Analysis of human rights in the modern era

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This article is written by Shruti Mishra, from IIMT & School of Law (Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University). This is an exhaustive article which analyses different aspects of Human Rights in the modern era.


“Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of their race, gender, nationality, religion or any other status. We are all entitled to Human Rights without discrimination.”                                                                                  – United Nations 

India was elected in the United Nation Human Rights Council with majority votes, which shows its standing in the International community. Human Rights is a set of standards which gives humans the rights to live in peace, harmony, with dignity, liberty, equality etc. regardless of their labels (sex, creed, caste, gender, nation etc.) in the society. This ensures the development of the individuals and the communities since there is a basic standard which applies to every human on the planet. The Human Rights are a major part of international law e.g. declarations, treaties, Acts, regulations, rules which are incorporated by different nations as their municipal laws. We can say that Human Rights are Universal, absolute, interrelated and unbiased. This article talks about the modern aspects of Human Rights.

History of human rights

The example of World War II was the eye-opener for the world leaders to consider human rights globally. A dire need was felt to maintain international peace and security and to eradicate any future conflicts among nations.

Documents like “Magna Carta, 1215”, English Bill of Rights, 1689, and The French Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizens, 1789 were not adequate to be converted into policies because they did not include women and various oppressed groups. As a result, the United Nations Charter was implemented in 1945 to create accountability and give rights to the countries which were a part of it. 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Later, in 1948 the first global document Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the UN with more than 50 states as its member. It claimed that Human Rights is an international concern and it can be interrelated as well as absolute. The document is not legally binding on the nations rather it can be treated as customary international law.

The European Convention on Human Rights

The UDHR acted as a structure for the development of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which was adopted in 1950, with the motive to protect Human Rights of individuals of the nations who are the members of the Council of Europe. More than 40 countries (including the United Kingdom) were signatory to the “Convention of Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”. Later it was adopted as municipal law by the United Kingdom via the Human Rights Act, 1998.

Human Rights Act, 1998  

Before this Act, the Human rights violation cases were dealt with in the European Court of Human Rights. The Human Rights Act was enforced in the year 2000, it gave fundamental rights and freedom to the individuals of the United Kingdom, which was incorporated through European Convention on Human Rights into the municipal laws of the nation.

This Act covers:

  1. Human Rights cases to be taken directly to the British Court.
  2. Public authorities to perform public functions.
  3. The new laws which will be introduced must comply with the rights.

How have human rights evolved through judicial pronouncements

India became a part of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), these were the rights mentioned as the Fundamental Rights in the constitution and on the other hand, the rights of Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) were mentioned in the directive principles of state policy (DPSPs) of the constitution. While the constitution was being drafted, the Human Rights provisions of UDHR were also considered in the draft and it was also acknowledged by the Supreme Court of India so that the citizens could directly seek remedy from the Supreme Court or the High Court under Article 32 or Article 226 of the constitution in case their Fundamental Rights are violated.

The Judicial Role is very important when it comes to safeguarding an individual’s dignity and liberty. It not only protects but also interprets the scope of fundamental rights and therefore, it is the guardian of Human Rights of the individuals. Over the years the Judicial pronouncements or interpretations have evolved and widened the scope of Human Rights in India in some of the landmark cases, where the court has taken into consideration the application of UDHR in their interpretations. The landmark cases are as follows:

  • Satwant Singh v. Passport office (Govt. of India) (1967)

In this case, the Right to Movement was elaborated and interpreted. After considering that the freedom of movement is a global right and considering the provisions of UDHR, the Supreme Court said that every individual has the liberty and freedom to travel abroad, including his own country, this right is applicable on every citizen except those who are criminals, trying to avoid penalty and also to avoid any International pressure, limitations can be applied on their freedom of movement.

  • Golak Nath v. State of Punjab (1967)

In this case, the Supreme Court discussed the constitutional validity of Part III and Part IV of the constitution in comparison with UDHR and observed that both the documents were adopted with the intention fuel the social growth of the society by giving individuals the right to work, to educate etc. However, both are very similar to each other in terms of their objectives and goals and their main purpose is to enforce and safeguard Human Rights.

  • The glorious case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1974)

This case had a major contribution in outlining the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. There was a very serious conflict between the Judiciary and Mrs Indira Gandhi regarding the case of Golaknath because the parliament wasn’t being allowed to alter the Fundamental Rights. This case is important in the view of Human Rights because it involves the fundamental rights which are the basis of basic human rights for the individuals to seek remedy against the violation of their basic human rights.

The court compared the UDHR with the Fundamental Rights and interpreted that other than Article 13(2) of the Indian constitution, upon which UDHR is based on, the Fundamental Rights can not be altered and on this observation, the court gave the “BASIC STRUCTURE DOCTRINE” which stated that the basic feature or characteristics of fundamental rights can not be abrogated or altered via amended, neither by the parliament nor through a constitutional amendment.

  • ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla (1976)

In the above case, the question was whether the court should contemplate the Universal Declaration in the constitution or not, since India is one of its signatories but when one looks at the nation’s legal structure, it can give validity and enforceability to the rights through court’s interpretations. Here, the court was being rigid about the enforceability of UDHR’s provisions in this case by stating that anything that conflicts with the constitution is unenforceable as it is stated in Article 51 of the constitution that the courts are allowed to aid treaty principles only if they are consistent with Indian law. 

  • The case of D.K Basu (custodial death) (1997)

This case was the court’s evaluation of UDHR’s Article 5 which states that “No one shall be subjected to cruelty, torture or inhumane treatment”. Since this was a case of death under the custody of police authority, which violated a basic human right of the individual who was arrested, the Supreme Court gave the guidelines for proper conduct of any arrest or detention and these guidelines would act as preventive measures.

  • People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. UOI AIR 1997

In this case, the scope of freedom of expression was interpreted. The freedom of expression which is a fundamental right was violated by tapping the telephone which was carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The authority and validity of such action were questioned. The Court said that when an individual is exercising his freedom of expression on the telephone, no one can invade his privacy unless on reasonable grounds or reasonable restrictions which are mentioned under Article 19(2) of the constitution. The Supreme Court took into consideration Article 12 of UDHR and implemented “Right to Privacy” in affairs of freedom of speech and expression.

  • In case of Chairman of Railway Board v. Chandrima Das AIR 2000

In this case, a foreign woman was raped by an employee of the Indian railways in the workplace. Under the provision of Public law, on the grounds of infringement of the victim’s Fundamental Rights as well as Human Rights Jurisprudence (based on UDHR’S Moral Code of Conduct), the court awarded compensation to the victim. 

Here, the court implemented an important and current branch of law i.e. Human Rights Jurisprudence, guarded Human rights on the levy of state and allowed the importance of Universal Declarations of Human Rights in its interpretations.

How is the implementation of human rights being ensured in the modern era

The implementation of human rights is being ensured by international treaties and conventions which are further adapted by various nations as their domestic laws. There are specific legislations which are being introduced to protect human rights and specific authorities which are focused on protecting human rights and making sure that the laws enacted are being implemented properly. Organisations are being set up at every level to ensure that the help is reaching at every level and no human is deprived of their rights.

Implementation of International Human Rights as domestic laws in India

  • Article 51 – This article binds India to imply international law in domestic law.
  • Article 253– This article gives parliament the executive authority to enact laws to implement International obligations which do not violate existing constitutional laws.
  • The present standing of India is that the parliament’s approval is needed for treaties that may influence the citizen’s rights and requires a change in the nation’s domestic laws. India practices dualist approach i.e. it considers domestic law and international law as separate legal systems, hence international sources can not be implemented directly.
  • The growth and development in the International Human Rights influences various specific legislation related to Human Rights in India e.g. Human Rights Act, 1993, Right to Education Act, 2009, Mental Health Act, 1987, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act,1986 etc.

Legislative frameworks for implementation of Human Rights in India

  • The Protection of the Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993

  • Background

In the 1990s, India was heavily criticized by the foreign countries regarding its conduct in Jammu and Kashmir violating human rights via military forces to fight terrorism, which also gave fuel to the unrest politically. So, the tension from the foreign nations led to the establishment of this Act. This Act was introduced in 1993 when a need was felt to safeguard the human rights issues at national as well as state level. 

  • Human Rights definition

According to section 2(d) of this Act, “Human Rights mean the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of an individual guaranteed by the constitution and enforceable by courts in India.”

  • Objectives
  • This Act provides a framework or a structure to guard human rights.
  • To protect rights violated by the state’s abuse of power.
  • By providing remedies to the victims of the Human Rights violation.
  • Provide the organizational framework to establish a Human Rights Commission not only at the national but also at the state level as well and set up Human Rights Courts for the speedy redressal of grievances. 
  • National Human Rights Commission

The commission was established in 1993, under the statute of PHRA,1993. The Paris Principles was adopted for the encouragement and safeguarding of Human Rights which influenced the national institutions, led to the embodiment of NHRC in India.

  • Powers
  • NHRC has the power of a civil court while dealing with a case under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
  • Power to furnish information about any claimed privilege of the person under the law.
  • Power to investigate and inquire or seize any relevant documents with reason.
  • Power to take suo moto cognizance in matters related to violation of human rights.

Case of Communal Riot in Gujarat, 2002

In this case, the National Human Rights Commission took cognizance of the matter after receiving numerous requests to look into the violence which was violating human rights aggressively. The NHRC conducted a report based on facts and the current handling of the situation by the government of Gujarat. The commission then made recommendations to the state to involve CBI for proper investigation of the matter and that special courts should be made to handle the progress of the investigation, it also extended legal aid to the rape victim so she could pursue her case in the Supreme court.

  •  Complaints which are admitted

The kinds of complaints that NHRC entertains are custodial deaths, failed investigation by police, police brutality, legal aid, illegal detention, fake encounters by police, bonded labour, environment pollution etc. 

  • Complaint and Enquiry Procedure
  1. Any individual or group of individuals or organizations can report a complaint against any violation of human rights.
  2. The complaints are then registered without any fee.
  3. The complaint is reviewed by the members, the commission requires further information and affidavits to proceed, in case there is no information found the complaint gets dismissed.
  4. If any information or lead is found, the complaint is admitted and the matter is properly investigated and inquired.
  5. State government’s take on the matter is considered then the proceedings are taken forwards for further inquiry and investigation or taken over by the government to take action.   
  6. When NHRC proceeds with the complaint, the inquiry is conducted by its members 
  7. In the process of inquiring about the matter, the commission can-
  • Summon any witness and examine them;
  • Discover any document;
  • Ask for affidavits as evidence;
  • Question the public record for verification;
  • Issue direction for the witness examination or examination of the document.
  1. After the inquiry, the Commission can make recommendations to the government-
  • To provide Victim compensation.
  • To initiate proceedings against the person guilty for violation of Human Rights.
  • To take disciplinary actions against the accused.
  • To take preventive measures for safeguarding human rights.
  • Guidelines by NHRC
  1. It should be the commission’s primary focus to inquire into cases of custodial death.
  2. Reporting of crimes like custodial death, rape, prison death is compulsory by District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police within 24 hours.
  3. Guidelines from the case of D.K Basu must be followed for arrest.
  • State Human Rights Commission (SHRC)

Section 21(1) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1933 provides that the Human Rights Commission can be constituted at the state level by the state government, to practice the powers and functions which the state allocates. SHRC has the same functions as NHRC except for examining the international instruments of human rights, other than that it has limited powers and it can’t punish the individuals who violate human rights and has no access to give the victim compensation.

  • Human Rights Courts

Section 30 of the Protection of Human Rights Act provides that the state government with the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court has the power to arrange or set up Human Rights Courts at the district level by a notification which specifies to each district’s court of session. A Special Public Prosecutor is selected for the Human Rights Courts by the state government under section 31 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. These courts have been arranged in several states like Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu etc. The commission also stays connected with that concerned High Court to clarify the nature of the crime that is to be tried in the High Court and some other details as well.


  • To safeguard human rights at the grassroots level.
  • To provide speedy trials of the wrong arising out of violation of human rights.
  • Role of Non-Governmental organizations to safeguard Human Rights-

The non-governmental organizations work well when they’re dealing with human rights issues, they play a very vital part especially in a developing country like India in protecting and encouraging human rights. These organizations are private, independent and non-profit i.e. the main purpose of their existence is not financial profit. Many people offer to support such organizations voluntarily. The NGOs identify the issues which the government fails to recognise and they work to fulfil those gaps by planning, monitoring and evaluating human rights protection. 

Section 12(1) of the Protection of Human Rights Act provides that the commission is supposed to promote such organisations and encourage their work towards the community in the field of human rights to obtain physical help. The role of NGOs is also recognised internationally in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. There have been times when local NGOs which work on a grass-root level were the first to file a complaint against violation of human rights and the National Human Rights Commission admitted those complaints, also their role in helping with enforcement of government policies related to human rights with their recommendations has been very effective.

Strengthening human rights through NHRC

  • Deals against violation of human rights and take preventive measures-

The NHRC prioritises securing the rights of the oppressed and the excluded. So, it takes all the possible measures to prevent any violation of human rights of individuals.

  • Policies and actions-
  1. NHRC reviews laws, procedures, treaties and makes recommendations to the concerned government bodies to implement Human rights more effectively.
  2. Certain policies and programmes are recommended and regulated by the commission with special emphasis on the weaker section of the society.
  3. It makes sure that the individuals and various communities exist in a civilized manner.
  4. It gives attention to health care as well as proper nutrition to the poor and oppressed, it makes efforts in making sure that the government authorities are implementing the policies which will help the weaker section.
  • Works for women’s human rights-
  1. NHRC supports various NGOs and self-help groups which are focused to empower women economically as well as encourages large campaigns to spread awareness.
  2. It launches various programmes and supports movements which are led to inform women about their human rights.
  3. NHRC is very much involved with the decision-making authorities on the ground level e.g. Panchayats, to help women exercise their human rights.
  4. It also adopts suggestions from NGOs, civil society and other credible sources to understand the situations and Act accordingly to enhance women’s human rights and maintain their dignity.
  5. Special emphasis on sexual harassment of women at the workplace, to deal with such an issue they established a system for the redressal of complaints where women could address their grievances with fewer obstacles.
  • Works for human rights of the Minorities-
  1. The commission has been very actively working with the ambush on human rights of the oppressed i.e. the minorities, such penetration on the minorities is awakening and in this kind of issues, the commission can take cognizance itself.
  2. The commission takes the necessary course of action to prevent such problems, especially when religious aspects are involved.
  • Safeguards the Right to health care and a clean environment-
  1. Through Judicial interpretations, the scope of human rights has been widened under the term ‘Right to Life’ as it includes the right to health care, clean air, education etc.
  2. It adopts new and advanced ways to address issues related to the environment.
  3. It has the authority to question the concerned government authorities about any environment-related issue e.g. it issued a notice to the government to inquire about the information of an ecological disaster.
  4. The commission can interfere in any issue which involves the violation of human rights, make suggestions to the government authorities to prevent any violations against the right to health care and a clean environment.
  • Take action to safeguard the human rights of the victims of any Natural Disaster-
  • NHRC took initiative in cases of Natural Disasters like: 

(i) Gujarat Earthquake 

(ii) Orissa cyclone

  • The commission takes suo moto cognizance in such situations:

(i) It helps in providing victim compensation.

(ii) Gives proper assistance in educating victims about their rights.

(iii) Takes relief and rehabilitation measures as quickly as possible.

  • Helps in spreading out of human rights education-
  1. NHRC stated their interest in educating and spreading awareness about human rights to some authorities through various sources or channels.
  2. It worked on sensitization of the public about human values and practices of human rights intending to build a conscience among the individuals.
  3. It submits its annual report, stating its approaches, efforts, actions, needs, achievements and failures towards protecting human status, dignity and rights.
  • It looks the living situation of those who are incapable of guarding their basic human rights-
  1. The commission checks the living conditions and standards of jails, Youth detention centres, mental hospitals etc.
  • It encourages various researches and studies on human rights.

Cybercrime and privacy framework through the lens of human rights


The cyberlaw is the rules and regulations that protect against cybercrime, it covers networks, software, data, data storage devices, the internet, websites, emails, ATM etc. 

It mainly deals with:

  1. Intellectual property
  2. Data protection and privacy
  3. Electronic or digital signatures

What are the Acts that are considered as cybercrime?

The illegal Acts where a computer is used as a tool to violate any component which comes under the aspect of cyberlaw, as mentioned above and such Acts are considered as cybercrime. Computer-oriented crimes may threaten an individual or a country’s economic structure or security. Globally, the states and the non-state entities captivate in such crimes which cross international borders. Offences like financial fraud, cyber-terrorism, cyber-extortion, cyber-sex trafficking, cyber-warfare etc. are committed worldwide. 

International laws against Cybercrime

Budapest Convention

The council of Europe gave effect to the convention i.e. Budapest Convention on the subject of cybercrimes to provide a solution to the issues faced because of the growth of the digital platform. This convention is the most relevant international agreement.

International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

The Council of Europe had another convention, the Convention for Protection of Human Rights Fundamental Freedom as the need was felt to add a fundamental human right aspect to the existing agreements. Later, the United Nation International Covenant on Civil Political Right and other applicable Human rights treaties were introduced. The convention made an obligation to establish human rights and implement the procedures accordingly, also added the law for seizing stored data. It talks about the freedom of having an opinion and expressing it. This right should also include seeking and receiving or imparting information and ideas in any form.

Structure of Cyberlaw with the Human Rights perspective

The Information Technology Act, 2000 was enacted and amended in 2008, this was based on the model of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The IT Act defines offences and penalties for various classification of offences, hence cyber laws Act as a guard against cybercrime. In addition to the Act, the government also provided the “National Cyber Security Policy”.

  • Human rights and cyberspace

In the new era of the digitalised world, human rights are violated openly and widely. Article 19 of the Universal Declarations of Human Rights (UDHR) is the medium to the information community that contemplates that every individual shall have access to the advantages of the information society.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has stated a general comment that the freedom of expression and information in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights should also include freedom to send and receive and communicate information, ideas and opinions through the internet (cyberspace) as well.

  • Freedom of Expression and cyberspace

The new opportunities are introduced to the individuals on the internet where they can exercise their right to freedom of expression worldwide most speedily and conveniently when compared to other platforms. It expanded the capacity of individuals to exercise their human rights and be a part of the economic, social and political development.

Limitations to freedom of expression, in case of:

  1. Any legal requirement or provided by law; 
  2. The necessary limit for national security and moral purposes;
  3. Public morals;
  4. Reputations are affected etc.
  • Internet Censorship

The Indian media has reported many issues related to the misuse of the internet in numerous ways and how it exploits human rights. Internet censorship includes a ban on child pornography, removal of offensive or hateful content on social media platforms by court’s order and regulation of any bullying, discrimination, offensive behaviour in the cyberspace, e.g. cyberbullying, cyber racism, cyber sexism or sexual harassment, cyber homophobia etc. These days the big social media platforms are coming up with their strict policies opposing all these issues, the content can be reported by the public itself.

India’s stand on Privacy laws

  • Right to Privacy

The main objective of privacy laws is to maintain a balance between an individual’s privacy rights and the data collector’s interest. Privacy is every individual’s fundamental right which has been mentioned in many of the International Human Rights documents. The main idea is to guard human dignity which includes freedom of expression and information.

  • National laws related to privacy

There is no specific mention of the right to privacy in the Indian constitution; the Supreme Court has made interpretations of the right to privacy via Article 21, i.e. the right to life and liberty by widening its scope.

Case- K.S Puttaswamy v. Union of India 2015

In this case, the interpretation of privacy rights was questioned, in 2017 it was declared that privacy of an individual is a core element of human dignity in the constitution and no institution or authority can enforce their power unless it’s provided by the law.

Case- Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India 1975

In this case, “reasonable restrictions” are discussed, the law can restrict the right to privacy, but it’ll have to be reasonable and just as mentioned under Article 19(2) of the constitution.

  • Data Protection (scope in India)

In this digital age, data privacy applies to all personal information which also includes PAN or Aadhar, medical record etc. There is no particular law in India that deals with data protection or privacy rights. Section 43A of the IT Act, 2000 deals with certain “Data protection rules”.

There are relevant laws i.e. Information Technology Act, 2000 and Indian Contract Act, 1872. India is currently working on the framework of data privacy laws, an expert group is already working on it and several privacy laws are influenced by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Which was created in Europe to protect digital identities.

The US solution: Microsoft Litigation and CLOUDS Act 

Microsoft Litigation or “The Warrant Case”

The United States District Court issued a warrant to Microsoft under the Electronic Communication Act,1986 also known as the Stored Communication Act (SCA), 1986, to give the information (emails) for the ongoing investigation of a drug trafficking case in 2013 but the information was stored in their Ireland server. Microsoft refused to give the information and filed an appeal against the warrant.

  • Southern District (New York)

In the case of United States v. Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft challenged the Federal government and argued that the SCA can not ask companies to reveal data if that data is stored in any foreign server. To which the Judge stated that SCA is not bound by the territorial limits, hence Microsoft should comply with the warrant.

  • Appeal to the Second Circuit

In 2016, Microsoft appealed against the judgement passed by the Southern District of New York. In the meantime, Ireland government was not satisfied with the violation of their treaty with the United States and the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) was signed by the nations to keep the trust between the two nations. The Second Circuit in their judgement ruled in favour of Microsoft, quashing the validity of the warrant.

  • Appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States

According to Microsoft, the whole matter was about data privacy across borders and to keep up with the new developments, an upgrade in data privacy laws was needed, so the Congress should focus on updating the outdated SCA, 1986 law.

In this case, the United States Department of Justice filed an appeal against the order passed in favour of Microsoft. While the case was unsettled in court, Congress passed the “Clarified Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act” i.e. CLOUD Act in 2018. This Act led to the dismissal of the litigation.

The Clarified Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act, 2018

This Act is a law for the modern era which safeguards the public’s privacy worldwide. It is a new beginning of International agreements based on laws of data privacy and also protects the rights of Cloud service providers like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google etc. Back in the old days’ people used to store data in storage devices and to investigate such documents the government had to issue a warrant against that individual or company holding the information but nowadays, the electronic data storage is the future where the individuals or the companies store their data in the cloud. The government issues warrant directly to the cloud service providers to get the information without the person knowing that their data has been accessed by the authorities, this is a clear violation of their right to privacy which is their fundamental right and it becomes hard for them to protect their rights if they’re not informed about the interference. Therefore, this Act was needed to keep the balance between law enforcement and the privacy right protection needs of humans.

  • Overview of the aspects of the Act
  1. The CLOUD Act has developed a structure to establish International Agreements of the United States which enables law agencies to access data in extraterritorial limits of the country i.e. allows foreign nations to enter into a bilateral agreement with the US.
  2. The Act combines the reach of the United States warrants across borders and holds the comity (cooperation) rights of the individuals together, without making any changes in the common law right of the citizens as it remains independent of the new International Agreements.
  3. It safeguards privacy and human rights by following the rule of law, fair and just trial, freedom of expression and opinion and forbids arbitrary detention or any inhumane behaviour.
  4. The Act also provides legal rights directly to the cloud service providers to guard data privacy under the International Agreements i.e. provides tech companies to challenge law enforcement requests.
  5. The Act puts certain limits on requests of the law agencies to protect the privacy of an individual or a company.

Development of human rights across the globe

Human rights have developed and have been recognised over the years globally by various international instruments and these instruments were introduced to lay down obligations which the nations would have to respect to protect against violation of human rights on the national and international level. At present, it is very important to have development goals in every approach towards human rights, which is the main objective of the Global Human Rights Development (GHRAD). In 2000, the global leaders decided to make commitments in the Millennium Declaration in the United Nations Resolution which included matters of peace, human rights, security, environment development goals. As a result of that, the Millennium Development Goals (i.e. the MDGs) was introduced.

  • Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The role of Human Rights was limited in the MDGs plans but they had numerous similarities because MDGs included the economic and social rights. In the Millennium Declaration, all the leaders committed themselves in respect of recognising human rights, fundamental freedoms, right to development etc. and all its strategies were for the advancement of the legitimacy, equity and sustainability of its policies.

  • Poverty- Issue like extreme poverty and exclusion of minorities from society is a direct violation of human dignity and it is necessary to take steps which eradicate such problems, to safeguard human dignity there have been many initiatives from the World Conference on Human Rights (The Vienna Declaration) and Merida Declaration, these instruments work for the upliftment of humans regardless of their gender, nationality, race, caste and other labels. Other programmes like the World Food Programme (WFP) which is handling issues like hunger in Yemen.
  • Education- Right to education is a basic human right, many countries have worked for education e.g. Afghanistan and Bangladesh with their “Let Us Learn” initiative to overcome the hurdles of education, the Secretary-General of UN took initiative i.e. Global Education First (GEFI) etc. has committed with many institutions to cover primary schooling of children. 
  • Gender Equality- The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, an initiative by MDG to encourage gender quality and empowerment of women and many other international human rights instruments have been subsequently introduced to eliminate gender disparity.
  • Environment- Many International Human Rights instruments have come into existence for environmental sustainability, some of them are International Fund Agricultural Development (IFAD) was created to encourage agro-ecology, The Montreal Protocol to reduce ozone depletion, Rio Conference was held to discuss the issues like development of climate, land, energy, air, water etc.
  • Global Partnership is very important for the development of new technologies worldwide, the UN Secretary-General added the MDG task force to improve regular surveillance of the global commitments i.e. monitoring of trade, debt, access to medicines, new technologies etc.


Human Rights has three aspects i.e. Civil-political, Socio-economic, and developmental. Many international human rights instruments i.e. UDHR, ICCPR, ICESCR, CERD etc. all these human rights treaties and conventions have helped in the development of human rights across the world, their principles are being applied on both national and international level, they all were introduced to protect Human rights globally. These conventions and treaties have been implemented in India and that’s how National Human Rights Commission was implemented to protect individuals against violation of their human rights, the whole machinery works for proper implementation of human rights but still, the powers and authority of NHRC are very limited and it is dependent on the government for its funding. There is a need to empower institutions like NHRC, State human rights commission, National Women’s commission etc. to get the desired results.

Nowadays, there are numerous new ways in which Humans are being exploited and their rights are being violated with every new development in the society. New human rights interpretations are introduced by upcoming new generations out of society’s needs and necessities. The virtual world i.e. the internet has no limits and it is used internationally.

“Modern problems need a modern solution”- in this new trend of the internet everything is digital and with increasing developments, India needs to implement new rules and regulations to safeguard the interest of the public and their human rights. Just like in Microsoft’s case the data privacy laws were updated and amendments were made. Similarly, India needs to implement data privacy laws specifically because there is always a new attack on human rights in cyberspace.


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