Meaning of Human Rights
Syed Wajid Rizvi
B.A.LLB 6 th Semester Roll No: 75
Today the world over, there is considerable discussion on human rights and various United Nations bodies and non-governmental organizations are concerned about the implementation of human rights .But before we
talk of implementation of human rights, it is necessary to
understand what are human rights?. And what is their broad
meaning and content?. The term human rights is a new
formulation of the classic phrase ‘’The Rights of Man”.
Human beings are rational beings .They by virtue of their being human possess certain basic and inalienable rights which are commonly known as human rights .Thus human rights are those rights which every individual is entitled to by virtue of being human. Since these rights belong to them because of their very existence. They became operative with
their birth .Human rights being the birth right, are, therefore, inherent in all the individuals irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, sex and nationality. Human rights being inherent people cannot live as human beings without them. These rights are essential for all the
individuals as they are consonant with their freedom and dignity and are conducive to physical, moral, social and spiritual welfare .They are also necessary as they create an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive and creative
lives in accordance with their needs and provide suitable conditions for the material and moral uplift of the people. Because of their immense significances to human beings; human rights are also sometimes referred to as fundamental rights, basic rights, inherent rights, natural rights and birth rights. Human rights being fundamental or basic rights are often set
out in the constitution so that they are not taken away by any Act of Legislature or government.
Presently, the vast majority of legal scholars and philosophers agree that every human being is entitled to some basic rights. Thus there is universal acceptance of human rights in principle. In domestic and international plane ‘human rights ‘is a generic term
and it is therefore difficult to give a precise definition of the ‘human rights’ however, it can be said that the rights that all people have by virtue of their being human are human rights. These are the rights which no one can be deprived of without a grave affront to justice. It is so because they may affect the human dignity. Thus the idea of human rights is bound up with the idea of human dignity. J.S Verma has rightly stated that human dignity is the quintessence of human rights. All those rights which are essential for the protection and maintenance of dignity of individuals and create
conditions in which every human being can develop his personality to the fullest extent may be termed human rights. However, dignity has never been precisely defined on the basic of consensus, but it accords roughly with justice and good society. Dignity can no longer survive where human beings are humiliated. The world conference on human
Rights held in 1993 in Vienna stated in the declaration. “That all human rights derived from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person, and that the human person is the central subject of human rights and fundamental freedoms”. D.D Basu defines human
rights as, “those minimum rights which every individual must have against the state or other public authority by virtue of his being a member of human family, irrespective of any other consideration”.
Human rights are therefore those rights which belong to an individual as a consequence of being human. They are based on elemental human needs as imperatives. Some of these human needs are elemental for the psychic survival and health. Thus, human rights can be
perceived and enumerated .These rights are associated with the traditional concept of natural laws.
Rights being immunities denote that there is a guarantee that certain things cannot or ought not to be done to a person against his will. According to this concept human beings, by virtue of their humanity ought to be protected against unjust and degrading treatment. In other words human rights are exemptions from the operation of arbitrary power. An individual can seek human rights only in an organized community, i.e.; a state or in other words where civil social order exists. No one can imagine to invoke
them in a state of anarchy where there is hardly any just power to which a citizen can appeal against the violation of rights. Thus the principle of the protection of human beings is derived from the concept of man as a person and his relationship with an organized society which cannot be separated from universal human nature. Human rights being essential for all-round development of the personality of the individuals
in the society be necessarily protected and be made available to all the individuals. They must be preserved, cherished and defended if peace and prosperity are to be achieved.
Human rights are the very essence of a meaningful life, and to maintain human dignity is the ultimate purpose of the government. The need for the protection has arisen because of inevitable increase in the control over man’s action by the government which by no means can be regarded as desirable. There are several states where fundamental standards of the human beings as to their rights have also necessitated the protection
by the states. It has been realized that the functions of all the laws whether they are the rules of Municipal law or that of International law should be to protect them in the interest of the humanity. Presently, there is a widespread acceptance of the importance of human rights in the
international structure because it has legal moral and political bearing .Human rights are legal because it involves the implementation of rights and obligations mentioned in international treaties, it is moral because human rights are value based to preserve human dignity and it is political in the large sense of world. They also operate to limit the power of Government over individuals .However one will not hesitate to admit that there is a confusion prevailing as to its precise nature and scope and the mode of international law as to the protection of these rights.