“To deny people their human rights is tochallenge their very humanity.” – Nelson MandelaHumanbeings are unique, and need to be respected in their uniqueness. It is thedemand of human dignity that a person’s individuality and uniqueness areconserved. It basically implies that if a person cannot grow and develop as anindividual, then there has been an attack on his humanity.Thereare ancient texts in the different religions which talk about the sanctity ofhuman rights.
In Hinduism, the ancient text of Mahabharata talks about human rights in the form of adhikaar (rights). Theconcept of human rights as seen in the Judeo-Christian tradition is by thestate of grace that gives all human beings inherent worth.Itwas during the era of renaissance humanism that the concept of modern humanrights came into existence. The civil wars of 18th century Englandand the European war of religion gave rise to the thought of liberalism and itbecame the centerpiece in Europe during the Age of Enlightenment. The idea of’human rights’ though, can find its roots in the French1 and American revolution.It is an irony that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a consequenceof the II World War.
Allhuman beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowedwith reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit ofbrotherhood.2Human rights are the rights a person has simply because he or she is a humanbeing.3″Human rights recognize the inherent value of each person, regardless ofbackground, where we live, what we look like, what we think or what we believe.They are based on principle of dignity, equality and mutual respect, which areshared across cultures, religions and philosophies. They are about beingtreated fairly, treating others fairly and having the ability to make genuinechoices in our daily lives.”4 HUMANRIGHTS IN INDIAHumanrights in India is a complex issue. Its complexity arises out of its tremendousdiversity, its large size and its status as a developing nation.
Fundamentalrights are guaranteed to the citizens of India which includes the freedom ofreligion. The country has bodies to look into issues of human rights as well aguardian in the form of an independent judiciary. Eventhough all these competent authorities have been created with a view to curb humanrights violations in India , the 2016 report of Human Rights Watch states thatIndia has some “serious human rights concerns”.5 Between2010 and 2015, 591 people died in police custody.6 Government critics facelawsuits and intimidation and civil society groups face harassment. Freedom ofspeech has also been restricted unjustifiably. It is the duty of every nationto safeguard the basic human rights of its citizens. India has a long way to go,to achieve human rights in its truest sense.
Universality:The essence of human rightsTheterm ‘Human Rights’ suggests the rights of all human beings anywhere anyanytime.7 The present day chiefarticulation of human rights, the UDHR claims and prescribes universality. Thismeans that a human right is available to every human being irrespective of hisrace, religion, nationality etc. though there might be restrictions to theparticular right such as in the case of prisoners.HumanRights to the incarcerated1.
Conceptof prisonThe OnlineMerriam-Webster English dictionary defines prison as, “A place of confinementespecially for lawbreakers; specifically : an institution (such asone under state jurisdiction) for confinement of persons convicted of seriouscrimes.” 8 Any gaol or place usedpermanently or temporarily under the orders of a state government for detentionof prisoners, under section 417 of Cr.P.C, 1973.9 A person who has been putin confinement in a prison is called a prisoner.
A prisoner can also be calledan inmate deprived of his liberty. In India, “Prison” comes under State Subjectin List II of the seventh schedule to the constitution of India. Thus, theprimary authority and responsibility to change the rules and regulationsassociated with prisons lies with the State Government.Non-violence, mutualrespect and human dignity are the three pillars upon which the Indian socio-legalsystem is based. Even after committing a crime, a person does not per say stopbeing a human and the Government has a duty to safeguard his dignity andrights.2. Internationalguidelines and obligations 1 France:Declaration of the Right of Man and the Citizen , 26 August 1789, available at:http://www.
refworld.org/docid/3ae6b52410.html accessed 16 January 20182Art 1, UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights,10 December 1948, 217 A (III), available at:http://www.
refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3712c.html accessed 16 January 20183 Adapted from Pam Costain,”Moving the Agenda Forward,” Connection to the Americas 14.8 (October1997): 4.
Human RightsEducators’ NetworkAmnestyInternational USAHumanRights Resource CenterISBN0-929293-39-8FirstEdition, 1998; Second Printing, 19994 Australian Human Rights Commission5 6 Accordingto the National Crime Records Bureau, between 2010 and 2015, 591 people died inpolice custody.7 JOURNALARTICLEThe Universality of the Concept of Human RightsLouis HenkinThe Annals of the American Academy of Political andSocial ScienceVol. 506, Human Rights around the World (Nov., 1989),pp.
10-16Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. inassociation with the AmericanAcademy of Political and Social ScienceStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1046650Page Count: 7 8 MerriamWebster 9MODEL PRISON MANUALFOR THESUPERINTENDENCE ANDMANAGEMENTOFPRISONS IN INDIA