This article is written by Aryan Solanki
Human Rights is a dynamic concept that is the core of international law and international relations. Human rights represent basic values common to all cultures. These basic rights of humans are required to be promoted and protected in every civilised society. There are some basic rights like the right to life; property and security are the rights that every individual possesses by the virtue of birth.
Therefore, these rights must be promoted and protected worldwide and the realisation of human rights must be the goal of every state. There are some international conventions and treaties that promote and protect human rights worldwide. The international law of human rights is the outcome of an evolving process where the responsibility of States derived from their sovereignty has been connected with one of the fundamental values of the international community after World War II.
However, despite the municipal and international laws that protect human rights, human rights are abused worldwide. The condition of human rights in many developing countries is worse. Basic rights of individuals like the right to life, right to education and freedom of speech and expression are being violated on a large scale.
In this article, we will focus on the condition of human rights in the world’s two largest emerging economies China and India. The international community commits towards the protection of human rights through different treaties and conventions. All nations of the international community are obliged to protect human rights and to obey the international laws on human rights.
Universal declaration of human rights, 1948
This declaration was signed on December 10, 1948, among 48 countries. There was the list of basic Human Rights that the International Community agreed on as the legacy that every human is entitled to with his birth. The universal declaration of human rights (UDHR) is a commitment of the member countries towards promoting and protecting human rights.
The document of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains 30 Articles that define human rights. This declaration aims to make life better by protecting human rights and the laws protecting human rights must be protected and respected universally to establish peace and tranquillity around the world.
Human rights provisions under the UN charter
After the 2nd world war in 1945, 50 states met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organisation to draw up the United Nations Charter that is an international treaty contains basic principles of international relation. There are six principal organs of the United Nations:
- The General Assembly,
- The Security Council,
- The Economic and Social Council,
- The Trusteeship Council,
- The International Court of Justice and,
- The Secretariat .
When any state becomes a member of the United Nation, it is required to agree upon the laws of the UN charter. Article 1 of the UN Charter defines the objective o maintain International Peace and Security, develop friendly relations among nations, and cooperate in solving international affairs problems and promoting respect for human rights.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966. There are 168 parties to this covenant. This Covenant is divided into six major parts. Article 1 of this covenant defines the right of self-determination.
This right is especially ascribed to people rather than to individuals. Article 2 of this covenant imposes an obligation upon the member nations to respect and promote human rights within their respective territory. Article 3 of the covenant undertakes to ensure the principle of the equal right of men and women to enjoy all Civil and Political rights outlined in the covenant.
Human Rights in India and China
China is the largest populated country in the world while India is the second-largest populated country. More than 36% of the world’s population resides in these two countries. Therefore, it is necessary to protect human rights in these countries to achieve the goal of international laws of human rights. China is a communist country where a single-party system is followed.
However, India is one of the largest democracies in the world where a multi-party system is followed that is opposite to China. The condition of human rights in both countries is not good. Recently, Amnesty International has published its report on human rights concerning the impact of COVID-19 on human rights .
According to this report, the worldwide pandemic has worsened human rights. in most of the developing countries, people are deprived of necessities like health, food and shelter which results in the death of many people. There are certain parameters based on which the condition of human rights is measured.
These parameters include the condition of health, freedom of speech and expression, rights of Minorities, security against crimes and the quality of education.
Right to health
For the last one and a half years, COVID-19 has been a dangerous problem for the entire world. This virus has killed millions of people around the world. India is one of the countries that is badly affected by this disease. During the second COVID-19 wave millions of people died because of lack of proper treatment and lack of oxygen.
The absence of an adequate quantity of oxygen leads to the death of many people. In this worst situation, it was a big challenge for the government to provide all the health facilities to the patients. Though India consists of 1.40 billion people and it is not easy for any developing country to provide better health facilities to all its population.
But the ground situation of India shows that the government of India was not able to tackle this pandemic effectively and to ensure the right to health of its citizens. The government was completely failed to protect its citizens from this pandemic and to ensure proper health facilities. During the second wave, the inadequacy of beds in the hospital had been a big problem. Many people were found to die outside the hospitals while waiting for the bed .
It is evidentiary that not only India is hit by this pandemic there are many developing and the developed countries around the world are hit badly by this pandemic. For Instance, Italy which is a developed country was so badly hit by COVID-19 where millions of people died due to the pandemic. Even the USA was suffered a lot from this virus.
China that is considered the originator of COVID-19 by the international community was also hit by this virus. The outbreak was first reported by the local government on 27 Dec 2019 and was published on 31 December. The local government of Wuhan and Hubei were widely criticised for the delayed response to viruses and their censorship information during the initial outbreak .
China is the first country that suffered from this pandemic however There is not complete data regarding the devastating impact of COVID-19 in china because the communist party of china strictly regulate media and prevents information to be circulated outside the country.
Many of the political dissenters have reportedly been confined in specific forensic hospitals known as Ankang, operated by the Ministry of Public Security. International man rights groups and Falun Gong organizations abroad believe that hundreds of members of the group have been wrongfully detained in these “hospitals” and claim that some of them have died as a result of their treatment.
Freedom of speech and expression
Freedom of speech and expression is provided under the Indian Constitution . However, this freedom is not absolute. It is subject to reasonable restrictions. Free expression of views and exchange of opinions is the basis of democracy. According to the world press freedom Index 2021 .
India has been placed on 142 positions among 180 countries while China has secured 177 ranks in this Index. This report is based on the freedom of public media, pluralism, media environment and self-censorship and transparency in the news.
Media is considered the fourth pillar of democracy. The work of the media in a democracy is to broadcast news impartially. India is a democratic country and the freedom of the press is implicitly recognised by the Indian constitution. However, sometimes the freedom of speech and expression is curtailed by the state.
China is the third last country in this index with the worst freedom of speech and expression. However, the Chinese constitution recognises freedom of speech and expression. But under the regime of the communist party of china freedom of speech and expression is badly suppressed.
The international community has been criticising China for years. Censorship and restrictions of freedom of speech and expression by China compel media houses not to leak information outside the country due to which all the information regarding the violation of human rights are missed.
The Communist party of China controls all the media houses and publications in China. Anything that is contrary to the ideology of the CPC is censored and restricted. This censorship violates laws under the international human rights law framework. Thus, the international community has maintained a constant call for the CCP to lift its strict control and restore free speech and expression to its citizens.
The Chinese government has created self-censorship and self-regulation which results in the government not giving much information to its citizens. Chinese citizens are self-censored to express their views freely because of the arbitrary governance of the CPC.
The rise of the internet provides China with another platform to censor and regulate the freedom of speech and expression of its citizens. All the internet platforms function under the authority of CPC that restricts the free expression of views.
Recently, Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba expressed his views against arbitrary governance of CPC and raised his concern on the freedom of speech and expression. After that, he is still missing. If the Chinese government does not allow expressing freely to a Billionaire then the question of freedom of expression for a common individual does not arise.
Rights of minorities
According to the Amnesty International report on human rights due to the COVID-19 lockdown, many underprivileged and marginalised communities disproportionately hurt due to lack of food, shelter and health. India declared itself a democratic republic on 26 Jan 1950. In 1950 the majority of Hindus in India were around 90% and the other 10% were Muslims, Sikhs christen and others.
In the last 71 years, India has been mostly ruled by the centrist party IndiaChinesen National Congress (INC) and in the last 7 years, the rightist Party Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) is in power. In the last 71 years, all the important offices of India like President, Prime Minister, Vice President and Chief Justice of India have been served by the Minority citizens.
This is the beauty of democracy that India has. If India is compared in this respect from its neighbour country Pakistan where no minority has served any important office after the independence even minorities are being beaten and killed in the name of religion.
However, In India when disturbance escalates minorities are persecuted. According to the Amnesty International report, the Indian ruling government has banned the internet in Jammu & Kashmir that prevents citizens from expressing their opinions freely. Historically J&K has been the place of terrorism where thousands of Army men and citizens have been killed by suicide bombers in the name of Jihad.
Pulwama attack took place in Pulwama district where a convoy of vehicles carrying Indian security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway was attacked by a vehicle of the suicide bomber that caused the death of 40 Army personals . Terrorism is not only a problem for India But it is the worldwide problem. Therefore, the Indian Government argued that the internet ban was for the countering of terrorism.
Tibet under Chinese rule
Beijing invaded Tibetan territory in 1950 and claimed its sovereignty over it. Before the Beijing invasion, Tibet was an autonomous country; it had its own culture, religion and its system of government. Tibet had diplomatic relations with some countries as well. Since 1950 China has claimed Tibet is a territory of China.
However, Tibetan people do not agree with the sovereignty of China over Tibetan territory. However, China claimed that Tibet has always been a part of Chinese ruling and it liberated them from the feudal-serfdom and pro-imperialist that went against the desire of Tibetan people.
Many Tibetan leaders have been persecuted by china. At present Dalai Lama is the supreme leader under whom leadership Tibetans look for achieving the goal of self-determination . Dalai Lama escaped China in 1958 and struggled for the independence of Tibet. The international community recognises China as part of Chinese territory. However, some countries support the quest of Tibetans for self-determination.
According to Tibetans, China interferes in the religious matters of Tibetans. Before 1976 religious activities were completely banned for Tibetans. But after 1976 they were allowed to worship under the surveillance of Chinese authority. China claims that it has established educational institutions for the development of Tibetans.
Uyghur under Chinese rule
Uyghur is Turkic Muslims who are the residents of Xinjiang province. The persecution of Uyghur Muslims is the result of the Chinese “Sinicization policy” is a policy under which non-Chinese societies and cultures are brought under the influence of Chinese culture.
China sees other cultures as a threat to the Han-Chinese culture, norms and ethnic identity. In January, a CNN investigation examining satellite imagery concluded that over 100 traditional Uyghur cemeteries had been destroyed. Many of them have been converted into public toilets. According to Buzzfeed, more than 250 detention centres have been identified in china that is used to confine Uyghur Muslims.
They are tortured under these detention centres and laboured in the factories under the “Poverty Alleviation” Policy . There are around 10 million Uyghur Muslims in China. All of them are discriminated against only because of their culture and religion. However, China claims that they are just re-educating them through the training centres and eliminating extremism. Wearing a long veil in public places is banned in China.
After the 9/11 incident china started to justify its policy on Uyghur Muslims as part of countering global terrorism, separatism and religious extremism.
According to United Nations Palermo is a United Nations Convention against transnational organised crime human trafficking that involves “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons” by “the use of force or other means of coercion” with the “purpose of exploitation”. Human trafficking is a worldwide concern. In China, migrant workers are the major victim of human trafficking
Human trafficking in persons related to sexual offences is persecuted under the immoral traffic prevention act, (ITPA) 1956. Sec 372 and 373 of the Indian Criminal Code also specifically criminalise child trafficking for sexual exploitation. However, the cases of trafficking in person can be recorded on a wide scale.
Boys and young women are the main victims of human trafficking in India. Women trafficking leads them toward sexual exploitation. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs of India, 96% of victims that were rescued from trafficking were identified as Indian nationals.
In China, migrant workers are the major victim of human trafficking. According to the United Nations, the Inter-Agency Project of human Trafficking in china was reported on a large scale and the study found a correlation between the factors like age and gender with different types of human trafficking.
For example, young boys are trafficked for adoption, women are trafficked for sexual exploitation and the men are trafficked for forced labour. Refugees are the main victims of trafficking in china. Most of them are recruited in forced labour and become victims of sexual exploitation.
Conclusion and Suggestion
India and China are developing economies in the world. The condition of Human Rights is below average in both countries. China is a communist country but factually the Communist Party of China has established its dictatorship over china. There is no opposition in China, anyone who opposes the government policies faces the consequences.
The single-party system is the main reason behind the establishment of the supremacy of the communist party of china. It is the beauty of a multiparty system where everyone has the equal right to express himself freely. Therefore, there must be a strong opposition in China that can criticise the arbitrary action of the ruling government.
Around 90% of China’s population identify themselves as the Han Chinese. They follow similar cultures and traditions that are called Confucianism. There is the commitment of the CPC to assimilate minorities that follow other cultures and religions into Chinese culture.
Religion should always be a personal thing; it should not be a national goal. When it becomes a national goal, it leads to instability in the nation. In such a type of national commitment persecution of minorities is inevitable.
India is a democratic country and the Freedom of Speech and Expression is expressly provided by the constitution of India. A strong opposition is considered as the base of Democracy. Undoubtedly, the quality of freedom and speech of expression in India is better than in China.
However, sometimes the Indian Government fails to maintain the status of the constitution and impose charges of sedition upon those who criticise the government. The role of the judiciary is important in the Indian system of governance as it is considered the protector of the fundamental rights of citizens.
In India judiciary is an Independent constitutional organ whose work is to keep eye on the arbitrary actions of the government. Independence of the judiciary is necessary to protect human rights from the arbitrary acts of the government.
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