagh Massacre April 13, 1919-The out break of the First World War made it ne cessary for the British govt. to have men and material support from the Indian people. So without discussing the issue they declared India to be the part of First world war and at Punjab war conference Governor Michael O'Dwyer expressed his policy, “two hu ndred thousand men for regular army, voluntarism, if possible conscription if necessary”. In order to have all this they went for all the inhuman methods to raise 12 crore of rupees and not only this material support rather men support of alone 3 lakhs 60 thousands soldiers form Punjab was provided to British Indian Army. Inspite of all these contributions General O'Dwyer came out with the statement, “Indians will not be fit for self government till dooms day.” It started a great resentment amongst the Indians. The British govt. further took the extreme steps like limiting the independence of press and banned the entry of prominent leaders like Tilak, Annie Besant and Bipin Chandar Pal. Further, the govt. also suppressed the Indians by passing the Rowlett Ac t. They brought with them to detain the person without trial, banning the political activities and even depriving the person from right to appeal against death sentence. The announcement of Act gave birth to wide spread protest all over the country. Follow ing the stayagrah movement of Gandhiji in this context, on April 9, 1919 Gandhiji was arrested and he was stopped from coming to Punjab. People of all religions came forward to observe hartals in protest to Gandhi ji's arrest. During the course of incidents the British govt. arrested two popular leaders Dr. Satyapal and Kitchlew and it made people to come to roads and peacefully go to DC's office for their release but the British Govt. opened fire at them and it infuriated the processionists and was turned violent. In the meantime, taking account of the situation Amritsar was entrusted to army with in-charge brigadier General Dyer. They had enforced seditious meeting act on April 13, 1919 and then came the fateful day on the Baisakhi festival around 25 thous and people had gathered in the Jallianwala garden. There was only one entrance point where Army was deployed. There was a wall of 8 feet all around the enclosure and General Dyer suddenly opened fire where those innocent people men, women and even children had no chance to escape. Many of them got trampled; others fell into the well while scaling the wall and died. Really, it was a brutal carnage and now days these so called human rights activist colonial powers will always take it as a big and a shameful s car on their fair white faces of being the great human activists. 3 2. Massacre in Lebanon (600 BC -1900AD)-The country we now call Lebanon is located on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea, in the middle -east which happens to be in Asia. Lebanon has a lways been a country of brutal aggression and worst affect ever since 60BC whether it has been the armies of Nebuchadnezzar by Alexandra [the feminine form of the given name Alexander]. The main theme is related to the situation of the year between 1972-19 75. It was the time the Palestinian forces in Lebanon have crossed over the country of around 3 lakhs mark. Actually from the northern part of Lebanon, Palestinian gorillas kept raiding the Zionist state and in retaliation to that Israel begin attacking th e northern part of the Lebanon .In dearth of any kind of support, from the central authority to the local people the whole system got paralyzed before the aggression of these Israelis rightist groups. In March 1975, a national level armed attacked progressive movement with the help of combined forces of the

3 http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/human-rights-violations-in-cities-around-the-world-20081006

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national front and Palestinian resistance was launched. A bus carrying men, women and children to the Tol-Al-Zatar camp was machined gunned by a phalangist commando April 13 th , it provoked and attacked killing 26 persons and a civil war broke out which lasted for 2 years causing apart from disastrous losses to the national economy less more than 50,000 people dead and many others wounded and badly mutilated. Some 80 villages were dashed to the ground.

The situation got worsened in march 1978 when more than 30,000 Israeli troupes invaded the southern part of Lebanon .combined air naval and ground attacks were carried and the invading forces occupied 1/5 th of Lebanon territory and in this criminality massacred the Lebanon and Palestinian population as the official data to report all this left behind 10,000 completely destroyed houses, 10,810 orphans, 36,000 children left without schools, 2, 50,000 permanently disabled persons. After June 1978 the massacre of 100 of incent civilians was again caused in the bloody clashes.

3. The Rape of Nanking -According to the reliable sources, the Nanking massacre was the tragic ones in

the history of china, popularly known as the rape of Nanking. It was an act of violence c ommitted by the

Japanese soldiers of her imperial army upon, its occupation of China from December 1937 till February 1938.the Japanese army committed numerous atrocities such as rape, looting, killing that to mostly civilians as per the official estimated 2-3 lakh people were killed in it.

4. The Granada Massacre -On this tragic incident about 4000 persons died in one day. This incident

occurred on December 30, 1066 when a Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada in Spain and assassinated Jewish Vizier Joseph Nagarela and killed most of the Jewish population of the city.

5. The Sabra and Shatila Massacre It was the most fateful day of September 15 and 16, 1982 and was

carried out the Lebanon forces when Lebanon on Christian phalangist militiaman entered too in Palestinian refugee camps and they killed the civilians over there and estimated to have killed 3500 civilians. 4 Indian Perspective: After having a glimpse of universal violation of human rights now their needs are shift towards the study of violation through the universal approach in reference to India also. Following the international provision of UN, India too being the signatory of the UN as its original or founder member also gave with to the concept through the two major legislations. It is the passing of protection of human rights act December 1993 under which national human rights commission and Punjab human rights commission was established. But apart from the provision the incidents and the data available in this context has same different storm to tell we have tried to see it through the following prospective - Rights of children- the UN through Universal Declaration Human Right provided ground for the children as right to life, participate, security and development and also the Vienna declaration India constitution provides protection them constitutional articles like 15, 21A, 24, 39(E), 39(F) and 45 th Article, but the violation continues to persist as in India in case of female infanticide, we have the data of female and male child ratio in 0-6yrs. category as under:

NATIONAL DATA

YEAR

927:1000

2001

883:1000

2003

803:1000(HIMACHAL PRADESH)

2003

807:1000(HARYANA)

2003

853:1000(UTTAR PRADESH)

2003

855:1000(RAJASTHAN)

2003

862:1000(GUJARAT)

2003

But the 2004 study shows that the Punjab has 614:1000 in rural areas and astonishing but the 560:1000 in urban areas and today‟s Punjab ratio has again dipped to 733 only similarly incase of child labour according to ILO in 2007 more than 20% child labourers aged 15-14yrs. Are engaged in a grarian sector and more than 25% are in manufacturing and repair sector. Nearly 1300 million under 14 yrs. of age are

4 R.S. Dhillon, Probable latest essays: 2010

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engaged in child labour. Similarly in case of physical abuse as per the data realized by ministry of women and child development came out with the fact that 48.7% children were reported to have been beaten up by the family members and 32.1% reported to have pasted drugs like alcohol, charas, smack, brown sugar etc. in case of sexual abuse around 52.9% boys are sexually abused whereas in case of girls the data is 47.1%. It is reported that half of the world‟s child brides live in south -Asia it means we don‟t lag behind in case of child marriage also and UNCIEF report that 1/3 rd of world‟s child brides live in India alone. So India accounts for the highest number of child brides in south-Asia. It is an open violation of their rights as at a tender age they are more prone to the victim violence and sexual abuse. Now if we look at the health perspective of Indian children the UNICEF report 2005 re veals that under the age of 5yrs. the infant mortality is 87 after 1000 and it was better than the worst country Sierra Leon but greatly worst than the countries Singapore and Sweden where it is only 3 after 1000 in case of the data of primary school educa tion the same report reveals that some of the countries like Canada, France, Fiji where it has 100% India stands at 77%. The nutritional situation is India has been figured as 30% just after the worst situation in country Yemen with 32%.in case of babies w ith weight less than 2.5 kilos at the time of birth (UNICEF 2005 Report).So the study of some of these parameters regarding children rights we come across the sorry state of affairs despite all the arrangements be it constitutional or practical. 5 Rights of women-Indian women have been given protection through the various legislations, constitutional arrangements and judicial interpretations. The matter female infanticide has already been discussed. Now here arises the major issue that is of their health. Ac cording to 2009 report of UNICEF due to the lack of basic amenities every year around 78000 women die during delivery cases in India. Also in 65% cases delivery happens at their home. So in the lack of basic facilities the death rate at the delivery time is 3000 times more than America and Britain. Also there is an alarming situation with regards to cases of prostitution in India. According to the „The Pioneer‟ 1999, there are 9 crore prostitutions in India and 25% of them are below the age of 18 yrs. Many of them are afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Now we take into account their political participation .generally their participation has not reached from the 10% of the total number of Lok Sabha. In the 15 th Lok Sabha elections we have the total 59 women MP‟s in all time highest figure. 6 The United Nations commission on women has revealed that in India, women produces the 30% of the total produce but get only the 10% of it and she is the owner of just 10% of the total national wealth. Similarly looking at the figures of labour ministry govt. of India we find that in 2002 in the public sector enterprises there were 158.86 lakh of male and 28.87 lakh of women and in the public sector enterprises the figures were 63.83 lakh men and 20.49 women these datas clearly show ho w far rights of women in

India are protected. 7 Rights of prisoners- the prisoners too have provisions under the Universal Declaration Human rights under articles 3,5,6,8,9,10,11 & 14 which state as everyone has right to life, liberty and safety of his body (3). No one shall be punished (5). Capital punishment will be given in very rare cases, according to the applicability in any country (6). No capital punishment for children under 18yrs. of age in Indian constitution too. Under Article 22 provides prot ection to them our judiciary in its various judgments has to provide protection and arrangement the following provision of rights to them.

- Right to equality

- Proper arrangement according to the sex

- Right to good health and medication

- Right to pure water and food

- Right to hygiene and toilet

- Right to free legal aid

- Right to meet the friends and relatives

5 M.S. Gill, Human rights Human wrongs. (Delhi: Sarup & Sons 2004)

6 Aravamudan Gita , Disappearing Daughters: The Tragedy of Female Foeticide.(Penguin Books 2007)

7 Subhash Sharma, Bharat Me Manav Adhikar. (India: Sahni Publications 2009)

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- Right to entertainment and correspondence etc 8

Our judiciary has come forward in their protection like in Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India 9 . They have been given right to life. Citizen for Democracy v. State of Assam 1995-accused have been liberated from the handcuffs etc. After going through these provisions the question arises are they really protected? The answer is completely unsatisfactory. 10 As per the HT news of 9 th July, 2006, on the basis of an interview

held with the prisoner of Tihaar jail Delhi, here are some of the interpretations:

1. Prisoners don‟t get enough space to sleep. There live three times the prisoners than the space provided.

2. They are made to get up at 5 a.m. and clean the toilets.

3. The prisoners who don‟t wish to work have to pay Rs. 10,000 to the jail authorities /staff but the money can be adjusted up to Rs. 4000- 5000 if the deal is directly struck.

4. Influential people are given all the facilities like TV, fridge, servant, badminton, bath etc. Whereas to commoners the ordinary food too is of much deplorable quality as described by him Paani jaisi daal, sadde hue ate ki roti wo bhi maatarr char or thodi si kharaab sabzi”. The most of milk and cheese is just showed in papers.

5. Some illegal Bangladeshi prisoners do serve the upper class prisoners.

6. Intoxicants like one pouch of charas Rs. 30 and 1 gold flake cigarette Rs. 50 is available. The non-availability of match stick is compensated by placing a piece of cloth on a hot bulb fire.

7. To have the extra facilities Rs.500 - 5000 were charged on the basis of the prisoners. So this is the very small review of the conditions of our prisoners in languishingly in Indian jails. 11

Concluding Observation: At the last, there arises a significant need to discuss why this violation occurs. Here are some of the observations.

1. Increase of children-It is basically lack of education, poverty and social discrimination causing it.

2. Political leaders are themselves interested to employ them in their own factories.

3. In case of women traditional sectors like education will lead the girl to have problems in getting married.

4. No stricted legislation for crimes like sexual harassment against women.

5. Delay in start proceedings in the cases of crime against women as according to National Crime Record Bureau only 3 out of 10 rapes and dowry deaths are investigated within the same year

2007.

6. And in case of prisoners we have found that short comings like costly and complex judicial

system, large number of cases delayed justice .least availability of free legal aid in the least number of states, in the least number of courts and to the least number of prisoners. These observations surely serve upon the idea that apart from being able of considering the above mentioned loop holes we need to be sensitive and just human in our ways because all this violation are only symbolic of our being insensitive towards humanity. The courage to stand against the wrong is also the dire necessity of the hour. If we combine just these two forces we can really give a real meaning to the following lines.

The strident notes of dissent cannot be silen ced by putting men to death.

†††

8 Supra note 7

9 1978 AIR 597

10 R.S. Dhillon , Probable latest essays: 2010

11 www.hindustantimes .com

12 http://en.proverbia.net/citastema.asp?tematica=578

-Socrates 12