• Shreya Goswami


The fundamental normative rules about what is allowed to people or owed to people, the privileges of people and the claims ensured by law, all these are guaranteed under the ‘rights’ provided by a state to its citizens. According to law, rights are ethical principles of freedom or entitlement that are acknowledged by the general public and affirmed by statute. The two key principles on which any just and equal society stand are the Human Rights and the Fundamental Rights. These rights ensure that just social orders are made for the citizens and aim for furnishing people with the way to live and to understand their maximum capacity. Human rights and fundamentals rights, both originate from the idea of a civilized and just society and are an intrinsic part of every individual’s life. Although they are enforced by different bodies and through different legal mechanisms but they aim at providing individuals with the means to live in a dignified way.


The basic rights and freedoms that belong to every individual in the world, from birth are known as Human Rights. These rights apply to everyone regardless of where you belong to, what you believe, or how you chose to live your life. The primary body responsible for the protection and enforcement of universal human rights is The United Nations. Human rights are pertinent to all of us, not just to those who face constraints or mistreatment.

They protect you in many areas of your everyday life, including:

  • your right to have and express your own opinions

  • your right to an education

  • your right to a private and family life

  • your right not to be mistreated or wrongly punished by the state


The Constitution offers all citizens, individually and collectively, some basic freedoms. Fundamental rights are the rights granted by the country’s constitution to all those individuals that fall under the constitution’s jurisdiction. The rights provided are fundamental or basic essential rights required for the existence and overall development of an individual, hence called ‘Fundamental Rights’. These rights are widely accepted in any given society and any individual can go to court if that person feels that their fundamental rights are not being respected. The court can then sue moto (on its own motion) to take the recognition of the violation of a fundamental right. The following fundamental rights are commonly used in countries:

· Right to freedom;

· Right to freedom of religion;

· Education and cultural rights;

· Right to work; and

· Right to freedom from exploitation.


While human rights and fundamental rights appear to be quiet similar, have the same objectives, and sometimes overlap. There some key contrasts that cannot be ignored. Human Rights and Fundamental Rights are actually quite different if their legal nature and enforceability are concerned.

While human rights are outlined in the International Bill of Human Rights, fundamental rights are outlined in every country’s national constitution hence they differ from nation to nation. Each country specifies their own fundamental rights that are built on the principles of individual freedom whereas human rights are based on the idea of civilized societies, aiming at providing the right to a dignified life to each individual. Human rights are universal principles guaranteed at an international level and enforced by the United Nations and other international agencies.

Governments can only imply human rights treaties in their respective countries only if they have ratified relevant conventions. On the other hand, governments and national legal mechanisms have their duty to respect the fundamental rights laid out in their national constitution. Because of the difference in the nature of their legal structure of both the rights, in general, the execution and enforcement of international human rights are more problematic as compared to the implementation of fundamental rights. Although human rights are universal in nature, the jurisdiction of the various covenants and treaties just applies within the countries that have ratified the pertinent conventions and treaties. Further, some international remedies can only be sought once all domestic remedies are depleted.

The international community aims to harmonize the national legislation with internationally accepted standards and norms outlined in treaties. So, whenever a country ratifies the human rights treaty, it is also persuaded to ensure that the laws they are implementing are in line with the international provisions. Through this process, they ensure that just and fair societies are being promoted.


© The People Bookmark | 2020

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