Human Rights vs Fundamental Rights
It has become fashionable to talk about human rights and their violation in many parts of the world. State repression and use of violence to deny basic human rights to its population or a section of the population on religious or other grounds is not tolerated these days, especially by international media and international organizations like INHRC and UNHRC that are performing the duties of a watchdog. But is there any difference in the human rights as talked by these organizations and fundamental rights that are guaranteed by constitutions of some countries of the world to its citizens? Let us take a closer look at both.
If you are a consumer, you have rights. If you are a seller, you have certain rights. But what about your rights as a human being? This is what prompted United Nations to think along the lines of universal rights for all human beings, whether they live in advanced countries or in poor, underdeveloped countries of the world. Despite all the soul searching and brainstorming, there has been no consensus among the nations of the world as to what constitute these basic human rights. In the US itself, it was left to the untiring efforts of Martin Luther King (who in turn was inspired by M. K. Gandhi’s struggle to fight for the right of the Indians) to fight for the rights of blacks in a society dominated on all fronts by whites.
The concerted efforts by western, advanced countries led by the US in the 70’s led to the human rights movement that gained momentum in the coming decades and the situation today is such that wherever there is violation or suppression of these rights in any part of the world, organizations such as UNHRC, INHRC, and Amnesty international work overtime and pressurize the international community to help restore these rights of the people in the affected country.
Fundamental rights are rights and freedoms guaranteed by constitutions of some countries of the world to their citizens. These rights have a legal sanction and can be challenged by affected individuals in a court of law. Among these rights are the right to life, liberty (of freedom, free will and personal), pursuit of happiness, and so on. These rights are considered to be the most basic rights and are provided to all citizens of the country without any discrimination. There are other fundamental rights such as the right to profess faith, right to movement across the country, right to freedom of speech and belief, and so on.
What is the difference between Human Rights and Fundamental Rights?
Fundamental rights are similar to human rights but are different in the sense that they have legal sanction and are enforceable in a court of law whereas human rights do not have such sanctity and are not enforceable in courts. Then there is difference of universal appeal because fundamental rights are country specific that have been made keeping in mind the history and culture of a country whereas human rights are designed in such a way that they are of even more basic nature and apply to all human beings across the world without any discrimination. The right to a dignified human life is one such human right which cannot be questioned whether you are in US or in a poor African country.
Human Rights vs Fundamental Rights
• Human rights are relatively new while fundamental rights enshrined by constitutions of various countries are older
• While there is no consensus on universal human rights, fundamental rights are specific and have legal sanction
• Human rights are more basic in nature than fundamental rights and apply to all human beings on the face of the earth whereas fundamental rights are country specific.
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