C. Raj Kumar on the Origin of Human Rights

Professor C. Raj Kumar is spearheading the initiative to establish India’s first global law school known as the Jindal Global Law School as a part of the proposed O.P. Jindal Global University to be located outside New Delhi (Sonipat, Haryana) and less than an hour from the Supreme Court of India in the heart of New Delhi. He was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, UK, where he obtained his Bachelor of Civil Law degree; a Landon Gammon Fellow at the Harvard Law School, where he obtained his Master of Laws degree, and a James Souverine Gallo Memorial Scholar at the Harvard University. He also obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Delhi, India; and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Loyola College of the University of Madras, India. Professor Kumar has held consultancy assignments in the field of human rights and governance. He is Consultant to the National Human Rights Commission in India. He has been a Consultant to the United Nations University, Tokyo; United Nations Development Programme; and the International Council for Human Rights Policy, Geneva. He has advised the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption in Sri Lanka and the National Human Rights Commission in India on issues relating to corruption and good governance.Professor Kumar’s areas of specialization, include, human rights and development, corruption and governance, law and disaster management, comparative constitutional law and legal education. He has more than hundred publications to his credit and has published widely in journals and law reviews in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan and the U.S.  His three co-edited books are Human Rights and Development: Law, Policy and Governance, Tsunami and Disaster Management: Law and Governance, and Human Rights, Justice and Constitutional Empowerment.

  • Transcript


Kumar: Well, in many ways, I mean, we can easily draw the whole concept of human rights from our understanding of innate rights of people. I mean, we are… rights are not essentially given by state. We have rights, rights are endowed. As natural human beings, we have rights. So what basically the laws and rules and regulations, including the international laws and rules and regulations, does is to give a framework and structure for these rights. So what, in some ways, the concept of natural rights is so innate in human beings that what law does is basically to provide a framework for the enforcement and implementation of these rights. And to understand the contemporary notion of human rights, one could trace to the universal declaration of human rights passed by the United Nations and then toward, after the universal declaration of human rights, there are a number of milestones which the journey of the international community, to attain a certain level of minimum protection of human rights of people, led to the passing of what is known as the International Convention On Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and … Economic and Social and Cultural Rights, and all the way up to “the [Torture] Convention” and, more recently, the one relating to disability. And this journey of the international community to protect rights of people is an evolving and continuing one, as there are violations that occur all around the world on a day-to-day basis, and there is more work to do relating to protecting and promoting human rights.