Introduction To Human Rights

All human beings are born free and they possess equal rights. They are endeavored with reasons and conscience and should act toward one another in spirit of brotherhood. The definition of human right in UDHR is significantly taken from French declaration of 1787 which proposes three things i.e. Liberty, equality and fraternity. However, the origin of human rights can be tracked much before. There are many ancient philosophers like Plato, Aristotle and many more. If we look in Greece realm, then we found the concept of ‘Jus civilians’ which means right to be given to civilians which include the right to vote, equality before the law, freedom of speech, right to trade and many more. Again in the Roman Empire, there were concepts of ‘Jus genetium’ which provides the right to conduct between nationals and foreigners.

Codification of human rights in modern times is certainly from three things in modern time. These three things include Magna Carta, and then come the American declaration of Independence, 1776, and lastly French declaration of 1787. Again there are numbers of books from which our human right principles have emerged. If we talk about Magna Carta (1215), it was for the first time when King John of England provided certain reliefs to people from heavy taxes. The American declaration of independence affirms that all men are equal and independent with some birth right. Further, the French revolution talked about liberty, equality and fraternity.


The basic rule of international law is that states have no right to encroach upon the sovereignty of another state. The international law human right are available after requirements are fulfilled like this:-

  1. The exhaustion of domestic or local remedies rule. This method allows states to solve their own internal affairs in accordance with their constitutional procedure before invoking international mechanisms.
  2. The remedies are available only against parties of states and not against those who are not party to concerned international body.

International human right law consists of:-

  1. UDHR:- Universal declaration on human rights
  2. ICCPR:- International covenants on civil and political rights
  3. ICCER:- International covenants on cultural and economic rights.

Now the next thing which needs to be emphasized is the obligations of states to enforce human right law. There are basically three obligations that a state needs to fulfill such as:

  1. Obligation to respect:- State with enable everyone to know about human right law and it will also respect the individual human right.
  2. Obligation to Protect:– State will also protect human rights. Whenever the violation of human rights takes place, then it is the duty of the state to safeguard the rights of any individual or community.
  3. Obligation to fulfill:- State should have to take all necessary steps to facilitate human rights. It is the duty of state to promote human rights.

To comply with all these obligations, there are few mechanism on which states may rely.

  1. Charter-based bodies:- Human rights council created by Charter of U.N.
  2. Treaty-based bodies:- Special procedure of human right council.


India is a developing country and it is also known for its rights and values throughout the world. After the infamous case of emergency in 1975, various NGOs demanded human rights laws. Press supported this movement against the government. The movement of NGOs was also favored by the judiciary. Supreme Court supported this movement and this constitutional. Finally, after both national and international pressure, the president of India gave his assent to the Human Right act, 1993.

This Act defines human right as right relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of individual guaranteed by constitution or embodied in international conventions. However, there were many criticism of this definition also as this definition of human right is restricted to life, liberty, equality and dignity.

To deal which the cases of human right and its violation, various state and national level commissions were formed. National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission are example to this.

National Human Rights Commission:

It primarily deals to protect the human right of people from any violation and it also ensure different preventive measures to stop further violation of human right.

The main function of NHRC are as follow;-

  • To inquire the cases of human right violation either on petition or suo moto.
  • To conduct surveys of human right violation.
  • Study treaties and other instruments which are related to human right.
  • Spread awareness regarding human right.

State Human Right Commission:

The SHRC is composed of a chairperson and four other members. The function of SHRC is similar to NHRC. It mainly interfere within the human right matter of concerned state.

Human Right Courts:

State government may setup court which will look into the matter of those cases which are related to human right. The state government may establish court of human right after consultation with chief justice of High Court. The state governments may also appoint special public prosecutors who will look into the cases of human right.


Every person are born with some inherited right but still there is a lot of cases regarding human right violation. There are still a lot of countries who does not even fulfill the basic criteria and requirements of human right. Human rights are one of the basic right which must be provided to each and every individual irrespective of their caste, sex, gender, religion, nationality etc. It is duty of every nation as a whole to safeguard the human right. All those necessary thins needs to be done, which will help preventing violation of human right. Many necessary milestone step has yet to be taken to make this world a better place.

This article is authored by Ashish Ranjan, Second-Year, B.A. LL.B (Hons.) student at Central University of South Bihar

Also Read – Human Rights Violations in India

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