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Human Rights and 3 Generations of Human Right

Human Rights and 3 Generations of Human Right

Human Rights and 3 Generations of Human Right

This article covers meaning, definition, features of human rights and  3 generations of human right.

What is Human Rights?

Human rights are the basic rights that are the natural rights of all human persons, regardless of their race, gender, nationality, caste, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, the right to freedom from slavery and servitude, freedom of thought and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. These rights should be provided to all without any discrimination.

Human Rights and 3 Generations of Human Right

Human Rights Definition

Human rights have been defined and interpreted by various scholars and organizations over the years:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – Human rights as “the basis of freedom, justice and peace in the world” and which all persons are entitled to Encompasses civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights which all persons should possess.

Mary Robinson– Human rights as “how we should treat each other”.

Henry Schue– Human rights as “rights within limits that protect individuals from serious harm”, such as the right to life and the right to flourish.

Philip Alston– Human rights are “the natural rights of every human person”, regardless of his nationality, race, colour, sex, religion or any other characteristic.

Features of Human Rights

Human rights are universal:

Human rights are universal because everyone has the same rights when they are born, regardless of where they live, their race or caste, their religious, cultural or ethnic background. The universality of human rights is enshrined in the axioms of human rights, such as ‘all members of the human race are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ These rights are not limited to any particular category, but are available to all, without any exception. These are inherent in every person, regardless of race, religion, gender, or nationality. In addition, human rights can be applied across national boundaries.

Human rights are natural:

Human rights are natural as they are not conferred by any person or authorized authority. Human rights do not need to be bought, earned or inherited; People have them simply because they are human.

Human rights are fundamental:

Human rights are fundamental because without them, human life and dignity become meaningless.

Human rights remain immortal:

Human rights are immeasurable and cannot be lost, even if one does not practice or manifest them, or may claim them for a long time.

Human rights are indestructible:

Human rights are due to the natural existence of the individual. They are natural to all individuals, regardless of their race, religion, gender, or nationality. These rights are granted even after the death of the person. Different rituals in different religions confirm this fact. Human rights are indestructible.

Human rights are indivisible:

Human rights are indivisible, Compared to the existence of one, they cannot be denied even if others are welcomed. Whether they relate to civil, cultural, economic, political, or social aspects, human rights are associated with the dignity of every human person. Thus, all human rights are of equal importance and cannot be placed in a herculean order. Denial of one right leads to loss of enjoyment of other rights. Thus, access should not prejudice the right to health or education at the foot of other entitlements.

Human Rights Essential and Necessary:

Human rights are indispensable for the moral, physical, social and spiritual well being of the individual. They provide suitable conditions for material and moral advancement. Along with this, human rights are necessary to fulfill the purpose of human life.

Human rights are linked to human dignity:

All persons are considered equal on the basis of human existence. There should be no discrimination on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity, sex, age, language, sexual orientation, religion, political or other opinion, caste, social or geographic origin, disability, property, birth or any other status. Human dignity must be protected

Quantitative Check on State Power:

States and other responsible contracting parties have an obligation to observe human rights. In this context, they have to follow the legal norms and standards contained in international human rights instruments. Thus, human rights quantify the power of the state.

Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a fundamental document in the field of human rights. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris, France on 10 December 1948. The UDHR is an important milestone in the history of human rights and is often seen as a universal Magna Carta for all peoples, providing a common basic human rights standard for all people to be universally protected and respected.

Key points about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) include:

Preamble: The UDHR begins with a Preamble which sets forth the principles and reasons behind the declaration. It states the recognition of “the natural dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” as the basis of emancipation, justice and world peace.

30 Articles: The UDHR consists of 30 articles which challenge a wide range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all individuals. These rights include the right to life, liberty and security, the right to freedom from discrimination, suffering and slavery, the right to work, education and participation in the cultural and political life of one’s community.

Universal and Indivisible: The UDHR describes human rights as universal, which means that all human apply to persons, regardless of their citizenship, race, colour, religion, or any other identity. Furthermore, the declaration also states that these rights are indivisible and interrelated, meaning that the exercise of one right often depends on the realization of others.

Non Binding Nature of UDHR: Although the UDHR itself does not carry legal binding, it serves as the inspiration and basis for many international human rights treaties and agreements. It has also been recognized as influencing the national legal systems of the inviting organizations and the international legal jurisdictions.

Impact of UDHR: The UDHR has had a profound impact on human rights norms and standard-setting around the world. It has played an important role in the establishment of international and regional human rights mechanisms and institutions for the protection of human rights.

Human Rights Day: 10 December is observed annually as Human Rights Day, to honor with the adoption of the UDHR. On this day, various events and activities are organized all over the world to promote and protect human rights.

Human Rights and 3 Generations of Human Right

In summary, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a testament to the joint determination of the League of Nations to protect and defend the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons. It serves as a guidance document in the global effort to promote human dignity, equality and justice throughout the world.

Human Rights and 3 Generations of Human Right

Human rights are often divided into three generations, each representing a different historical stage and rights set. These variations help to understand the development and expansion of human rights over time. The concept 3 generations of human right was given by the famous Czech jurist Karel Vasak in 1979.  Following are the three generations of human rights:

  1. First Generation Rights (Civil and Political Rights):

  • These rights emerged in the late 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries as a competitive response to the abuses of power by rising monarchs.
  • These include the rights to personal freedom and liberty, such as the right to life, liberty and security of person; freedom of thought, expression and religion; and the right to fair punishment in the judicial process.
  • First generation rights are often associated with the concept of negative rights, in which the state is concerned with the deprivation of rights of the individual.
  1. Second Generation Rights (Social, Economic and Cultural Rights):

  • These rights became important in the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily as a competitive response to social and economic inequalities brought about by industrialization and urbanization.
  • This includes rights to education, healthcare, social security, and higher levels of employment, etc.
  • Second generation rights are often associated with positive rights, which require government action to ensure the well-being and equality of citizens.
  1. Third Generation Rights (Solidarity or Collective Rights):

  • Third generation rights emerged in the mid-20th century primarily in the context of global interconnectedness and the need for international cooperation.
  • These include the right to clean environment, the right to self-determination for indigenous tribes, and the right to peace.
  • These rights often require international cooperation and address issues that transcend particular nation borders.

Dividing human rights across generations is only for a simplification, and in reality there is overlap between these rights and short-termism to each other. Furthermore, considering the concept of “generations” as such does not fully capture the complexity of explaining human rights. However, this framework is an appropriate tool for understanding the historical development and broader scope of human rights.

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