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Evolution And Interpretation Of International Human Rights With Additional Analysis Of Palestine And Israel Conflict

The following research paper aims at explaining the concept of human rights. The events that led to the formation of the concept and the historical background. The paper further lays down how the concept of human rights gained popularity mainly after the second world war with the formation of the United Nations and the United Nations commission on human rights. The first 5 treaties formulated as steps towards stopping violation of human rights based on race, religion, caste, class, place of birth, ethnicity, nationality, and gender.

Furthermore, the research paper transits into the use of treaties in the international world in Indian case context. The case of Vishakha and others v. The state of Rajasthan, 1997 is explained briefly. The latter part of the research paper consists of the additional analysis of the Palestine and Israel conflict and how it has been a grave violation of human rights and is a matter of concern. In the end a conclusion is drawn on the entire research paper.

International Human Rights as the name suggests are the rights conferred to humans. A human, under whatever circumstances cannot be fully alienated from these rights. In other words, these rights are part and parcel of human existence and every human is born with these rights. These rights are universal to all people irrespective of their race, religion, faith, place of birth, gender, and nationality. The world has seen numerous civil, political, cold, military wars in the past centuries. the reasons, motives, and nature of those wars might be different but there was one commonality in all of them, especially in military and political wars, cruelty against people.

Cruelty in this context does not necessarily define only brutality but various other aspects like deprivation, discrimination, and mistreatment in general. Moreover, whenever there is a situation of war, human rights always get compromised in some or the other way. This research paper elucidates the evolution of Human rights beginning from the inception of human rights, various historical events because of which the concept of human rights gained relevance, the relationship between human rights and the United Nations,

Evolution of International Human Rights

As written and believed by various scholars and human rights students, the inception of human rights is traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. Initially, the term natural law was not very prominent, and only a few ancient Greek philosophers like Aristotle and Plato talked about it. However, both of them did not have specific theories on the subject. while Plato just talked about this concept in some of his theories, Aristotle worked mostly on deriving how law and nature are two different concepts. In 300 BCE another school of thought flourished, Stoicism, found by Zeno of Citium in Athens. This school of thought held that the law of nature is a valuable concept.

According to this school, a man's behaviorshould always be judged according to the law of nature. As the name suggests, the law of nature means the law of God. It was believed that God is the supreme power and he has already set certain norms and regulations for the human race to follow, humans should conduct themselves as per those norms. According to one of the Roman philosophers named Ulpian, Natural law is universal and belongs to both Romans and non-Romans. it is a mixture of law and morals, for a law to be considered valid it needs to hold some morality.

Natural law slowly started to gain popularity and various contributions continued to be made in the field especially during the renaissance and the age of enlightenment. Natural law not only puts a liability on humans to conduct their behaviour as per the prescribed norms of nature, but it is also an asset to them. Natural law provides certain rights to humans. These rights are known as Natural rights. They are universal and are conferred to all humans by birth.

In the 19th century, the downfall of Natural law began because of its constant controversies with another school of thought, legal positivism. This school of thought was developed in the 18th and 19th centuries by legal philosophers like Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Hobbes, and John Austin. Unlike Natural law that confers inherent rights to people, legal positivism is a law that is conferred to people not by nature but by humans themselves through various legislations.

Another difference between the two is that Naturalists believe that Natural law is universal and does not belong to any particular place, whereas, Positivists believe that territorial boundaries matter and legal laws and rights change according to change in political territory throughout the world. In other words, laws and rights are not universal. Legislations have the power to make and amend laws with the evolution of societies, unlike natural laws that cannot be amended and shall remain the same till the time of Earth's existence. Positivists completely rule out the relevancy of morality that is given utmost value in the concept of Natural law.

In the 18th century, came the age of Rennaisance in Europe (with great emphasis on the Glorious revolution in 1688 and French revolution in 1789). During this tenure, people began gaining confidence and consciousness about human nature. It would be appropriate to say that Locke was one of the most important philosophers in the Glorious revolution (1688-89).

he proposed that certain rights existed even before human beings came into existence, these inherent rights will always remain constant till the end of human civilization.

In his writings, he also listed a few fundamental natural rights namely:
  1.  Right to Life
  2. Right to Liberty,
  3. Right to Property.

he further stated that once human enters the civil society, he surrenders himself to the state and its the state's responsibility to confer and protect these rights. When a state fails to confer natural rights to its citizens, it gives rise to a revolution.

Revolutions following the Glorious revolution like the English, American, and French revolutions paved way for revolutionary agitations. in the 19th century, with the abolition of slavery, a new treaty was adopted by the international world. if is closely analyzed then it is not after the world war that the concept of human rights got enrolled in the legal standards. it happened far before that. the first-ever legal standard adopted was by the ILO, established in 1919 under the treaty of Versailles. ILO's primary principle is to protect the rights of the workers and make sure that they are not exploited.

League of Nations and Human Rights

The Positivists believed that a law or norm can be justified only if it has some experiential background that can be verified. By the time World war-I took place, i.e. 1914-1918, the majority of the public were in favor of the positivists and hardly anyone believed in the natural law concept anymore. apart from big and small movements like the Universal suffrage movement, the enlightenment amongst various trade unions, etc, Germany played undoubtedly, the most important role because it was only after the wrath that Hitler had caused, the rise and fall of the Nazi that the concept of Human rights boomed. The hardships caused to people during Hitler's tenure woke people from their sleep.

Various theorists, legal philosophers, and scholars expressed their views in the form of their theories and writings stating that whatever legislation a political regime makes for its citizens might not always be for their welfare and maintenance of discipline in the country and shall not be treated as gospel truth, because, in the context of the Nazi regime, it was seen that all the atrocities and brutalities caused to the people were legal as per the law formulated by the Hitler regime but it was unjust for the people.. therefore, there should always be certain rights that should belong to the citizens no matter what the situation is.

These rights shall never be taken away from them. therefore, if all these events are taken into consideration and a summary is drawn, it would be appropriate to say that it was only by the second half of the 20th century that Human rights as a concept received the due importance it deserved. the League of Nations mostly remained silent on the topic of Human rights. Many countries and their leaders like Japan and the USA (Woodrow Wilson) tried to initiate the concept, be it in the form of asking the allied forces to vote in favor of supporting freedom of religion or the radical equality clause, were not given any support. The league was too afraid to support any 'controversial' or 'radical' ideas of the world fearing any further tensions in the world.

United Nations Organization and Human Rights

The US president, Woodrow Wilson, in his document consisting of 14 points laid down the formation of such an organization that would help redress any dispute that might occur between two nations. This organization was named The League of Nations and it took birth in 1919. Everybody had seen the harmful impact of world war I and how it had drained the participating countries financially, militarily, and politically. Despite such initiative towards protecting the world from another world war, it still took place.

World War II (1st September 1939- 2nd September 1945) happened even with the presence of a dispute redressal organization in the international world. It was evident that The league had failed. It had become incompetent and it was time to replace it with a new organization. The United Nations succeeded the league of nations. the representatives of over 50 governments met in San Francisco in 1945 to formulate a Charter for the new organization.

The UN Charter lays down 'equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. Upholding these human rights principles as "the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world" is fundamental to every undertaking of the United Nations.

United Nations Commission on Human Rights

the United Nations General Assembly has five main bodies, out of which the Economic and Social Council mainly deals with human rights. ECOSOC has 54 members elected by the General Assembly.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights consists of 53 member states elected by ECOSOC. however, the United Nations Commission on Human rights was replaced by the United Nations Human rights council (UNHRC) because the former fell into controversy and most of its members were themselves the biggest abusers of human rights. the UNHRC was established on 15th March 2006 and has its headquarters in Geneva Switzerland with 47 members for a period of 3 years on a regional basis. The UNHRC protects and fosters human rights in the international world. The UNHRC focuses on investigating cases of human rights violations in member states of the United Nations. UNHRC works in coordination with the office of the High commissioner of Human Rights.

Following are the Human Rights that are given maximum importance and are upheld to the maximum extent:
  1. Freedom of assembly
  2. Freedom of expression and free speech
  3. Freedom of religion
  4. Protection of women's rights
  5. Protecting the rights of the LGBT community and that of racial and ethnic minorities

Members of United Nations Human Rights Council- the council has 47 members who serve for 3 years and are not eligible to be re-elected immediately after 2 consecutive terms.

The United Nations regional groups are as follows:
  1. Africa- Senegal, Gabon, Malawi, C�te d'Ivoire
  2. Asia- Uzbekistan, China, Pakistan, Nepal
  3. Eastern Europe- Russia, and Ukraine
  4. Latin America- Cuba, bolivia, Mexico
  5. The Caribbean- Cuba, Bolivia, Mexico
  6. Western Europe- France and the United Kingdom
  7. Others

The United Nations Human Rights Council replaced the former commission on human rights because many of its members were themselves violating the human rights of its citizens. The UN made sure that such a problem did not arise in the new council. Therefore, the UNGA acts as a watchdog on the various regional members. The General Assembly has the power to suspend the rights of any regional member to the council that violates the human rights of its respective citizens. However, a 2/3rd majority in the assembly is mandatory to suspend a nation for violating human rights.

Subsidiary body and Advisory committee

The Universal Periodic Review working group monitors and reviews the progress among all 193 members of the United Nations. The committee conducts three and a half hours of debate to examine every country's human rights progression.
The United Nations Human Rights Council also has an advisory committee, established in 2007. the committee consisted of all the members of regional groups.

Complaints Procedure
For any council/committee/commission to function, it must have a properly laid down complaint procedure. The procedure, in this case, would help maintain consistency and reliable reporting of violations of human rights and other fundamental rights all over the world.

Following are the working groups that help in implementing the complaint procedure:
  1. Working Group on Communication:
    The group consists of 5 experts chosen by the advisory committee, one from the five regional groups. Like the regional members, these five experts also serve for a period of 3 years and work on prioritizing a complaint and judging whether it deserves investigation or not.
  2. Working Groups on Situations:
    This group comes second. Once the working group on communications prioritizes and decides that a case needs investigation, the working groups on the situation come into the picture. This group holds a meeting twice a year.

United Nations Treaty Bodies

Treaty experts monitor the implementation of human rights treaties among all the treaty signatories, they also review and send recommendations in case of complaints raised against a country for violation of human rights. all the signatories are obligated to send their respective state reports related to the signed human rights treaty after which the treaty bodies interpret those reports.

Following are the treaty bodies related to various human rights treaties:
  1. Human Rights Committee: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocols
  2. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol
  3. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: International Convention on the elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination
  4. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol
  5. Committee Against Torture: Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and its Optional Protocol
  6. Committee on the Rights of the Child: Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols
  7. Committee on Migrant Workers: International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
  8. Committee on the Right of Persons with Disabilities: International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol

Major International Human Rights Treaties

  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

    Adopted in December 1948, this declaration consists of 30 articles and lays down the rights and freedoms of all the members of the human race. Among all the UN members at that time, 48 members voted in favor of the resolution, and 8 abstained. None of the members voted against the resolution. This declaration played a significant role in the development of International Human Rights law and was a contributing factor in the formation of the bill of human rights.

    In 1945, President Harry Turman appointed Eleanor Roosevelt to the US delegation to the UN. In 1946, after becoming the chair of the United Nations Commission on human rights, Eleanore decided to take the task of drafting a human rights declaration. She was able to draft the declaration because she had the experience of both the world wars and had worked in the atmosphere where the hurt soldiers of the war lived.

    In this way, she was able to monitor the psychological condition of the soldiers closely and she also visited the various hardships that affected cities during world war II. However, this task of formulating a human rights declaration was difficult because the two superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union were adamant about not accepting each other's definition of human rights. Moreover, US politicians even declined to support the UN Social and Economic rights because they considered them to be communist in nature.

    India was a new country at that time but played a significantly important role. UN at that time had only 2 women as its members. one was Eleanor Roosevelt and the other was Hansa Mehta, an Indian. Hansa Mehta changed the very first article of the Human Rights declaration. she changed the article stating, 'all men are born free and equal' to 'all human beings are free and equal'. Despite the unending efforts to formulate the declaration, it is not binding in nature. However, many countries have used it as a role model in the formulation of their respective laws.

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was inspired by code Napolean. Code Napolean consisted of rules and regulations formulated by a renowned ancient leader- Napolean Bonaparte.

    The declaration initially lays down some basic concepts of human rights like human dignity, liberty, and equality. Slavery was among one of the most practiced forms of discrimination in the previous decades. Therefore, the makers of the declaration laid specific emphasis on thoroughly explaining and introducing concepts like the right to life and prohibition of discriminatory practices like slavery (article 3-5); the concept of human rights like freedom of movement; freedom of residence; property right, and right to a nationality (article 12-17); freedom of thought, religion, expression, peaceful association (article 18-21), etc in detail. Three other forms of rights like cultural, social, and economic rights, including healthcare, were sanctioned. It emphasized the importance of motherhood and childhood - the care that it requires (article 22-27). Article 6-11 of the declaration lays down fundamental rights and remedies for their violation.
  2. Genocide Convention, 1948

    Genocide means mass killing of people belonging to a particular ethnicity, community, or nation with the motive and intention of destroying the nation, community, or ethnicity. Taking Human rights into consideration, Genocide is the biggest attack on human rights. As seen in the past decades, every genocide has inflicted huge loss and havoc on mankind and such evils can only be eradicated with the help of international cooperation. Therefore, the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 96(1) passed a declaration on 11 December 1946 stating that Genocide is the cruelestform of violation of human rights and it is a crime in international law and condemned by the civilized world. The General Assembly resolution 206 A (9 December 1948), the convention on prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide was signed and ratified. It came into force on 12th January 1951. This convention consists of 19 articles. Article 1 forms the basis of the convention and lays down that irrespective of the circumstances, be it warlike or normal, genocide is a crime in the international world that has to be prevented and punished. Article 2 defines genocide and lays down 5 acts that form a genocide. The intention behind such acts shall be to destroy particular racial, national, ethical, and religious groups.

    The 5 acts are:
    1. Killing members of the group;
    2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
    Article 3 lays down the acts which shall be punishable in the international world:
    1. Genocide
    2. conspiracy to
    3. incitement
    4. complicity
    5. attempt
    all these crimes are punishable in nature and no political leader, constitutional leader, or the general public is immune to punishment (article4). Article 5 and 6 enumerates that all the parties signing the convention shall make appropriate amendments in their legislations to incorporate rules and regulations as per the provisions of this convention in their legal statutes. the governments of signatory nations shall also formulate laws that would penalize the offenders and the competent state tribunal of that particular place where the genocide took place shall try such cases.

    Article 7 delivers that genocide and other acts mentioned under article 3 of the convention shall not be confused as political crimes for the sheer purpose of extradition. The meaning of extradition can be explained with the help of an example; A is a criminal who committed a crime in state B. He was abducted in state C. As per legal provisions, state B can send in a formally writing document requesting state B to send A to state C because he had committed the crime in that jurisdiction. It means the transfer of jurisdiction from one state to another. Article 8 hands in a very crucial and wide-ranging power to the signatory countries.

    The UN charter is the most powerful document in the international world and lays down a variety of provisions which the countries may follow in different circumstances. In this case, the article gives the nations/states/ any contracting party to call upon a competent organ of the United Nations to take the most suitable and appropriate step as per the UN charter so that social evils and crimes like genocide and others mentioned under article 3 are prevented and can be eradicated sooner.

    If the contracting parties have any conflict among themselves related to the interpretation or execution of the convention then such dispute shall be solved by the International Court of Justice by sending in a request under the name of any of the parties in dispute. Article 11 states that on 11th January 1950 the convention shall be acceded to on behalf of a state or non-state member of the united nations and the instrument of accession shall be deposited with the secretary-general of United Nations.

    On 31 December 1945, all the states shall sign the convention. Article 12 can be treated as an extension of article 11 because both are interdependent. The total number of ratifications and accessions required is 20. Once all 20 accessions and ratifications are received, a 'process-de general' shall be drawn by the secretary-general, and a copy of the same shall be sent to all the signatory members. The convention signed shall remain in force for a period of 10 years as per article 14.

    If a party does not denounce it before 6 months from the expiration date, it can be extended for another 5 years. However, the Convention does not need to remain in force even after the party has not denunciated it. If 6 months before the expiration of the convention, after denunciation, only 16 members are left then the convention shall cease to exist. The convention gives its parties the right to request a revision of the convention.
  3. The refugee convention, 1951

    whenever there is a situation of war in a country, a natural disaster, or any other situation like this, the first ones to get affected by it are the people living in that area. Such situations might also arise in which the last resort left with the people is evacuation, leaving the area where they have been residing all their lives. Such people relocate to a whole new place leaving their jobs, houses, ancestral properties behind.

    Mostly, people don't take the step of relocating by leaving the place inflicted by war or a natural disaster, their circumstances force them to. In the international world, people who are forced to leave their country to save their lives and escape from war or other uncontrollable situations are known as refugees. In the history of wars, it is seen that the refugee problem has always been persistent. Be it World war 1, world war, Indo-Pak war, in recent times, climate change has played one of the key roles in causing a refugee crisis.

    However, the UN's definition of a refugee is as follows:
    A refugee is someone who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

    However, climate change does not fit in this definition because of which a new term has been introduced in recent times for people leaving their countries because of climate change and that is 'climate refugees'. The concept of refugees started to flourish only after the first world war because it had caused widespread bloodshed and hardships for people therefore, they decided to leave their country and settle in an alien place.

    The league of Nations at that time had begun dealing with the problem of refugees but it only gained momentum and strength after the second world war under the United Nations. The UN understood that this problem is a severe violation of human rights and unfair for the people. For solving such a problem, international integration shall play the most important role. All the countries of the world have tojoin their hands and work together to find a solution to this problem.

    Therefore, the United Nations formulated the first-ever legally binding international convention which lays down the standards of treating the refugees. this convention is known as the United Nations convention on refugees, 1951. World War 2 ended in 1945 and on the 28th of July 1951 this convention was adopted because there were more than 10 million people who lived in different parts of the world as refugees which made the refugee crisis an immediate problem that had to be tackled.

    This convention consists of 149 members and thoroughly defines refugees; rights conferred to them and the obligations on the states to protect the conferred rights. With rights, these refugees also have certain rights and responsibilities.

    They are as follows:
    1. Article 2 states that all the refugees living in a nation shall abide by the laws, rules, and regulations of that particular nation. Being a refugee does not mean that the basic laws are different for them. They are as much of a citizen as the other people residing in the country
    2. Article 3 and 8 state that a refugee, because he belongs to a separate nation and the country he is currently residing in is not his home country does not mean that he should be treated differently or in a discriminative manner wholely based on his/her nationality.
    3. Article 7 talks about reciprocity. Reciprocity, in this context, can be understood with the help of an example: 'A' is a refugee belonging to the country 'X'. There was a state of war in country 'X' because of which A had to leave it and move to a new country 'y'. 'A', because now he lives in the country 'y', the rights conferred to him by country 'y' will only be limited to the premises of that country. Country 'X' may or may not have the same laws related to refugees. Therefore, article 7 states that whatever rights one country offers to the refugees need not be similar to the rights conferred by the country of refugee's origin. However, this concept is very obvious because refugees anyhow do not have any protection from their home states or their countries of origin.
    4. If a nation allows and formulates special laws for refugees, it does not mean that it keeps itself and its people secondary. A nation has all the rights to take provisional measures against a refugee if the case involves national interest. This is laid down under article 9 of the convention.
    5. Article 12-30: The contracting parties should give respect to the status of a refugee (also marital), a refugee shall be provided with administrative assistance as well as free access to courts. It is the responsibility of the contracting party to provide the refugees with their identity and travel papers. They also have the right to transfer the property belonging to them. Under article 29, refugees are not subject to pay any taxes different from that paid by the citizens of the country.
    6. Article 31 states that if a refugee illegally enters the premises of a nation but in the stipulated period as per the legislation of the country, presents himself before the court, then no penalty can be charged on him/her.
    7. Article 32 states that this convention does not allow the contracting parties to expel refugees. No country has the right to forcibly send the refugee back to his home country. The prohibition of such forceful return is a part of Customary International law.
    8. Article 34 elucidates the concepts of assimilation and naturalization to refugees. Assimilation means incorporation, and naturalization is a way of entry into a country as a citizen.
    9. Article 35 and 36 make sure that the contracting parties know that the UN is the supreme watchdog and requires to be provided with information like legislation incorporation as per the provisions of the convention. The nations shall also cooperate with UNHRC.
    10. Article 38- If there is a conflict between two contracting parties then they can resolve it by presenting their case in the International Court of Justice.

    The Refugee convention 1951 is binding in nature. Even if a convention is legally binding, it always needs an authority that enforces it. Unfortunately, there is no such authority in this case. The United Nations High Commissioner for refugees has a supervisory role but no authority to enforce the convention. This convention does not have any formal way of filing a complaint. However, if a country wishes to file a complaint (which never happened in the history of this convention), it can do so by filing a complaint in the international court of justice.
  4. Discrimination in employment convention, 1960

    convention no. 111 adopted on 25 June 1958 and came into force 15 June 1960. The General conference on international labor law took place in Geneva by ILO's governing body. The conference took place to discuss certain matters in public interest one of which was 'discrimination in employment.

    The conference analyzed the agenda keeping the declaration of Philadelphia under consideration and decided that it should be shaped in the form of a convention. According to the declaration of Philadelphia, every human has the right to pursue their material well-being and spiritual development irrespective of their creed, gender, or race. Moreover, the people shall be put in an environment of freedom, dignity, social security, and equal opportunities.

    Like most of the conventions, the first article defines discrimination and the various attributes included in it. Discrimination in most layman terms can be defined as an unjust behavior towards a specific category of people. This discrimination can be on any grounds- race, religion., caste, creed, or place of birth. Article 1 states something similar tothis, it states that, if any person is treated differently/distinctly or preference is given to a person based on race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, etc., then such behavior tends to impair equality of all types including that of job opportunities and occupation. However, the article lays down that if a job requires some inherent requirements and for this purpose, people applying for it are treated distinctly or given preference over each other then such treatment shall not be considered as discrimination.

    When a nation ratifies and adopts an international treaty then it also has to make suitable changes in its already existing laws putting them in harmony with the agenda of the ratified convention or treaty. Similarly, article 2 under which the convention states that a nation should formulate a national policy that incorporates the agenda and promotes equality of opportunity in terms of employment and occupation. India has incorporated this under part 3 of the constitution containing fundamental rights (article 16). Labour is one of the greatest assets for a developing country and a country must protect and provide them with certain rights.

    Whenever a nation in the International world adopts or ratifies a treaty, especially that which deals with labor laws, it must formulate laws complementing the provisions of the treaty but at the same time, it should also make sure that the two main parties to labor laws in a country, i.e. employer and employees are satisfied with the new laws and are given enough right to portray their stances. It is only after both the parties and the government is cooperative and on board with the new policy that that system can work appropriately.

    For this purpose, the national government should also take additional measures like organizing educational programs that would help people in understanding and accepting the new policy. Moreover, vocational training or guidance is no exception to the policy and shall ensure its observance. Once the initial steps are taken, the international organization, in this case, ILO, shall require an annual report. This report must state the measures taken by the governments of the nations in incorporating the agenda and provisions of the treaty or convention ratified by them. (Article 3).

    No matter how many rights are provided for the welfare of a nation's citizens, national security is the most important and never be compromised. Therefore, the drafters of the convention made sure that they add an article solely dedicated to situations in which an individual is involved or suspected of being involved in activities prejudicial to national security. In such cases, any measure taken by the appropriate authorities against that individual will not amount to discrimination (article 4).

    Similarly, if, after consultation with workers and employers, such measures exist which provide an upper hand to persons with disabilities, poor economic status, or, family responsibilities then it shall also not amount to discrimination (special measures may also exist for women).
  5. Discrimination against women convention, 1979

    Discrimination in all forms is unacceptable and a violation of the rights of humans. However, there was undoubtedly a greater need for a convention entirely designated to women. The reason being, women have been subject to all forms of discrimination and inhumane behavior since time immemorial. Prostitution, slavery.

    Sati Pratha, violence, and the list can go on forever. The United Nations has been working hard to improve the status of women and stop such practices that might further jeopardize their safety. Therefore, it would be right to say that the discrimination against women convention, 1979 is the greatest outcome of the UN's more than 25 years of work.

    The convention came into force in 1981 (3rd September). Every form of discrimination and inequality faced by women is talked about in it. It can be said that this is the mother convention for all the other treaties and declarations related to the elimination of discrimination against women. Therefore, it would be right to say that the discrimination against women convention, 1979 is the greatest outcome of the UN's more than 25 years of work. The convention came into force in 1981 (3rd September).

    Every form of discrimination and inequality faced by women is talked about in it. It can be said that this is the mother convention for all the other treaties and declarations related to the elimination of discrimination against women.

    The United Nations Commission on the status of women was established in 1946 and it is one of the first steps towards monitoring the rights of women, protecting them, and promoting them. Human rights were established as a concern much earlier than this convention. Therefore, the main motive behind it was bringing quality of treatment between men and women, for which, it contains an international bill of rights for women exclusively and the meaning of the word 'equality.

    A particular section of society, for example, needs a solid system that acknowledges its rights. In a national setup, this support system is the government that has been assigned the task of taking such measures and making such changes in the already existing legislation to bring equality between the two major sexes in the country, and more importantly, these measures shall help women in preventing the violation of their rights and also promote them.

    Specifically in India's context, gender discrimination has been persistent for centuries now. The condition might have improved today but certain geographical belts still practice gender discrimination at its peak. However, as per NITI Ayog's report of 2018, most of the Indian states fell in the red zone for discrimination based on sex.

Vishakha And Others v/s The State Of Rajasthan And Others, 1997

Another strand that can be read along with discrimination at the workplace is sexual exploitation at the workplace. This topic has been a burning one since the strong move of the Supreme Court in 1997. Under this landmark judgment, the constitutional validity of part 3 of India's constitution. It stated that fundamental rights are called fundamental because they are equal for all irrespective of someone's race, religion, sex, place of birth, descent, or any other grounds.

Backdrop- A lady named Bhanwari Devi who worked for social causes was gang-raped by a group of men who belonged to an upper class and a rich background. The lady was in her 50s and resided in a village near Jaipur. The reason for such an action by the so-called 'upper class' men was that the lady stopped the marriage of an under-aged girl.

The worst part of the whole scenario was that the lady didn't get any support from the people, including officers, village people, and doctors. Most probably because they were given money to keep quiet. The heroic step of the lady did not make any difference.

She had the courage of speaking up about the crime in a country like India, where most of the cases go unnoticed and never get filed. After this, various aggrieved women and organizations fighting for their rights gathered the courage to speak about the topic and put their foot forward. They together formulated a collective initiative of 'Vishakha' - therefore the name of the case is Vishakha and OTHERS v. the State of Rajasthan.

The main motive behind this collective action was to bring justice for Bhawani Devi for the horrendous act committed by so-called men of the high class. Their demand was very much needed because sexual offenses against women cannot be recorded to have started in a particular year, they have been existing without being noticed or talked about for time immemorial. It is only after the people gained consciousness that they decided to stop this evil based on gender.

This was exactly the stance of Vishakha and others and they demanded proper laws which would stop or at least initially lessen the exploitation faced by women at the workplace for decades. Therefore, they filed a petition before the Supreme court of India. The apex court, in response, stated that any behaviortowards a woman that is sexual in nature, whether verbal or physical, will be defined as sexual harassment.

If we go by the data, it is evident that sexual harassment at work has existed in various parts of the world and not just in India. Therefore, because of the presence of an international body like the UN, the world was able to tackle the situations of human rights violations in a better way. Along with the definition of harassment, the supreme court also for the first time indited an instrument of international law, 'the convention on elimination of discrimination of all forms against women'.

The apex court laid down the following guidelines as important norms which have to always be kept in proper view whenever a woman is employed at any workplace:
  1. Every company, no matter how small or big the enterprise is, should always make sure that their employee's interests are protected in every form. In the case of women, because there are alarming number of cases of all types of harassment, the employer has toformulate a proper section in the company's code of conduct dedicated solely to guidelines related to prevention of sexual harassment against women employees. This would help in many ways. The women would be able to work and earn wages for their families and they would also feel secure at their workplaces and show better performances with greater concentration in their respective works and fields.
  2. If a company formulates norms related to prevention of harassment against women, it has to abide by this guideline of the court of formulation such bodies and committees which consists of women or at least of which a woman is the head. This would also help tremendously because if a woman faces any type of harassment at her workplace and wishes to complain against the wrong doers, she will feel more comfortable in sharing it with a woman rather than with a man.
  3. Now, only formulating certain norms related to prevention of harassment against women and setting up women as head officials within the company premises will not be sufficient. The most important guideline of all the important guidelines is that the company should focus on drafting and instituting such actions and punishments for the people who violate the already laid down norms in the company's code of conduct.
  4. Another most important aspect is rather unknown in various regions of the country till date. People are unaware of their rights because of which most of the times they do not even file a complaint if something wrong happens with them. Therefore, providing legal aid is a must in every set up. The company has to make sure that women are provided with legal aid and they are aware of their rights and given proper knowledge related to what they should do if they face any form of mental or sexual harassment at work.

These guidelines might only be 4 in number but as far as their validity is considered, the court has given them 'de facto' legal status.

Cases of exploitation before the guidelines
  1. IPC, article 354
  2. IPC, article 509

Israel And Palestine Conflict

The entire conflict revolves mostly around three cities named'Jerusalem, Gaza and west bank'. Jerusalem is a very old city, geographically situated in the middle east. This city was captured by the Israelis in 1967. There has been a persistent tension between the Muslims and Jews living in these three areas.

Israel is a country located in the east facing direction of the Mediterranean Sea inhabited mostly Jews and Palestine is also situated in the east Mediterranean area and is inhabited by Arabic Palestinians. The conflict between the two communities, the Jews and Muslims has persisted for centuries. It is believed to have since 950 BC because as per the historic records, a temple was built and destroyed on the land of today's Israel by a king names Solomon and Nebuchadrezzar respectively, but the conflict can only be traced politically in the 20th century till today. Palestine is inhabited by a militant group named 'Hamas' which means Islamic resistance movement and has its roots in the Arabic language.

This group mostly lives in Gaza and has shown violence towards Israel in the past. The main allegation they pose on Palestinians is that the Muslims living in the Gaza and west bank face discrimination because the strong and larger territory of Israel which largely controls these areas. The group has retaliated against this alleged discrimination by attacking them several times.

This conflict had gone so out of control that the world oppressor Britain also could bring about a solution to it and had to form Israel. In 1948 Israel was formed and Palestinians despised this decision. Because of the formation of a new country which was mostly occupied by Jews and Muslims lived in minority, they were forced to leave their homes and this gave rise to a huge refugee problem leaving more than 70000 people displaced.

Out of the three centric cities talked about above, Gaza and west bank was occupied by Egypt and Jordan respectively and the remaining most important ancient city, Jerusalem was divided between two strong armies of Jordan and Israel. The most important changing point in the whole situation took place when Israel won the conflict and occupied almost all the areas surrounding it, including west bank, Jerusalem and majority portions of Gaza.

 presently the militant group names Hamas is retaliating from Gaza's side, and it is said that the force used by Israel to stop them are much more strong and larger. The al Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest shrine of the Muslim community and religion has been one such subject which has always waged wars and conflicts. The attack on this shrine has made the Muslims living in Israel tilt towards the Palestinians. Amid this political instability and the sheer unhappiness of the people with the leader of Palestine, Muhammad Abbas puts the country at a greater risk of a civil war stating the incompetency of the political aspect.

The Gaza's health ministry reported that the conflict caused injuries of various types to over 2000 people and alleged killing of over 250 people. This conflict has since its inception has only violated the rights of public. In the conflicts of 1948, 1967 and 2020 has done nothing but caused hardships for the people. Killings and injuries have only violated their rights and therefore is should be taken into consideration by the human rights commission and proper verdict shall be given by the international court of justice.

The International court of justice gave a verdict on the case and states that more than 200 people died in the conflict and it was a grievous violation of human rights. In the past judgments, the court has stated that the barriers that Israel has put against the Palestinians is illegal and it should be stopped.

The following research paper concludes that it might not have been written in legal terms, but it is true that people are the most important. Their well-being, rights and health shall be protected at all costs. It is so important that the world biggest international organization which is respected and followed by all the countries of the world formed a special human rights commission.

Human rights have been neglected for a lot of time and now finally they have gained the stature that it deserves and is being treated in that way. However, the roots are to be reached which is a little difficult but can be achieved and more strict laws and regulations shall be made as per the demand of the coming years and centuries. One thing is for sure, human rights is never going to lose the importance it has gained over the years and people shall always be given the utmost priority and their rights shall be saved at all costs.

India as a country has become vigilant and has been following the norms of human rights but amid the ongoing farmer protests, without taking sides of which party is right or wrong it is important to not let to the rights of humans unnoticed. There have been grieve violation of human rights which is in itself another area of research. India surely has a long way to go to attain human rights at its best. Written By: Ashna Sharma, Course - BA LLB (H)

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