Human Rights: A Political-Moral Idea & Kashmir

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The present age is described as the “age of rights” and human rights as the “only political-moral idea that has received universal acceptance.” The codification of international law relating to human rights ranks as some of the most signal (noteworthy) achievements of man in the twentieth century. Founded on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which Henry Steiner has described as the “spiritual parents of other human rights treaties, human rights law is now an indispensable part of the international landscape. The holy Quran and Sunnah lay a great stress on the maintenance of human rights and make it essential obligation for an Islamic government to maintain the system of justice in the society. A fair, just and independent judicial system is the only safeguard of the citizens from tyranny and cruelty on the part of the state machinery or powerful sect of the state. The doctrine of might is right is an outdated concept and has no place in welfare state as the power of state is standing behind every one to protect him from any kind of aggression of any one.

Human rights do not, of course, negate the sovereignty of states, although they constrain it in important ways. International law does not replace national law; rather, international law instructs sovereign states on internationally accepted human rights and, for the most part, leaves it to states to implement those norms domestically. However, for such an important development, there is a fair degree of ambiguity about the definition or concept of human rights. It means different things to different people. Even within a single society the phrase conjures up (evoke) different images, some truly apocalyptic (prophetic, revelatory_ serving to reveal), to different people depending on their political, cultural and religious suasion (formal persuasion as opposed to force).

The Basis of Human Rights:

Essentially, human rights are about justice. Human rights are also about humans, both in the individual and the collective sense. Human are the rights, which accrue to human being by virtue of what he is. These are standards of permitted and forbidden actions in a society which are consonant with justice, goodness, or reason. Such standards are morally or socially correct and held to be justifiably claimed by any person.

The Western tradition traces the roots of the concept of human rights to the late eighteenth century developments in the United States and Europe, particularly France. The French revolution resoundingly (unmistakably; emphatically) proclaimed the slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity (brotherhood) in the declaration of the rights of the citizen and man. The constitution of the newly founded United States of America echoed the same sentiments. The subsequent period was marked by tremendous progress, human and material, in Europe and North America. The populations became enfranchised. Barriers between sexes were gradually dismantled (demolish) though genuine equality is still a far way off. The Second World War sowed the seed for the present shapes of the international human rights movements.

The present edifice (building, conceptual structure) of the international human rights system rests on the foundation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is brief document and if examined objectively not a very impressive one. However, over the years it has the bedrock of the international human rights regime. The reason is that it has been owned by nations across the world and can be said to represent the aspirations of all peoples of the world. The UN General Assembly adopted it on 10th December, 1948.

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS 1948:

Almost every nation of the world has adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signifies for human respect and dignity. The whole world commemorates the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. This declaration lays stress on every government of the world to create a society free of human sufferings, deprivations and miseries by envisaging the policies which may eliminate injustice, poverty from the society. According to the declaration, every government must establish rule of law and guarantees fundamental rights to all the citizens.  This declaration speaks loudly about the common standards of freedom of speech, liberty, life, respect, nationality, right of equal pay for equal work for everyone, equality before law, etc for everyone in the world without any discrimination of cast, creed, colour, religion etc.

The Last Sermon of the Holy Prophet:

The last sermon of the holy prophet (Pbuh) is undoubtedly the first and foremost declaration of human rights, given to mankind 1400 years ago. Khutba Hajja-tul-Wida is one of the most important occasions in the history of Islam. The holy prophet clearly negated all kinds of human discriminations on the basis of cast, creed, tribe etc.

He said:  “O’ people, Allah has created you from one male and one female and made you into tribes and nations, so as to be known to one another. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for the white over the black nor for the black over the white except in God-consciousness.”

The Condition of Human Rights in the World:

The world is divided into two kinds of human beings i.e. those who have complete human rights on one hand and on the other, those who have been denied of any kind of human rights. The UN’s FAO is warning that 27 sub-Saharan countries now need help. It is African agriculture that is in crisis, and according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, has left 200 million people malnourished.

The Human Rights Situation in Kashmir:

The human rights situation in Kashmir, if the reports international and domestic human rights NGOs, the international and domestic press, and the documentation of the UN human rights mechanism are to be believed, is extremely serious. All human rights are alleged (claimed) to be violated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with impunity (without having to suffer the normal injurious consequences (of an action).

Here it is pertinent to point out that a crime committed by one citizen against another, strictly speaking, is not a human rights violation. It becomes a human rights violation when the state or agents of the state deliberately do not take action to correct the wrong or allow the perpetrator (perpetrate = execute) to go free or to avoid justice. A true human rights violation is one in which the rights of the citizens are violated by the state or the agents of the state or by persons commissioned by the agents of the state.

Depending on how one sees the issues; the biggest human rights violation in Jammu and Kashmir are the denial by the state of the rights of citizens of right to self-determination. To suppress this basic right of the people of Kashmir, the Indian state is guilty of a grave rights violation. 

Right to education is a distinct dream for the children of Kashmir when the basic right that is the right to live stands violated.

The state has been witnessing conflict ever since the dominions of India and Pakistan were created in 1947. Ever since 1947 , countless Kashmiris have been killed and maimed by the state forces. Kashmir has been turned into highest militarized zone in the world.

Taking cover under draconian laws like the AFSPA , Public Safety Act has further aggravated the situation. Conflict has traumatised the entire population as it refuses to go due to intransigence or incompetence of the politicians at the helm of affairs.     

 Conclusion

The expansion of international human rights law has often not been matched by practice. Yet, there is growing consensus that the protection of human rights is important for the resolution of conflict and for the rebuilding process afterward. To achieve these goals, the international community has identified a number of mechanisms both to bring an end to human rights abuses and to establish an environment in which they will be respected in the future. They are not alternatives, but each provides important benefits in dealing with the past and envisioning (visualize) a brighter future. In Kashmir , if both India and Pakistan give the people of Kashmir the right to choose their destiny , it would definitely reduce human rights violation in our state.

 

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