The rights that human being must enjoy on this earth since he\ she is human being. Although the foundation of human rights was laid in the 13th century when resistance to religious intolerance, socio-economic restrains and scientific dogma resulted in some revolts mainly due to the liberal thoughts of some philosophers.
However, true hopes for all people for happy, dignified and secure living conditions were raised with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) by the UNO on December 18, 1984 this declaration provided comprehensive protection to all individuals against all forms of injustice and human rights violation.
The UNDHR defines specific rights-civil, political, economic, social as well as cultural, it defines the rights to life, liberty, security, fair trial by law, freedom of thought, expression, conscience, association and freedom of movement. It emphasizes right to equal pay for equal work, right to form and join trade unions, right to health care education, adequate rest etc.
Although, the human rights are considered to be universal, there is a wide disparity between the developing and the developed countries. Population and poverty are often found to be the most important causes of violation of human rights in the third world countries. Poverty often undermines human rights in the third world countries.
Poverty often undermines human dignity and without dignity there is no meaning of human right. The World Health Organization estimates indicate that one out of every five person in this world is malnourished, lacks clean drinking water and lacks proper hygienic conditions and adequate health facilities.
One out of three person does not have enough fuel to cook or keep warm and one out of five person is desperately poor for whom life is nothing but struggle for survival. Every year 40 million people are dying due to consumption of contaminated drinking water. There is acute scarcity of employment in the third world countries.
Under such conditions, a poor man feels that a child can earn something for himself or the family. For him the merit of universal education and child labour prevention is of much less importance than his grim struggle for existence.
For the developed countries, which have attained a high stage of development in material and economic resources, the social and economic rights are not that important as civil and political rights. Whereas, the reverse is true for developing countries which are struggling for life under conditions of extreme poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, malnutrition and diseases.
In June 1993, during the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights the need for economic and social rights were considered as equal to the west’s political and civil rights. In 1992 the Burton Bill passed in USA slashed 24 million dollars of development assistance to some developing countries including India on the grounds of showing poor human rights records.
In India, human right issues have mostly centered on slavery, bonded labour, women subordination, custodial deaths, violence against women and minorities, child abuse, dowry deaths, mass killings of davits, torture, arbitrary detentions, etc. The constitution of India contains a long list of people’s, civil, political, economic and social rights for improving their life.
Yet, it is an irony that violation of human rights takes place rather too often in our country. Social discriminations, untouchability, patriarchal society with male domination still prevail in the society which hinders the honor of human rights. Civil liberties and fundamental freedom are also often violated by those who have money power.
Communal violence against minorities has become quite prevalent in our country. There is a need to respect the human rights of all people in every nation for overall development and peace.
After the Earth summit 1992, the need for sustainable development was recognized. Soon after on May 16, 1994 at Geneva, the United Nations drafted the first ever declaration of Human Rights and Environment, which embodies the right of every human being to a healthy, secure and ecologically sound environment.
A sustainable society, affirms equity, security, attainment of basic human needs and environmental justice to all.It is quite disheartening to look at the environmental inequities.
The developed nations utilizing most of the natural resources and reaping the benefits of industrial development are not bearing the burden of their hazardous wastes, as they export such wastes to many developing countries that have to face the toxic impacts of the hazardous wastes.
The worker class and the poor are the main victims and sufferers of adverse effects of industrial toxins, fowl smelling, polluting air, unclean and unsafe drinking water, unhealthy working conditions, occupational health hazards etc. The tribal people are the worst victims of development who lose their homes and lands to dams and reservoirs and are deprived of human rights to natural homes.