Human Rights’ issue

ByUmair Jalali

Teaches in The Royal Colosseum and is an avid sports fan


February 5, 2023

Umair Jalali mentions the
deteriorating human rights abuses

It is noted with concern that violations of human rights have become widespread currently. The latest incident of the Police brutally beating Tyre Nicholas, a black American in Memphis, Tennessee who was pulled out of his car as he was minutes away from his home. Curiously the attacking policemen were all black highlighting the point that Human Rights’ issue abuses are carried out without distinction of any kind. It is therefore no surprise to witness the current geo-political scenario wherein tremendous deterioration is taking place in the state of human rights the world over. Respect for human rights and the sanctity associated with the concept and practice appear to be in serious jeopardy and the future in this context also looks bleak. Many observers have expressed concern about the matter and insist that the entire phenomenon is urgently required to be revisited with a view to right the wrongs done to the human beings. This issue is gradually becoming central to the human existence and it is also getting clear that avoiding it further may be at the peril of the humanity as a whole.

In this context what is essentially required to keep in view is that human rights are inherent to all human beings irrespective of nationality, domicile, gender, ethnicity, colour and creed and human beings are to be treated equally and without discrimination. Another important factor is that human rights are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. Human rights are universally guaranteed by all canons of law, various treaties and general principles. It is mandated on all dispensations to take care of the people living under their jurisdictions and they are also bound to promote human rights.

It is a well recognised principle that human rights have universality about them and this principle is enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948 and has since been reiterated in numerous international concordats and has become a common refrain. The 30 articles of the Declaration together form a comprehensive statement covering economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights. The document is both universal and indivisible as it avows that all rights are equally important to the full realisation of one’s humanity. Since after it was proclaimed, it has acquired the status of customary international law because most states treat it as though it were law. It has however been observed that many states have not applied this customary law equally. It is recorded that many countries have emphasised social welfare rights, such as education, jobs, and health care but often have allowed limited political rights of their citizens.

It is also widely known that all nation-states are signatories multiple human rights accords reflecting their consent creating legal obligations for them and giving concrete expression to universality. The spirit of such laws and regulations ensures the inalienability of human rights and that they should not be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. The concept of human rights entails that all human rights are indivisible, whether they are civil and political primarily the right to life, equality before law and freedom of expression; economic, social and cultural rights, social security and education and collective rights. These rights are related intrinsically and cannot be divided in essence and practice. It is also ensured that the improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others and conversely deprivation of one right adversely affects the others.

In the context of ensuring human rights non-discrimination is a cross-cutting principle in international human rights law. The principle is present in all the major human rights treaties and provides the central theme of some of international human rights conventions such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Another matter of equal importance is avoiding discrimination against women. This principle applies to everyone in relation to all human rights and freedoms and prohibits discrimination on the basis of a list of non-exhaustive categories such as sex, race and colour.

It is also imperative to mention that human rights entail both rights and obligations and in consequence states assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfill human rights. The obligation to respect implies that states must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires states to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfill also means that states must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights. This principle is also extended to individual level whereby human beings are entitled to their rights and they are also required to respect the human rights of their fellow-beings. The Israeli outrage should be viewed in this context and efforts should be made to settle this issue once for all for the sake of humanity. TW

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