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  • Dr Navin C Naidu

Human and humane rights

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.

– Nelson Mandela, South African President


Our rights and privileges are not derived from written constitutions or laws but through the expression and principal purpose of human dignity. Respect for human dignity, Ronald Dworkin (1931-2003), the American constitutional advocate and jurist stated, entails two requirements: self-respect, i.e., taking the objective importance of your own life seriously; and authenticity, i.e., accepting a personal responsibility for identifying what counts as success in your own life.

Laws become acutely and painfully necessary when you fail to take charge, be responsible, accountable and response-able if you believe in human dignity as a sword and a shield.


In India, human dignity demands the systematic abolishment of the wretched caste system. It took hundreds of years of toil and labour by thinkers and philosophers to irk the politicians to get rid of this social and cultural cancer. The atheists have had a field day denying and doubting God who plausibly turned a Nelson’s eye to the plight of the so-called Untouchables.


Written laws and constitutions illustrate dichotomy that tend to erode rights when couched in uncertain terms and awkward language. For example, an Act of Parliament, according to Article 149 Federal Constitution (FC), can suspend basic constitutional rights granted and guaranteed by Articles 5, 9, 10 and 13 FC when public order or the nation’s security are purportedly threatened. Parliamentary supremacy?


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