Man under Human Rights is different from the ‘man’ of religion, philosophy and Holy Books. Whatever he is supposed to have, he has in this life. His status and existence is substantive and real. It recognises that man has inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights. He has all these rights because he is born as man. He is a member of human family. They are not given, bestowed and granted by any other external authority. Man himself is the source of these rights.
Basic beliefs and postulates about man are:
(i) All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights;
(ii) They are endowed with reason and conscience;
(iii) They should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood being members of human family; and
(iv) Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
It is the basic assumption of the United Nations Organization (UNO) that these rights are ‘the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’ (Preamble). They would lead to promote social progress and better standards of life of men and women in larger freedom. A common understanding of these rights and freedoms would promote the development of friendly relations between nations and their cooperation with the United Nations.
These rights have some very special features. They are closely connected with freedoms and their goal is enjoyment of life. One has to enjoy them at his own will. Only in this way, they promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedoms. There is no hierarchy, stratification, privileges or immunities in the possession of these rights.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. It does not accept any distinction made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty. This position has universal recognition and is supported by international force. All these rights can be put into categories.
1. Right to Life:
It can be elaborated positively as:
(i) Right to life, liberty and security of person, and negatively as
(ii) Total rejection of slavery in any form;
(iii) Total discarding of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, and
(iv) Denial of any arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
2. Right to Equality:
It speaks of all persons as equal before the law. They are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of these rights.
3. Right to Justice:
The UDHR gives guarantee to free, fair and impartial justice:
(i) It entitles everyone in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal in all legal matters;
(ii) Everyone charged with a penal offence is given the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law;
(iii) There has to be a public trial at which every person has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence;
(iv) For holding a person guilty of any penal offence, it is necessary that the said offence constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed;
(v) It is further stated that the penalty imposed must be in force at the time offence was committed.
4. Right to Non-interference:
Every person has been granted protection from arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, or to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
5. Right to Freedom of Movement, Residence, and Nationality:
The UDHR confirms that everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. A person cannot be discriminated or confined in his own country. Another very important right it has granted to individuals is the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. A similar right to persons is to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. However, this right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. In practice, it is severely limited almost everywhere.
Everyone, under the Human Rights, has the right to a claim nationality. It means no one can be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality. An individual can assert, be a renegade or adopt any particular nationality.
6. Social Rights:
Among these rights is the right to marry and to found a family without any restriction of race, nationality or religion. Men and women are given equal rights as to marriage, living in marriage and its dissolution. It further explains that marriage has to happen only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. This right makes a new and unusual declaration that “(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”
Another tool in the hands of the individual is that everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one can be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
7. Right to Freedom of Expression, Assembly and Association:
Enjoying freedom of speech and belief has been proclaimed as one of the highest aspiration of the common people. For this, the Declaration grants that everyone will have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
It makes no mention of compulsion or violence in matters of religion. Apart from religion everyone has been given the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. This right has been given a concrete form by granting right to everyone to organise peaceful assembly and association. However, no one can be compelled against his will to belong to an association.
8. Right to Economic Security and Cultural Protection:
These rights are indispensable for a person’s dignity and the free development of his personality. For this, everyone has been given the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. At par with it, everyone, without any discrimination, also has the right to equal pay for equal work.
The UN community desires that everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration. It should ensure for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. However, everyone also has the right to rest and leisure. For this his working hours should be reasonably limited and he should have periodic holidays with pay. In order to make this right a concrete reality all have been given the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of their interests.
However, all these rights are not mercy or pity shown to persons in the way the employer likes at will. The latter has to see that every person enjoys the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.
One has to have the right to social security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. The states of motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, even if they are born in or out of wedlock, should enjoy the same social protection.
9. Right to Compulsory and Humanist Education and Knowledge:
To equip a person mentally and morally with education everyone shall enjoy the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Parents are given a prior right to choose the kind of education that would be given to their children.
Technical and professional education are to be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. The goal of education would be the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It would promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups. In this way, it would work for the maintenance of peace.
In the field of culture, everyone will have the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. A persons has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
10. Right to Participation in Governance:
It is the most important right granted by the UN. It is the right to make and unmake one’s fate to participate in governance. Accordingly, every person is given the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.” At the level of administration, everyone has the right of equal access to public services in his country. Thus, they have been given the right to realise a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration are fully realised.