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Submitted by Rohini Kamble

I] Introduction

Earlier the International Law was solely concerned with states as they were treated as subjects of International law on the other hand individuals were mere objects. But this position of individuals changed completely after World War II. Thereafter, individuals were also regarded as real subjects of International Law.

II] Meaning and Spread of Human Rights.

The term "Human Rights" is recent in origin. It has been recognised only after formation of United Nations in 1945. One of the basic principle objects of the United Nation charter is, reaffirm its faith in fundamental Human Rights, in the dignity and worth of human person, in the equal rights of men and women and nations large and small. The term "Human Rights" denotes all those rights which are inherent in their nature and without which we cannot live as human beings. When Human Rights are guaranteed by a written constitution they are called as "Fundamental Rights" as a written constitution is a fundamental law of a state. Such rights are not created by any legislature. It is generally agreed that the origin of the concept of "Human Rights" are found in Greek-Roman natural law doctrines of Stoicism.

III] Development of Human Rights.

The milestone in the development of Human Rights was the Petition of rights(1628) by the English Parliament. The Petition of rights initiated by sir Edward Coke, was based upon earlier statutes and charters asserted 4 principles:
i) No tax may be levied without the consent of the parliament.
ii) No subject may be imprisoned without cause shown.
iii) No soldiers may be quartered upon the citizens.
iv) Martial law may not be used in time of peace.
Then comes Holmes and Locke. According to them,"The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth." Further significant stages in the development of Human Rights were; the United States declaration of Independence (1776), Constitution of USA (1787) and the Bill of Rights (1791), The French Revolution ; Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789). It was followed by the first Geneva Conventon (1864), wherein, the foundation of International Committee of the Red Cross. The 1864 Lieber Code laid the foundation of International Humanitarian Law.

IV] The United Nations (1945).

After the World War II, in April 1945, the delegates from 50 countries met at San Francisco and agreed to create a new body the United Nation in order to promote peace and prevent future wars. The preamble of its proposed charter read, "We the people of UN are determined to save succeeding generation from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to man kind".

V] The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

The UN failed to incorporate the Human Rights in its Charter, it was therefore realised by the members that it should be an obligation of the International Community to promote Human Rights. By 1948, a new Human Rights Commission set out to draft the document that become the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The preamble of the Declaration provides, a recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the Human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Article 1 of the Declaration says, "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. The first two articles included the basic principles of dignity, liberty, equality and brotherhood. The final three articles place right in the context of limits, duties and social and political order. The member states of the UN pledged to work together to promote the 30 articles of Human Rights that for the first time in history, had been assembled and codified into a single document.

VI] Generations of Human Rights:


(i) First Generation of Human Rights:

The first generation is the 'oldest' of all universal Human Rights. The Civil and Political rights are related to the first generation. The rights listed in the group of personal rights are;
the right to personal immunity (freedom from illegal arrests),
the right to private life protection,
the freedom of speech,
and freedom religion etc.
The political ones are,
right to suffrage and to be elected,
right to state admistration etc.
These rights are developed since the time of Greek City states.
The nature of Civil and Political rights may be different but they are inter-related and interwoven, this reason lead to the formulation of one Covenant covering both these rights and i.e.International Covenant on Civil and Political righhts.(1966).
These rights of first generation are derived from the 17th and 18th century reformist theories which are associated with the English, American and French Revolution.

(ii) Second Generation of Human Rights:

The rights of the second generation are the social and economic rights and freedom of the Individual (along with cultural ones). These rights are considered to be originated from the Russian Revolution of 1917. Rights included in this category are right to adequate food, clothing, housing and adequate standard of living and freedom from hunger, right to work, right to social security, right to physical and mental health and right to education. All these are based on social quality. The right to work, freedom of choice of work, rest and leisure, sufficient salary level, the right to social assistance, professional and other social and economic rights become requirement of economic manifestations. The preamble of the International Covenant says, "The ideal free human beings enjoying freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his economic,social and cultural rights, as well as his civil and political rights.

(iii) Third Generation of Human Rights:

According to Louis.B Sohn, "Individuals are also members of such units, groups or communities as a family, religious community, social club, trade union, professional association etc. International law not only recognizes inalienable rights of individuals, but also recognizes certain collective right exercised jointly by individuals. The 3rd generation includes rights of minorities, the rights of nations, the right to development, the right to peace, etc. The United Nations commission of Human Rights has asserted in 1976 that, "everyone has the right to live in condition of international peace and civil security and fully to enjoy economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights.

Submitted by Rohini Kamble

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