Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to all human beings in the world, from birth until death irrespective of their nationality, race, caste, creed, gender, etc. all individuals enjoy the same human rights without any discrimination. They can never be taken away, although they can sometimes be restricted, for example- if a person breaks the law or national securities. Human rights include those rights which are basic to real life. The basic Human rights are Right to life, Right to Dignity, Right to fairness, Right to equality, Right to respect, Right to independence. Human rights have worldwide acceptance.
According to Section 2(d) of the protection of the Human Rights Act, 1993
"Human rights" means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality, and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by Courts in India.
“International Covenants” mean the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenants on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights adopted by General Assembly of the United Nations on 16th December 1966.
Objects of Human Rights
-To protect human being
-To develop individual self- respect
-To value human dignity
-To promote respect, understanding, and appreciation of diversity
-To promote democracy, social justice, and friendship among people and nations.
Characteristics of Human Rights
1] Universal 2] Inherent 3] Inalienable 4] Fundamental 5] Interdependent 6] Inseparable
7] Imprescriptible 8] Interrelated 9] Justiciable.
Sources of Human Rights
2] International treaties and covenants
3] International Customs
4] Judicial Decisions
5] Official Documents
Generations of Human Rights
1] Civil and Political Rights - includes the Right to life, liberty, privacy, freedom from torture and inhuman treatment, etc.
2] Economic and Social Rights - includes food, clothes, house, the standard of living, etc.
3] Collective Rights – includes the Right to self-determination, peace, and development, etc.
Collective Rights/ Third generation Human rights
-These are also known as Solidarity Human Rights, they are rights that try to go beyond the framework of individual rights to focus on collective concepts, such as community or people.
-These are dynamic rights.
-Green rights (Right to access clean water, clean air, i.e. right to live in a favorable environment, where he/she can live without any damage to health).
-Linked to the value of fraternity.
Third Generation/ Collective Rights are also known as group rights. These are the rights that belong to all people so that members of all groups may be benefitted. These are the rights that are not exercised by an individual alone.
The concept of collective rights emerged because individual human rights do not guarantee adequate protection for indigenous people. It also guarantees the development and preservation of minorities and the form of organization.
Various kinds of Collective Rights
Right to Development – The term development encompasses the development of Economic, Social, Cultural, and Political processes for the development of the personality of the human being. The declaration of the right to development was adopted by the general assembly in 1986.
Right of Self-determination – Right of self-determination is a collective human right which is beneficial to all the groups and all individuals of the territory. Although International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural rights have laid down in identical words Right of self-determination as a human right by stating that ‘All people have the Right of self-determination’.
Right to Safe Environment –Change in physical and biological conditions in the environment is called pollution of the environment. Pollution affects adversely the quality of human life, as well as animals plants and industries.
M.C Mehta v, Union of India
M.C Mehta filed a Public Interest Litigation for the escape of poisonous gases by the plant in Bhopal. The Court in this case extended the scope of Article 21 and 32 of the Constitution of India. This case is famous as the Bhopal gas tragedy.
Here the petition was not individualist but are shared widely by a large number of people
Vishakha and others v. State of Rajasthan
Vishaka and other women's groups filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the state of Rajasthan and the central government of India to enforce the fundamental rights of working women under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The petition was filed after Bhanwari Devi, a social worker in Rajasthan was brutally gang-raped for stopping child marriage.
The court decided that the consideration of "International Conventions and norms are significant for the interpretation of the guarantee of gender equality, right to work with human dignity in Articles 14, 15, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution and the safeguards against sexual harassment implicit therein." The petition resulted in what is popularly known as the Vishaka Guidelines.
Human rights are vital for the existence and development of people. It helps to create a better environment and better living conditions for people as well as preserve their dignity. These rights are for the welfare and safeguard of every individual.
Collective rights came forward for the group of people, society, and community for the development. It was created to promote public interest such as peace, a clean environment, and implies a global understanding of mankind. These rights are collectively benefitted to the individual. Although it talks about a group of people but is beneficial for the individual.
 1987 AIR 1086, 1987 SCR (1) 819
 (1997) 6 SCC 241
Author: YUKTI CHORDIYA
BACL(Main Branch), Nagpur
LEGALEAGLE LAW FORUM