“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.”
― Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
Ever since the political and economic systems started becoming complex, people around the globe have gradually enacted laws and developed rules & regulations that would protect the basic human rights of individuals. However, the recognition of human rights is not new and has existed since the ancient times. The evidence of protection of human rights can be found in one form or other in religious, political, social and philosophical texts. Basic human rights means that humans are entitled to some fundamental rights, irrespective of the age, sex, ethnicity, religion, colour, caste, creed, race and language. They are the same everywhere in the world and governments and international community are incumbent upon to guarantee them in all circumstances.
“Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
In modern day, the protection of human rights is expressed, ensured and guaranteed by law, in the form of local and international treaties, customary International law and general principles. The best comprehensive document on protection of human rights is Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), proclaimed by the United National General Assembly in Paris on 10th December, 1948. This is a milestone in the history of struggle and achievement of human rights; proclaimed after the Second World War with a commitment of using this document as standards to ensure basic rights of humans in all parts of world. This documents sets out the fundamental rights to be universally protected and holds a legal value for everyone including governments, organizations and international community around the world. In commemoration of the proclamation of fundamental human rights through UDHR, 10th December is celebrated as World Human Rights Day.
Besides, there are other Protocols: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, setting forth the principles for the protection of specific rights in the political and social lives of individuals.
“…in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can be achieved only if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights.”
For Muslims, Quran is primary sources, the Magna Carta, guiding the individual, social, political, economic and cultural rights of the human beings.
“Whosoever kills a human being without (any reason like) man slaughter, or corruption on earth, it is as though he had killed all mankind.” 5:32 – Quran
So, the basic human rights include rights of the humans to life, peace, safety of life (not to harm or get harmed; not to threat anyone’s freedom or basic rights), basic standards of living, justice, equality and indiscrimination, education, freedom of expression, protection against slavery, protection against torture, inhumane treatment or punishment; protection against arbitrary arrest, detention or exile; and to the impartial hearing for justice.
The preamble of UDHR explicitly states that freedom of all human beings is ensured only through the “recognition of the inherent dignity”, and “of equal and inalienable rights” of all human beings and guarantees justice, and peace in the world. That said, violation of any of the above rights (and including others as espoused in the UDHR) leads to threatening of peace and freedom of all human beings. Here, it is worthy to mention that women rights also come under the basic rights of human beings, and must be treated as such.
As the world is witnessing horrors of wars and violation of human rights in different parts of the world, the need for peace and upholding the principles of fundamental rights has become ever more important. Pakistan is also victim of external wars and internal rife. The educated youth of Pakistan through ‘peace education’ and awareness of fundamental human rights can play the role of change agents. The purpose of this article has been to inform the audience about the relevant laws and make it an outlet of information to recognize the freedoms and rights of all individuals across the globe.
NAYS Pakistan is fully committed to promote awareness and education, not only in Science but in every area pertinent to human welfare and safety. NAYS family seeks to invoke significance of protection of human rights today and strives to make the world a better and safer place to live.
We wish this planet to become a place, where rights of every human being are safeguarded and secure.
Article Compiled by: Sana Shoaib
Banner: Zainab Waseem Shaikh