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Our rights: Our freedoms

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 Dec 2015 12:00 AM GMT

By Ranjan K Baruah

Human rights are basic rights of each and every individual. Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that “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.” Now, what we need to ask to ourselves is do we have human rights everywhere or not? Universal human rights are applicable around the world but in spite of that many rights are being violated or citizens are deprived of human rights. President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States identified four basic freedoms as the birthright of all people: freedom of expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. His wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, joined forces at the United tions with human rights champions from around the world to enshrine these freedoms in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Basic human rights are being violated in many different forms. Some may not have freedom of expression while some may not have a place to live in their own place as they become refugees for different regions. World leaders in September adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustaible Development with the aim of ending poverty and ebling all people to live in dignity on a peaceful, healthy planet. There were Millennium Development Goals but all were not achieved which means still lot is to be done to ensure human rights for all.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United tions General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 General Assembly resolution 217 A as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all tions. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

Human Rights Day is celebrated on the 10th December every year to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United tions in 1948 as the common standard of achievement for mankind. The Declaration recognizes that the inherent dignity and the equal and ilieble rights of all members of the human family are the foundation of justice, freedom and peace in the world. It reaffirms the faith of the people of United tions in the fundamental human rights. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, as the main United tions rights official, and her Office play a major role in coorditing efforts for the yearly observation of Human Rights Day.

This year’s Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign marking the 50th Anniversary of the two Intertiol Covents on Human Rights: The Intertiol Covent on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Intertiol Covent on Civil and Political Rights. These Covents were adopted by the United tions’ General Assembly on the 16th December, 1966. The slogan of this year’s Human Rights Day - ‘Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always’ aims to promote and raise awareness about these Covents.

“ On Human Rights Day, let us recommit to guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms and protecting the human rights of all”, this was stated on the message of United tions Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the occasion of human rights day. He also stated that ‘amid large-scale atrocities and widespread abuses across the world, Human Rights Day should rally more concerted global action to promote the timeless principles that we have collectively pledged to uphold.’

During the last 22 years, since its inception on the 12th October, 1993, the tiol Human Rights Commission has endeavoured to promote a culture of human rights in the country. Despite being a recommendatory body, as per the Protection of Human Rights Act, most of the recommendations of the Commission have been accepted by the Governments. The trust and confidence of the people, which it has earned in the process, reflects in substantial measure in the number of complaints it has been receiving each year. The Commission disposed of 14,84,589 cases till the 6th December, 2015 out of 15,32,042 cases registered by it either suo motu or on complaints or on intimation by the prison and police authorities. It recommended monetary relief of Rs.1,02,20,94,671/- in 4328 cases out of which Rs.74,52,28,499/- were paid in 3649 cases till the 6th December, 2015.

NHRC has made a number of interventions on key issues of human rights, which include, among others, issues of bonded and child labour, prison reforms, right to health, mental healthcare, rights of persons with disability, silicosis, illegal clinical drug trials, pesticides in food items, pricing of drugs, corporate-social responsibility, manual scavenging and sanitation, human rights of women.

Presence of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in some state is against some of the basic human rights. It’s time for the people in the country to think again about the presence of the act. There have been democratic protest in many parts of the country and more the North Eastern region to repeal the act which was ected way back 1958. On the day of human rights if we read UDHR and relate it to AFSPA then we would understand whether such acts are needed or not. It’s important that the issue of AFSPA must be discussed in the parliament of the country.

Human Rights day is being observed in different parts of the worlds and may parts of the country. It is an opportunity to discuss on various issues related to human rights and lets us all make sure that we fight for the rights of each and individual so that everyone can live with dignity and honour. We must remember if we remain silent when others rights are violated then others might be silent id we are in trouble tomorrow. Let us all become voice and not victims.

(Published on the occasion of human rights day and feedback may be sent to

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