Human Rights Day is observed on 10th December every year across the globe. The aim is to raise awareness among people about the fundamental rights that have been accorded to them. It serves to promote the individual rights to all, irrespective of gender, race, caste, ethnicity, colour, nationality, occupation, and other similar considerations.
Human Rights Day History & Significance
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights came into being on December 10 in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly. This is considered to be the first ever declaration on human rights. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) enacted resolution 423 (V) was passed in 1950 as a mark of formal inception of the International Human Rights Day. This encouraged all governments and relevant organisations to observe Human Rights Day on December 10 every year. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most translated document in the world till date and is available in more than 500 languages, emphasising on the Human Rights Day history.
The widespread atrocities against mankind throughout World War II prioritised the necessity of human rights provisions in place to safeguard human integrity of citizens across the world. Hence, International Human Rights Day seeks to promote and maintain peace that gets disrupted due to human rights violations, inequality, discrimination, and abuse. Human Rights Day significance extends to protecting and upholding national and international laws and treaties throughout the world.
Human Rights Day Celebration & Observance
On World Human Rights Day, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights plays an essential role in organising seminars, public meetings, cultural events and performances, and other educational activities to promote the fundamental rights assured to all citizens.
8 Basic Rights Every Woman Should Be Aware Of
The Constitution of India includes a host of exclusive rights for women to protect their rights against harassment, abuse, inequality, violence, etc. Domestic Violence Act, 2005; the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986; the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956; Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986; the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 being some of them.
Let’s discuss some of the rights here as we draw close towards International Human Rights Day.
1. Right To Maintenance
Maintenance refers to the basic necessities like shelter, food, education, clothes, healthcare facilities, among others. A married woman is entitled to receive maintenance from her husband, even after divorce, until she does not remarry, indulges in adultery, or is unable to substantiate the reason behind leaving her husband. The maintenance amount is decided by the court depending on the standard of living of the wife, income of the husband, and other factors. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is applicable for Hindus only. On the other hand, Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939 pertains to Muslims only.
2. Right To Equal Pay
A female employee is eligible to receive equal compensation as her male counterpart of the same position at the workplace, according to the Equal Remuneration Act. There can also be no discrimination based on gender during recruitment and service conditions.
3. Right To Dignity & Decency
The criminal law provides for punishment of offences committed against women such as Sexual Harassment (Section 354A), Outrage Her Modesty (Section 354), Stalking (354D), voyeurism (Section 354C), among others. In case the accused is a woman, her arrest and search will be undertaken by women police officers and her medical examination has to be done by women medical officers. In case of rape, the FIR should be registered by a women police officer. A woman can be arrested only after sunrise and before sunset, unless special permission has been taken from the magistrate by a women police officer.
4. Right Against Domestic Violence
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 does not only protect women from physical abuse but sexual, mental, and economic abuse as well. Daughters, wives, and live-in partners, that is, any woman inhabiting a man, is covered under the provisions of this Act. Under Section 498A of the Act, the husband or his relatives are punished with imprisonment that can extend to 3 years, along with a fine.
5. Rights At The Workplace
Every woman employee has the right to a lady’s toilet at her workplace. Asking for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks and whistles, singing obscene songs directed at her, touching inappropriately, showing pornography are all interpreted as sexual harassment, punishable by imprisonment ranging between 1 to 3 years.
6. Right Against Dowry
Offering and receiving dowry by a bride or bridegroom or by their parents before, during or after a marriage, paid directly or indirectly, is penalised by Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. Dowry can be in the form of cash or kind. It does not include mahr or dower in the case of people for whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies. People found guilty under this Act is punishable with a minimum imprisonment of 5 years and a minimum fine of Rs 15,000.
7. Right To Free Legal Aid
If you are considered to be an aggrieved woman under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, irrespective of whether you can afford legal assistance or not, you can claim free legal aid. Legal services pertain to assisting in the conduct of any case or other legal proceedings before the Court or tribunal or authority.
8. Right Of Private Defense / Self-Defense
The right to self-defense empowers a woman to cause grievous hurt or even death to protect herself from harm or someone else’s body from the assailant. However, this will not be considered a punishable offence only in circumstances where a woman feels like the assailant may cause death or grievous hurt, kidnap or abduct, or rape.
World Human Rights Day makes an effort to make people across the world know about the fundamental rights that the international and national legal bodies seek to ensure every citizen. It is for us to make the most of the provisions that we are entitled to, for our welfare.
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