Human Rights in Developing Countries by muddassiralikhan


									Human Rights in Developing Countries

         Muddassir Ali Khan
      M.A International Relations
           Roll No. 48 (Eve)

      Department of International Relations
               Human Rights in Developing Countries



The concept of human rights

History of human rights

Human rights regulations

Human rights and world politics

Human rights and developing countries

Human rights problems in developing countries

      Child labor

      Women’s rights

      Poverty and human rights

      Refugee’s issue and human rights


The concept of human rights derives primarily from the United Nations charter, which
was adopted in 1945 immediately after the Second World War. The UN was determined
to ‘reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in dignity and worth of human person, in
the equal rights of men and women, and of nations large and small’. In 1948 the general
assembly of UN adopted the universal declaration of human rights, which sets out a list
of human rights ‘as a common standard of achievement for all people. The list includes
such civil and political rights as those to freedom from slavery, torture, arbitrary arrest,
and detention, freedom of religion, expression, and association, and a number of
economic and social rights, such as the rights to education and an adequate standard of
living. These rights were intended to protect everyone from tyrannical governments.

       The countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa formed the majority of those that
produced the declaration; many of the world’s people lived at that time under colonial
rule, and were thus excluded from this process. The concept of human rights was
derived from a western philosophical tradition, and was shaped mainly by European
historical experience. Colonialism was itself condemned for its human rights violations,
and when worldwide decolonization brought many new states to the UN, the post-
colonial states accepted human rights in principle, although their priorities differed from
those of the west, emphasizing self-determination, development, economic and social
rather than civil and political rights , anti-racism.

       Disagreements about which human rights should be legally binding led to the
adoption of two UN human rights covenants in 1966: the international covenant on civil
and political rights and the international covenant of economic, social and cultural rights.
The UN’s world conference on human rights, held in Vienna in 1993, declared all human
rights to be ‘indivisible and interdependent’. Now, each covenant has been ratified by
more than 80 per cent of the UN’s member states.

       The UN has adopted several more specialized conventions. There are also
regional human rights conventions, although these do not cover the whole world,
especially the Middle East and Asia. The European convention on human rights was
adopted in 1950; the American convention on human rights in 1969; and the African
charter on human and peoples’ rights in 1981.

       Many developing countries have poor human rights records. There are internal
explanations including poverty, ethnic tensions, and authoritarian government; some of
the internal problems of developing countries are legacies of colonialism. The external
explanations include support for dictatorships by the great powers, especially during the
cold war, and the global economic system, which many believe is biased against
developing countries, and thereby hinders their capacity to develop the institutions
necessary to protect human rights. Developing countries have been vulnerable both to
military coups and to ethnic conflict.

The concept of human rights

Human rights are rights of a special kind. The concept of ‘rights’ is derived from that of
‘right’. Right is distinguished form wrong, and all societies have standard of right and
wrong. Rights are sometime called ‘subjective’ because they ‘belong’ to individuals and
groups who are the ‘subjects’ of rights. Thus subjective rights are entitlements, and
differ from objective concepts such as ‘rights’ by emphasizing the just claims of the
rights-holder. The idea of subjective rights is often said to be distinctively western and
relatively modern.

       Human rights are commonly defined as the rights that everyone has simply
because they are human. Philosophically, this is problematic, because it is not clear
why anyone has rights is needed to justify this belief. Legally, it is also problematic,
because some human rights are denied to some humans: for example, the to liberty is
denied to those who have committed serious crimes. Politically, human rights are those
rights that have generally been recognized by us with an authoritative list of human
rights, but it is difficult to distinguish precisely between human rights, other rights, and
other social values. It may, however, be important to do so, because people
increasingly claim as their human rights what may not be human rights, or not be rights
at all, but social benefits or merely what people happen to want.
       The two 1966 convents distinguish between two categories of human rights: civil
and political rights, on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights, on the
other. Western government tends to give priority to the first type, while developing
countries tend to give priority to the second. The distinction itself is, however,
controversial: the right to property, for example, is often regarded as a civil rather than
an economic right, which seems absurd. The Vienna declaration 1993 sought to
overcome the distinction y proclaiming that all human rights are ‘indivisible’. This idea
has become increasingly influential as the United Nations. Its member governments,
and international institutions, such as the World Bank, have come to recognize that
neglect of human rights is at least sometimes a barrier to development. It is now also
often said that there are three generations of rights: the two types already mentioned
constitute the and second generations, while there is third generation, consisting of
‘solidarity’ rights, such as the right to development. These distinctions are also
controversial, both because the reference to generations misrepresents the history of
human rights, and because the meaning and value of third-generation human rights are

History of human rights

Human rights are a product of a philosophical debate that has raged for over two
thousand years within the European societies and their colonial descendants. This
argument has focused on a search for moral standards of political organization and
behavior that is independent of the contemporary society. In other words, many people
have been unsatisfied with the notion that what is right or good        is simply what a
particular society or ruling elite feels is right or good at any their rulers over time and
from place to place. Fierce debate raged among political philosophers as this issue was
argued through. While a path was paved by successive thinkers that lead to
contemporary human rights, a second lane was laid down at the time by those who
resisted this direction. The emergence of human rights from natural rights traditions did
not come without opposition, as some argued that rights could only from the law of a
particular society and could not come from any natural or inherent source. The essence
of this debate continues today from seeds sown by previous generations of

Human rights regulations

The universal declaration of human rights in 1948 did not emerge from a vacuum. It was
presented as the latest in a series of acts, covenants and declarations aimed at
securing certain rights for citizens in various countries. These acts, covenants and
declarations which are usually traced back to the English Magna Carta of 1215 have
almost always emerged as strategic responses to social and political upheaval. The
Magna Carta was signed by King John merely to serve as a pact between the king and
his unhappy barons, and was not in any respect intended to serve as a declaration of
rights for all citizens, but its very necessity reflected the uncertainty of the times. The
English Bill of Rights, of 1688-89 which was the first document to use the language of
rights and which introduced the system of free elections was merely intended to ensure
that royal absolutism was firmly dissolved in favor of the monarchs accountability to
Parliament, not the people. Nevertheless, these events were significant in so far as they
influenced the establishment of the idea of the rule of law.

       Of greater significance, perhaps, were the American Declarations of 1776-1789,
and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen of 1789. Once again,
these historical documents were drafted and signed in the aftermath of great social and
political upheavals, bloody revolutions designed to bring to an end colonial rule, in the
case of America, and the absolute monarchism of the ancient regime, in the case of
France. Both Declarations upheld the existence of inalienable rights as an absolute
truth, drawing on the philosophies of Locke and Kant, and Rousseau’s concept of the
general will. As Cassese rightly points out, the language of the American and French
Declarations is rooted in a particular model of man and society. For those Declarations,
he writes, man … is worthy of being called man only of he fulfils these conditions to be
free, equal, or have undisturbed enjoyment of his property, not to be oppressed by a
tyrannous government and to be able freely to realize himself. They are based, he
suggests on a model of society comprised of free individual equal with one another …
and subject only to the law, which in turn is and must be an expression of general will
political institutions should exist only as a means of realizing the freedom of the
individuals and their common good. However, one important distinction that can be
made is that the French Declaration prioritized individuals rights, while the American
Declarations paid more attention to be common good.

       Thus, both the French and American Declarations were attempts to protect the
rights of individual citizens according to a set of moral principles which might be applied
to all persons, whether citizens of those countries or not. It would perhaps be fair to
have assumed that, following these Declaration as well as the emerging international
relations following the Peace of Westphalia, human rights and international law would
have taken centre stage during the nineteenth century. However, as Forsythe points
out, between 1845 and 1945 the language of human rights was largely absent from the
various morally oriented and progressive developments, such as the abolition of the
slave trade and the establishment of humanitarian group such as the Red Cross and the
International Labor Organization. Human rights remained largely a national rather than
international matter. While the League of Nations, which was established after the First
World War, did set up certain important agencies in respect of refugees, slavery and so
on it rarely discussed the issue of human rights per se. The United State Charter written
in 1945 at the end of the Second World War recognized the importance of human rights
but provided little means to actually protect them. The first significant document to
provide a general framework for subsequent international human rights law was the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, about which we will say more below.

Human rights and world politics

While it is true that attempts have been made to uphold human rights (as universal
principles) in nation-state law – from the American and French declaration to the United
Kingdom human rights Act 2000 the task of regulating human rights has primarily fallen
to the international political community. Indeed, the emergence of human rights in
international law has paralleled the evolution of the international political community.
The modern history of international relations effectively began with the signing of the
peace of Westphalia in 1648. ‘ this was the first formal peace treaty, signed at the end
the thirty years ’ war , between major European states, aimed at bringing to an end the
religious-led conflict that had plagued the continent . in effect, the peace of Westphalia
redrew the map of Europe, dividing it up between the major states into identifiable,
bordered spaces. The first move towards ‘international government’ took place as early
as 1814-1824, when the Holy Alliance was formed between Austria, great Britain ,
Prussia, and Russia, after these great powers had achieved victory over Napoleonic
France. Subsequent development – the formation of the League of Nations in 1919 and
its successor, the United Nations, in 1945 – will be discussed in greater depth below.

       For scholars of international relations, human rights have always posed important
questions about the nature of world politics. The ideas of human rights are, after all,
born out of a liberal tradition which locates the individual as the central unit of analysis.
However, the dominant perspective in understanding world politics has traditionally
been realism, which, as we saw briefly in the introduction, focuses instead on the
centrality of state sovereignty. is it possible, then , to reconcile the two, to attempt, as
forsythia does, to bring human rights to the fore in a realist world?

       Realism, as was mentioned in the introduction, adopts a neo-Hobbesian view of
the world. Thomas Hobbes had argued that there is an innate human nature which is
violent, greedy and selfish, and that the state is created out of mutual self- interest.
Individuals surrender much of their freedom in return for protection from the state, which
is necessarily strong and which assumes centralized control of the means of violence.
Realists take this Hobbesian model and multiply it, viewing the world as multiplicity of
strong, centralized nation-states. However, just as Hobbesian individualists see
[peoples as inherently violent, relists take it for granted that states act in much the same
way. Thus the world of international relations is in effect a world of conflict and
negotiations, in which the stronger actors achieve the greater share of power. with
regard to matters of human rights, or indeed and matters of international law or justice ,
realists are at best skeptical, at worst utterly dismissive. International law is unfeasible
because states do not adhere to it. Furthermore, points out according to realists, the
primary concern for rationally acting states is the maintenance of security through the
calculation of power relations – the task of upholding individual rights is best left to
charitable organizations.
The Hobbesian model, which presumes state sovereignty, is under contemporary
globalised conditions open to criticism on their levels.

       Although these charges made against realism seem fair, it is too early to
presume the triumph of liberalism, partly because, despite the increasing significance of
non-state actors in world politics, nation-states still retain pride of place. The misnamed
United Nations is, after all, comprised of representatives of states. Nevertheless,
liberalism offers a more positive response to the question of human rights then does
realism. In place of the cynical Hobbesianism, liberalism borrows more from the
philosophy of John Locke. Locke, of course, saw the state as a relatively weak actor
which serves primarily to uphold the interests of private citizens. If necessary, it
attributes between interests, and sometimes, but rarely, it regulates them. It works to
protect the security, freedom and property of its members of its members. However, the
power in this relationship rests with the citizen. In this classical since, liberalism
presumes 0 following Adam smith and in manner not dissimilar to behaviorist accounts
– that humans are by their nature economic actors. Thus the primary interest which
requires satisfying is that of citizen as bourgeois. Classical liberalism derives from the
ground braking texts of smith and David Ricardo. Smith wrote of the ‘invisible hand’ of
the market which was a driving force in political and social relations, including those
between nation-states. Thus, economic activity is paramount and any attempt by the
state or any other institution to regulate the economy is damaging to prosperity and
progress. According to Hobson, there are three basic premises of the state must adapt
to meet the needs of individuals. Second, that in the international arena, states conform
to a ‘practical rationality’ to achieve a world of consensus; states thus have considerable
power in the international realm which is a ‘realm of possibility’. Third, that there are
‘appropriate institutions’ capable of carrying out this task. So, while the state is minimal
in terms of intervention, it can perform a more positive role as an arbiter of international

       It general terms, liberalism is synonymous with pluralism, in so far as it
recognizes that there are multiple interests competing for resources and interests
comparing for recourses and influence in world society. The pluralism perspective
necessarily critiques the Hobbesian one, which seems to presuppose that the only
political relationship one has is with the state. Individuals can, it points out , exercise
their political power through different agencies – as individuals, as members of interest
groups such as trade unions, as consumers, and so on. However, liberals have faith
inappropriate institution’. In contrast, through to the realists liberal like Hedley bull would
maintain that international law is both possible and functional, if it is supported and
enforced by states. In other words, when used in pursuit of international justice, war is
not a condition of anarchy but a rational and effective state option.

There are, of course, alternative positions within the study of world politics which one
needs to take into account. For example, Marxists, like liberal, criticize realists for
looking at the state as if it exists in a vacuum, isolated from time and space,
uncontextualised in relation to other factors, such as the economy. Traditionally,
Marxists have understood the state as a tool of the capitalist economy. They have
pointed out that power actually lies with the dominant economic players, and not with
the state per se. more recently, writers such as André Gundry frank and Immanuel wall
Erstein have used concepts influenced by Marxism to show, contra liberalism, that the
system of international relations is necessarily as a system of inequality because of the
uneven distribution of wealth. Some countries are which because others are poor and
vice versa. This is an important position to understand, because it is necessarily born
out of a traditional Marxist perspective on human rights; that is , that individual human
(i.e. civil and political) rights are meaningless unless they can be exercised within
favorable social and economic conditions.

Human rights problems in developing countries

Human rights problems in developing countries are an important issue. The developing
countries have faced many challenges in the field of human rights, these countries do
not have strong economic for fulfill and enforcement the human rights. On the other
hand the developed countries do not have some economic problems. In less-developed
countries poverty, these some factors are cause to create human rights problems, in
which, it’s internally political situation, and absence of law and order, the government
influence, and as well as the awareness of human rights and its education.
There are some issues or problems who faced by the developing countries. These
problems are also creating hurdle in the way of enforcement of human rights in the
developing counties.

Child labor

Child labor is a pervasive problem throughout the world, especially in developing
countries. Africa and Asia together account for over 90 percent of total child
employment. Child labor is especially prevalent in rural areas where the capacity to
enforce minimum age requirements for schooling and work is lacking. Children work for
a variety of reasons, the most important being poverty and the induced pressure upon
them to escape from this plight. Though children are not well paid, they still serve as
major contributors to family income in developing countries. Schooling problems also
contribute to child labor, whether it is the inaccessibility of schools or the lack of quality
Education which spurs parents to enter their children in more profitable pursuits.
Traditional factors such as rigid cultural and social roles in certain countries further limit
educational attainment and increase child labor.

       Working children are the objects of extreme exploitation in terms of toiling for
long hours for minimal pay. Their work conditions are especially severe, often not
providing the stimulation for proper physical and mental development. Many of these
children endure lives of pure deprivation. However, there are problems with the intuitive
solution of immediately abolishing child labor to prevent such abuse. First, there is no
international agreement defining child labor, making it hard to isolate cases of abuse, let
alone abolish them. Second, many children may have to work in order to attend school
so abolishing child labor may only hinder their education. Any plan of abolishment
depends on schooling. The state could help by making it worthwhile for a child to attend
school, whether it be by providing students with nutritional supplements or increasing
the quality and usefulness of obtaining an education. There must be an economic
change in the condition of a struggling family to free a child from the responsibility of
working. Family subsidies can help provide this support.
                                                                        198      198
                                                            Region                     1990
Distribution of Economically Active Children under 15                    0       5
Years of Age                                                 Africa     17.0   18.0    21.3

                                                           Americas     14.7     5.6    na

                                                              Asia      77.8   75.9    72.3
(Percent of total world child labor)
                                                            Europe      0.3      0.2   0.1

                                                            Oceania     0.2      0.2   0.2

                                                                 Source: ILO1993.
                                                           Note: na...not available

                                                                       Table 1
Women’s rights

Women’s rights around the world are an important indicator to understand global well-
being. A major global women’s rights treaty was ratified by the majority of the world’s
nations a few decades ago. Yet, despite many successes in empowering women,
numerous issues still exist in all areas of life, ranging from the cultural, political to the
economic. For example, women often work more than men, yet are paid less; gender
discrimination affects girls and women throughout their lifetime; and women and girls
are often are the ones that suffer the most poverty.

       Many may think that women’s rights are only an issue in countries where religion
is law, such as many Muslim countries. Or even worse, some may think this is no longer
an issue at all. But reading this report about the United Nation’s Women’s Treaty and
how an increasing number of countries are lodging reservations will show otherwise.

       Gender equality furthers the cause of child survival and development for all of
society, so the importance of women’s rights and gender equality should not be
Poverty and human rights

The poorest 46 percent of humankind have 1.2 percent of global income and their
purchasing power per person per day is less than that of $2.15 in the US in 1993; 826
million of them do not have enough to eat. One-third of all human deaths are from
poverty-related causes: 18 million annually, including 12 million children under five.

At the other end of the spectrum, the 15 percent of humankind in the developed
countries have 80 percent of global income. Some researchers argue that shifting 1 or 2
percent of the wealthy states' share toward poverty eradication is morally compelling.
Yet most of the affluent believe that they have no such responsibility. The gives
analyses that how our "moral and economic theorizing and our global economic order"
have adapted to make us appear disconnected from mass poverty abroad. Dispelling
the illusion, they also offer a normative standard of global economic justice and makes
detailed, realistic proposals toward fulfilling it.

Refugee’s issue and human rights

From the initial crisis in post-war Europe, through the cold war and the decolonisation
struggles, to the contemporary ‘identity-based conflict built around religion, ethnicity,
nationality, race, clan, language or region’, the nature of the refugee problem has
altered dramatically during the second half of the twentieth century. The wars are more
often than not being fought out not between but within nation states, and process of
genocide, ethnic cleansing, and territorial division are intimately connected to the
destabilization of national identities associated with globalization. Ethnic groups
spanning vast regions and crossing nation-state borders challenge the presumed
authenticity of those borders, and the cultures they purport to sustain. If processes of
globalization threaded these borders in all walks of life, they are particularly challenging
for those concerned with the plight of refugees, as the UNHCR recognizes:

The current structure of refugee protection was designed was designed in and for a
state-centric system. Under the terms of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, a refugee
is a person who cannot avail himself or herself the protection of his or own state,
and who has crossed and international boundary marking the limits of the
sovereign territory of that state. One is forced to question the relevance of nations
such as sovereignty and national frontiers as states lose much of their ability to control
what crosses their borders as well as what goes on within them.

According to Jurgen Habermas, the contemporary refugee crisis is the result of the
global economic imbalance, between the richer nations of the west and poorer ones of
the south and east. Certainly, there has been a significant transformation in the
conditions which result in the mobilization of refugees, from political causes such as
flight from repression to economic and environmental ones which reflect the structural
imbalance in the world economic system. Habermas suggests that the only way to ‘sure’
this crisis in through the establishment of competitive economic systems in these parts
of the world, the prospects for which are not good. In other words, it is time for the
international political community to adopt a more structural approach, to deal not with
the refugee crisis in isolation, but with its intrinsic relationship to other human rights
concerns, including political oppression, civil war, and poverty, and environmental
concerns as well.


The topic of human rights in developing countries analysis the problems and conditions
of human rights in developing countries. These countries face many problems like, the
rights of women’s, the child labor issue in these countries, refugee’s problems, and as
well as their poor economy to sustain and enforce human rights in these countries. On
the other hand poverty in this countries also decline the rights of human.

Peter Burnell and Vicky Randall (2005), ‘Politics in the Developing World’. Oxford,
United States.

Daren J O’Byrne (2008), ‘Human Rights: An Introduction’. Pearson Education. India.

Faraaz Siddiqi and Harry Anthony Patrinos’, ‘CHILD LABOR: ISSUES, CAUSES AND

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