Rights and Developing Countries Dissertation

Rights and Developing Countries

Human rights are essential to protect humanity and development. Human rights represent rights of an individual, a community or a society. Human rights violation in the current world has its consequences on the offender. There are organizations that fund human rights activists. The need to uphold human right has made governments formulate policies, create institutions, and laws that promote human rights. Developing countries have policies that protect rights of people in the society. India is one of the developing countries that face challenges in relation to human rights. In India, the issue is unique since it has a very large geographical region and thus; has diverse cultures. The country is a democratic nation, permits secular notions and is a sovereign state (Kieran, 2007). India’s constitution provides for fundamental human rights. Under the constitution, there is provision for freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and this extends to the presence of the three arms of the government that is the executive, the judiciary and the parliament.

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The country also provide for the freedom of movement within the region and abroad. Information on human rights from the library congress of the United States implies that India is not of human rights concern even though human rights problems does exist as compared to other countries, for example, Pakistan. According to a report of the year 2010 by the freedom house India was second in terms of political rights and third in relation to civil liberties; thus making the country earn the highest rating in human rights (Geetanjali, 2009). The same report state that India has significant human rights problems. There have been concerns on the lack of accountability on the part of the security forces. There has been reports that human right activist, workers have been tortured, killed, and even their families affected. There have been abusive acts that citizens of these countries have suffered; there are numerous reports of police brutality, torture and extra judicial killings (Puddington, 2009).

Human right came into practice in the year 1948 when the United Nations passed a resolution. There was recognition that all human beings had rights. At the same period, the United Nations endorsed democracy within nations. The endorsement of the human rights by the United Nations did not consider development. This, therefore, became a basis for debate between the communist states and the west. By the end of the cold war and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union left a mark of western ideas and values. States developed based on their political affiliation. Organizations such as the Amnesty and the human rights watch focused on documenting human rights violation at the civil and the political level (Desai, 2010). This organization does not only focus on human rights violation but cultural, social and economical rights. Western ideas on human rights center on asserting the rights through transparency, accountability duties and responsibilities. This ideology focuses on rights-based approaches.

Moreover, in India, the issue of human rights has undergone many transformations. The practice of ‘sati’ where it was a custom for widows to self-immolation is outdated in India. There were changes of the law to restrain child marriage. There have been several incidences in India that has promoted human right violation for decades. Reforms on policies in relation to land, family and politics have shaped the human rights movement in the country. There have been calls for reforms of the police force to limit corruption and impunity within states (Spipati, 2001). In the year 2006, India’s Supreme Court called for the implementation of reforms in response to human rights violation by the police. Asian centre for human rights: estimate that around four people, in India, die per day in the hands of police. In the year 2009, the high court of Delhi declared a penal cord that outlaws unspecific unnatural sex acts, but it is doing apply to homosexuals in consent.

Transition from Welfare

This model of development is a model originally from the western countries. In this model, poverty is a state of absence of knowledge or public good. In this approach, the state or a non-Governmental organization provide this public commodity. However, millions and billions of dollars poured to such investment has not been a success. The gap between the poor and then rich is always widening. Failures of this model have given rise to a rights-based approach where the poor become right holders instead of charity works (Desai, 2010). The functions of these nongovernmental organizations are to provide frameworks for citizens to overcome barriers, and to give training and tools to promote human rights. The inclusion of human rights in India has led to a development of the meaning of rights.

The word rights bring about a moral resonance with the rhetoric of development thus making anyone unlucky to avoid today’s problems. Rights are entitlements that any human races are rightful holders. In the rights-based approach, it is the responsibility of the government to provide these rights (Kapoor, 2008). Nevertheless, many regimes do not have the capability to cater for all these needs and then non-governmental organizations come in to provide these services. The resources that these organizations provide are in the form of training or in monetary value (Puddington, 2009). Currently, in the world, there are unfulfilled human rights that cause poverty. In India, there are many people living below the poverty line. In assessing health, living standards and well-being, in India, one will note that poverty level is high and overwhelming. This right includes the social and economic rights of an individual also known as the second-generation rights. The first generations of rights that represent the civil and the political rights have dominated in the public domain, in the past decades. However, with poverty in many developing countries the public policy is failing; hence, the need to develop policies that represent economic and social rights. The affluent and rich nations feel that they could help poor nations through charity and towards moral duty imposed through international consensus (Kapoor, 2008). Non-governmental organizations are now using human rights as a driving force to ensure that they promote status quo as it has been during the past period of civil and political rights.

Rights policies in India

International organizations have reported human right abuses, in India, over the decades. A report by the Human Rights watch in the year 1996 accused the military and the police of various human rights violation in the Kashmir region. There had been an incident in the region where, in response to the death of a soldier, the military went to a market destroying stalls and killing innocent civilians. Human rights watch and Amnesty international are some of the human rights organizations in India that have been fighting for people rights (Spipati, 2001). Presence of these organizations has led to the realization of human rights and, therefore the Indian government had to repeal some of its Acts that limit realization of human rights standards.

Freedom of Expression

The constitution of India does not provide for the word freedom but the right of freedom of expression and speech. This freedom is, however, restricted under sub-clause 2 where this right can be restricted on grounds of sovereignty, security of the state, preserving decency or in the case of a friendly relation with another state. Laws relating to the terrorism Act and official secrets Act are a hindrance to press freedom in India (Desai, 2010). Media control by the state has been a hindrance to establishment of the freedom of press in India. Nevertheless, due to the developments and to the increase in media organs in the state, press freedom is bearing fruit. More and more organizations have stood up challenging the government’s influence, therefore, reducing the governments control over the press.

Women Rights

Over the millennia, women in India have been through vast challenges. Things have changed over the last decades that modern women in the country hold high offices. However, women in India continue to suffer from forced prostitution, rape, trafficking, domestic violence, sexual harassment dowry killings and other violations. There have been many campaigns on women empowerment but these efforts seem not to reach all the regions in the country (Agnes, Sudir and Monmayee, 1999).

Sexuality Rights

Until the year 2009, homosexuality was unlawful in India. A penal code was on the use for the last 150 years criminalizing homosexuality. This law was handed down by English colonial masters, however, rarely enforced in the country. Therefore, the ruling in 2009 by the Delhi high court decriminalizing homosexuality argued that the law conflicts with the fundamental freedoms provided for by the constitution of India. Therefore, such criminalization is a violation of the constitution (Geetanjali, 2009). Fundamental or a charter of rights in India contained in the constitution guarantees civil and liberty rights. These rights ensure that Indians live in harmony and in peace. These rights include freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and freedom of religion.

Religious Rights

India is facing constant communal wars between the two religious groups the Hindu and the Muslim community. These communal groupings have been present in India since the colonial times. There have been several incidences where members of these communities have massacred one another. In one occurrence, Islamic militants murdered Hindus in Kerala. There was also an event during the partition of India where people of all religions died in great numbers. The riots and murder in India has brought to light the importance of human rights. Development and knowledge have made India develop policies that are able to safeguard human rights. There is a shift in ideology to previous human rights issues that concentrated on liberty and civil rights to the present model (Stefancic and Delgado, 1992). In the present world, non-governmental organizations have just changed their tactics to remain relevant.


Kieran, M. 2007. “Beyond legalism: towards a thicker understanding of transitional justice.” Journal of Law and Society 34(4), Pp. 411-440.

Kapoor, I.2008. The postcolonial politics of development. New York: Routledge.

Agnes, F. Sudir C, and Monmayee, B.1999. Law and gender inequality: The politics of women’s rights in India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Spipati, V.2001. “Human Rights in India-Fifty Years After Independence.” Denv. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y 26. Pp. 93.

Stefancic, J. And Delgado, R.1992. “Shifting Balance: Freedom of Expression and Hate-Speech Restriction, A.” Iowa L. Rev. 78, Pp. 737.

Puddington, A.2009. “Freedom in the world 2009: Setbacks and resilience.” Freedom House,

availablefrom http://sup.kathimerini.gr/xtra/media/files/kathimerini/pdf/politic130109.pdf

Geetanjali.M. 2009. “Decriminalising homosexuality in India.” Reproductive Health Matters 17(34), Pp.20-28.

Desai, S.2010. Human Development in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

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