Define human rights? What are the characteristics of human rights?

A1: (a) It is very difficult to the express “human rights”. This is because states differ in cultural background, legal systems and economic, social and political conditions. However we can say that the rights that all people have because of their humanity are human rights.

Human Rights are rational beings. They possess certain basic rights. These rights are commonly known as human rights. There are the rights that no one can be deprived of without doing him great injustice. Durga Das Basu brings out the essence of human rights. He defines human rights which every individual must have against the state or other public authority by virtue of him being a member of human family, irrespective of any other consideration.

(b) Characteristics of human rights

1. For Individuals
Human rights belong to an individual because of his very existence. They are inherited by all individuals irrespective of their cast, religion, sex and nationality.

2. Essential and Necessary
These rights are essential for all individuals. In their absence, physical, moral, social and spiritual welfare is impossible. They are also necessary because they provide suitable conditions for moral upliftment of the people.

3. Connection with human dignity.
The idea of human rights is bound with the idea of human dignity. Thus all those rights which are essential for the maintenance of human dignity maybe called human rights.

4. Irrevocable
 Human rights are irrevocable. They cannot be taken away by any power or authority. They belong to a person simply because he is a human being

5. Necessary for fulfillment of purpose of life
Human life has a purpose. The term ‘Human Rights’ is applied to those conditions which are essential for the fulfillment of this purpose
Since rights are bound with the purpose of human life. No government has the power to curtail or take away these rights.

6. Universal
 Human Rights belong to each and every one of us. The values which form the basis of those rights are inherent in human nature.



7. Rights not Absolute
Each right carries with it some special duties and responsibilities. So each right is subject to certain limitations. These limitations may arise due to the need for:
·                 Respecting the rights of others
·                 Protecting National Security
·                 Maintaining public order
·                 Safeguarding public health

8. Dynamics
They are dynamic in nature. As societies change, rights also undergo changes. Judges have to interpret laws in such ways that they are in tune with the changed social values.

9. Rights have limits to the states power

Human rights imply that every individual has legitimate claims upon his or her society for certain freedoms and benefits. So Human Rights limit the states power. For example, 6 freedoms that are given under the ‘Rights to Liberty’ forbid the state from interfering with the individual.