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Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018

Context:

  • A new amendment Bill for Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 has been recently approved by the Union Cabinet

Background:

  • 28th January, 1993: The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was enforced.
  • Please note: Human rights are standards that allow all people to live with:
    • Dignity,
    • Freedom,
    • Equality, and
    • Justice.
  • 12th October, 1993: The National Human Rights Commission was constituted.
  • 4th, April-2018: The Union Cabinet approved the Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018.

The provisions of Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 are:

  • Include “National Commission for Protection of Child Rights” as deemed Member of the Commission,
  • Add a woman Member in the composition of the Commission,
  • Enlarge the scope of eligibility and scope of selection of Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission as well as the State Human Rights Commission,
  • Incorporate a mechanism to look after the cases of human rights violation in the Union Territories, and
  • Amend the term of office of Chairperson and Members of National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission to make it in consonance with the terms of Chairperson and Members of other Commissions.

 Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 is important because:

  • It seeks to make National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) more compliant with the Paris Principle (Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions) pertaining to its autonomy, independence and wide-ranging functions.
  • It is in perfect sync with the agreed global standards.
  • It strengthens the Human Rights Institutions of India further for effective discharge of their mandates, roles and responsibilities.
  • It seeks to make National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) more compliant with the Paris Principle (Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions) pertaining to its autonomy, independence and wide-ranging functions.
  • The provision of women member in the composition of commission will make it gender sensitive.
  • Please note: As per ‘The Paris Principles’, a national institution should be able to promote and protect human rights.
  • The composition of a national institution and the appointment of its members should be done in accordance with a procedure to ensure inclusive representation of the civil society, involved in the protection and promotion of human rights.

Human rights are important because:

  • It reflects the minimum standards necessary for people to live with dignity.
  • It gives people the freedom to choose:
    • How they live,
    • How they express themselves, and
    • What kind of government they want to support, among many other things.
  • It guarantees people the means necessary to satisfy their basic needs, such as food, housing, and education.

Upholding Human Rights:

  • According to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, governments have the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights.
  • However, governments are not solely responsible for ensuring human rights.
  • Businesses, civil society, and individuals are also responsible for promoting and respecting human rights.

Conclusion:

  • Thus, the provisions of Protection of Human Rights (Amendments) Bill, 2018 seems promising enough for the better protection and promotion of human rights in the country.
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