What are Human Rights? Why are they Important? All you need to know

~Reinhard Collaco (@reinisintheclouds)

What are Human Rights and why exactly are they important? Presently, everyone has a vague idea of what these rights actually are and how they have an impact in our life, both mentally and physically. It would truly be a different scenario if these rights were not available to us. Let’s start with defining rights.

Rights are the freedom of doing something that is morally correct and is legal in nature. But there are also certain rights which are very integral to a person’s life like the Human rights. Now, the question is what are Human Rights?

Human rights
What are Human Rights?

What are Human Rights?

Human rights can defined as the actions which consist of certain principles or norms which are morally correct and are being governed by some sort of law or stature.  

What happens if these rights are being denied?

History has always spoken about the struggles our forefathers faced in order to win the basic rights. It is for their compromises and struggles that today we are able to enjoy those rights freely, without any compulsion.

Human rights are the most fundamental rights that a human being needs in order to live (not survive). We have seen how, many countries across the globe have denied certain rights to their citizens, for example the right to education or the right to life.

The human rights cannot be denied in any way. History is evidence that if these rights are denied, people have come out in numbers to strive and achieve what is theirs. There are certain non-governmental organizations and activists spread all over the globe that work for the protection of the rights of the people. These organizations fight against the corrupt governments to help make these rights readily available to the public.

human rights

The Indian government has always taken certain measures to protect the rights of each and every individual citizen. Through our wonderfully crafted constitution, it clearly outlines all the rights available to us, from the Article 14 to Article 32. The constitution makes sure that these rights are being safeguarded and is not in any way unconstitutional.

What if these rights are being violated?

Different countries have taken varied steps to provide justice to those whose rights have been violated and make sure that the rights of individuals are preserved. For instance, the government of India can ask a person, whose rights have been violated or denied to approach a certain court which deals with the particular issues achieve redressal of their issues.

If a person feels that his/her fundamental rights are being violated, then he/she can file a case using the Article 32 or 226 of the Constitution of India. A state defined under the Article 12 can violate the fundamental rights only if deemed necessary.

Human rights bring empowerment

Human rights are both empowering and practical. They help people stand for what is morally right and to help build a civilized society. It consists of certain norms which individuals and organisations have to follow on how to treat people.

Human rights empower people to take actions when their needs are not being met, even if the law in power does not recognize or protect them. For example the LGBTQ community has been fighting to legalise same sex marriage for over the past decade and they did not stop because they believed it was their right.

equality

We also experience our rights in India everyday by being able to worship according to our beliefs or by choosing not to worship. Furthermore, to be able to move around freely without any curfew is one of the rights.  These are some of the few rights that we enjoy.

Why are Human Rights Important?

Now that we are aware of what are human rights, we should also know why they are important.

  • Human rights make sure that a person can meet his basic needs like clothes, water, food and shelter. These are the basic rights in a person’s life. Sadly, there are people still out there who do not have access to these basic rights
  • Human rights allow a person to live freely without any force. They all have their right to life and no one can take that away from them.
  • It encourages people in freedom of speech and expression. Where people are allowed to express themselves in public without any fear.
  • A person is free to practice their own religion or to not practice any. Human rights acknowledge a person’s belief and allows them to practice in peace.
  • Everyone has the right to education irrespective of their religion, caste or gender. The human rights make sure that these are achieved.
  • Human rights help in protecting the vulnerable groups in the society that have been affected in the past. This is one of the main reasons the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created.

Role of the United Nations in Human Rights

The 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.

United Nations

The United Nations as we know is a comprehensive body of the human rights law. The UN is universally and internationally protected by a set of codes which the nations can subscribe and the people can aspire. It has always played a vital role in maintaining world peace and smooth inter-governmental functioning over the past decades.

human rights children

They have strived to make sure that no country is depriving its citizens of the basic human rights. They have also come up with the International Human Rights Law which laws down certain rules on how to act and to also refrain from certain acts in order to promote and protect these rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is considered as a milestone document in the history of human rights. It was drafted by various legal and cultural representatives from all over the world.

The declaration was proclaimed in Paris by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. It was created after the WWII for the people born out of atrocities and enormous loss of life.

The UDHR, together with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols and Cultural Rights form the so called International Bill of Human Rights.

Conclusion

By now, you must have a clear idea of what are human rights and why they are important.

Many people have a general idea as to what their rights are. Every human being is entitled to the fundamental rights. In case these rights are not well known, they give rise to discrimination, injustice, slavery and other forms of oppression. Unfortunately, there many places that still face oppression even today and there is no stopping till everyone around the world is able to know what are human rights.

To sum up, we are now aware of our rights, how the nations try to protect these rights and also understand what happens when these rights are violated.

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