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Human Rights

A member of the Homo sapiens species; a man, woman or child; a person.

Things to which you are entitled or allowed; freedoms that are guaranteed.

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. Human rights are based on the principle of respect for the individual. Their fundamental assumption is that each person is a moral and rational being who deserves to be treated with dignity. They are called human rights because they are universal.

Whereas nations or specialized groups enjoy specific rights that apply only to them, human rights are the rights to which everyone is entitled—no matter who they are or where they live—simply because they are alive. Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the forms of treaties, customary international law, general principles and other sources of international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of Governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups.

Human rights are universal and inalienable; indivisible; interdependent and interrelated. They are universal because everyone is born with and possesses the same rights, regardless of where they live, their gender or race, or their religious, cultural or ethnic background. Inalienable because people’s rights can never be taken away. Indivisible and interdependent because all rights – political, civil, social, cultural and economic – are equal in importance and none can be fully enjoyed without the others. They apply to all equally, and all have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives. They are upheld by the rule of law and strengthened through legitimate claims for duty-bearers to be accountable to international standards.

Simplified Version

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been created especially for young people.

  1. We are all born free and equal. We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated in the same way.
  2. Don’t discriminate. These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences.
  3. The right to life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety.
  4. No slavery. Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make anyone our slave.
  5. No torture. Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us.
  6. You have rights no matter where you go. I am a person just like you!
  7. We’re all equal before the law. The law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly.
  8. Your human rights are protected The right to trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do.by law. We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly.
  9. No unfair detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in prison without good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country.
  10. The right to trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do.
  11. We’re always innocent till proven guilty. Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. When people say we did a bad thing we have the right to show it is not true.
  12. The right to privacy. Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters, or bother us or our family without a good reason.
  13. Freedom to move. We all have the right to go where we want in our own country and to travel as we wish.
  14. The right to seek a safe place to live. If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to run away to another country to be safe.
  15. Right to a nationality. We all have the right to belong to a country.
  16. Marriage and family. Every grown-up has the right to marry and have a family if they want to. Men and women have the same rights when they are married, and when they are separated.
  17. The right to your own things. Everyone has the right to own things or share them. Nobody should take our things from us without a good reason.
  18. Freedom of religion.We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want.
  19. Freedom of expression. We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people.
  20. The right to public assembly. We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join a group if we don’t want to.
  21. The right to democracy. We all have the right to take part in the government of our country. Every grown-up should be allowed to choose their own leaders.
  22. Social security. We all have the right to affordable housing, medicine, education, and childcare, enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill or old.
  23. Workers’ rights. Every grown-up has the right to do a job, to a fair wage for their work, and to join a trade union.
  24. The right to play. We all have the right to rest from work and to relax.
  25. Food and shelter for all. We all have the right to a good life. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to be cared for.
  26. The right to education. Education is a right. Primary school should be free. We should learn about the United Nations and how to get on with others. Our parents can choose what we learn.
  27. Copyright. Copyright is a special law that protects one’s own artistic creations and writings; others cannot make copies without permission. We all have the right to our own way of life and to enjoy the good things that art, science and learning bring.
  28. A Fair and free world. There must be proper order so we can all enjoy rights and freedoms in our own country and all over the world.
  29. Responsibility. We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms.
  30. No one can take away your human rights.

Although ideas of rights and liberty have existed in some form for much of human history, they do not resemble the modern conception of human rights. According to Jack Donnelly, in the ancient world, “traditional societies typically have had elaborate systems of duties… conceptions of justice, political legitimacy, and human flourishing that sought to realize human dignity, flourishing, or well-being entirely independent of human rights. These institutions and practices are alternative to, rather than different formulations of, human rights”.

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Latest News

  • Include human rights in school curriculum: Activist

  • Winner of Human Rights Award of Amnesty International – Germany, Henry Tiphagne on Friday stressed the importance of introducing human rights education in schools as a step towards building egalitarian society.

    He was addressing a two-day orientation programme on human rights education for principals in Puducherry organised by the Institute of Human Rights Education (IHRE), Tamil Nadu, and Holistic Approach for People’s Empowerment (HOPE).

    Both the organisations teamed up to impart human rights education to school students in Puducherry.

    “In 2004, we had proposed to introduce human rights education in schools in Puducherry. However, the Education Department wanted to make changes in the basic content stating that caste system does not exist in Puducherry. We did not agree to this and the programme was not implemented,” said Mr. Tiphagne.

    The Executive Director of People’s Watch also said that they were coming back after 10 years to Puducherry to introduce human rights education. This time, interested schools have volunteered to teach human rights in their institutions.

    Human rights education is being taught in around 3,900 schools in 15 States owing to the initiatives taken by the IHRE, Tamil Nadu, and local partners in each State. The programme covers 4,525 trained teachers in 3,909 schools involving 3,15,494 children.

    P. Joseph Victor Raj, director, HOPE, said human rights classes would be taken for the Standard VI students.

    In Puducherry, nearly 12 schools have volunteered to teach human rights to their students. The teachers selected and recommended by the principals or headmasters would be trained by IHRE team during a three-day residential programme in June. There are three modules for human rights education. It would be taught two hours a week, mostly during moral instruction class. Each student would be provided a handbook of human rights education module. The programme would be implemented without any financial obligation to the government or the management. “The aim is to inculcate in children basic human rights principles such as equality, non-discrimination and diversity, while affirming their interdependence, indivisibility and universality. The school principals or headmasters who are interested to introduce this in their schools can approach us,” Mr.Victor Raj said.

    Mr. Tiphagne said, “the antidote to untouchability and caste system is in imparting equality through education. We cannot compromise on the content of human rights education texts. Human rights education can never be neutral. It has to always take sides with the affected people, and those whose rights are violated.”

    M. Ramdass, former MP, and S. Kamalini, former chairperson Women’s Commission, were present.

  • Human Rights Defenders Alert

  • Condemning the brutal murder of RTI activist Javantraj Parasmal, the Human Rights Defenders Alert - India (HRDA) appealed to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to ensure an independent investigation of the incident.

    In a statement, the organisation said Mr. Parasmal had used the RTI Act to expose corruption in government offices in matters related to construction and unauthorised power supply connections. He had obtained incriminating documents about illegal construction and used them in courts and the State Information Commission and as a result, demolition orders hed been given to two buildings in the past.

    ‘Creating fear’

    “HRDA views this murder as an attack on a human rights defender in order to create fear among other RTI activists and silence them. The NHRC should act and put an end to attacks on RTI activists in Tamil Nadu. HRDA also urges the NHRC to order an independent and effective investigation into the incident and to initiate proceedings as per the law of the land,” the statement said.

    “There were three or four attacks on him earlier. But that didn’t deter him from continuing his work,” said Vadilalji Parasmal, a relative. Javantraj was hacked to death by an armed gang in Baker’s Street at Periamet on Tuesday. “He had exposed several wrongdoings with his RTI petitions. He had nothing to gain out of it, he was well to do himself,” he said. He is survived by his three children and 53-year-old wife Ambika, who returned from Mumbai on Tuesday evening after her treatment for paralysis. “She is in shock. We hope the guilty are punished,” he said.

    Investigating policemen said they were interrogating a few suspects and had also obtained Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage.

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