C. Raj Kumar on the Origin of Human Rights

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.

According to C. Raj Kumar, all human beings have natural rights.

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