Tag Archives: Freedom

“My definition of freedom takes account of every right mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. I also include in this definition the freedom from sectarian blind faith. The rights and freedoms mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are the physical aspect of freedom and the freedom from sectarian blind faith is its psychological and academic aspect. The goal of physical as well as psychological and academic freedom can be reached right the way through the mysticism, that is to say the mystical experience of Ultimate Reality or the God Almighty..” – Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’

Holocaust education in the Netherlands

(Matthys van Raalten)*

The Holocaust-lessons their primary goal should be that the youth reflects upon what has caused it. The ever-expanding presence of Muslim-youth will create more and more obstacles to honorably commemorating the event.

What the youth should get from it, is that it was the hatred of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, evangelical preachers, communists and others that have put the murder machine in motion.

Thus not: criticism of a religion, denunciation of certain sexual behaviors, criticism of a nomadic way of life, criticism of communism or whatever. None of these, but the propagation of hatred against innocent human beings.

The Muslim youth must learn that whoever finds him- or herself on Dutch territory, should show respect for our tradition of speaking honorably about the Holocaust. And that means, that denial, putting the blame for the event on a Zionist conspiracy or disgustingly cheering that it happened can all lead to exclusion from our community: literally.

* Matthys van Raalten is a conservative political activist from Amsterdam. Follow him on Twitter: ‘Mars Vigila’. His blog: – Mars Vigila.

Innocent Until Proved Guilty

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

Article 11
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

(The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations)

The Part 1 of the article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations says:

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in fact further expands the rights given in Article 10.

Even if a person is indicted with a penal crime, he has the right to be considered innocent until proved guilty.

It is possible that an innocent person is accused of punishable offences. If he is considered guilty even without trial, it is a violation of his basic human rights. One needs to understand the difference between an ‘accused’ and a ‘guilty’. The legal system is supposed to punish a ‘guilty’, not an ‘accused’. First, the offences made by an ‘accused’ should be proven according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence, and if he is proved ‘guilty’, he should be punished accordingly.

‘All the guarantees necessary for a defense’ has been mentioned in the 3rd point of Article 14 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in these words: –

3. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:

(a) To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him;

(b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing;

(c) To be tried without undue delay;

(d) To be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be informed, if he does not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance assigned to him, in any case where the interests of justice so require, and without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient means to pay for it;

(e) To examine, or have examined, the witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

(f) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court;

(g) Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt.

The Part 2 of the article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says:

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

We need to understand this part carefully.

It is possible that an action is considered no crime at a particular time; however on a later stage the same action is considered a criminal act under any national or international law.

For example, according to the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, killing a tiger is a criminal offence.

However, if any person had killed a tiger before the passing of this law, he cannot be tried under this penal code.

According to the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the minimum imprisonment prescribed is three years which may extend up to seven years.

Now, suppose a person kills a tiger in India. Maximum imprisonment prescribed is seven years according to the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. After he committed the crime, suppose the Indian government amends the law and extends imprisonment up to 14 years. The accused when proved guilty cannot be given imprisonment for 14 years. It is simply because when he committed the crime, the maximum punishment was seven years in prison.

In case, he is imprisoned for more than seven years, it is a violation of his basic human rights, according to the Article 11 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Failure to Implement Universal Declaration

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’) December 10, 2013

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This Declaration was the first international acknowledgment that all human beings have basic rights and freedoms.

65 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, position of human rights has not been changed very much. Even after 65 years, ordinary people of so many countries do not know what human rights are. No concrete steps have been taken to stop human rights abuses worldwide. The United Nations and various governments should realise that it is their failure and they cannot run away from their accountability.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

It is the time for the UN, governments, human rights organisations and individual human rights defenders to sit together and make an effective plan for implementation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If we do not make suitable efforts in this direction, the state of affairs of human rights and freedom will not change in next 65 years either.

What You Tolerate Today Will Go On Tomorrow

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

What you tolerate today will go on tomorrow. In fact, tomorrow, it will be more difficult and harder to get rid of. If you are prepared to let this go on, it will go on. It will continue on, only if you continue allowing it to happen.

You had been deceived yesterday. You are cheated today. And, you will be defrauded tomorrow as well, because you are allowing yourself to be defrauded today.

Yesterday, you allowed an evil cultist to fool you on the name of religion. Yesterday, you let a racist to dupe you on the name of race. Yesterday, you permitted a hatemonger to deceive you on the name of language. Yesterday, you agreed to a politician to fool you on the name of nationality. Yesterday, you tolerated a bigot to bamboozle you on the name of gender. And, all those things are happening even today. They are happening today, because you allowed them to happen yesterday. And, sorry to say, they will be happening tomorrow as well, because you are allowing them to take place today.

You have been cheated, because you are cheating yourself.

Today, rapists are raping innocent daughters and sisters in all over the world. Today, well-organised and state-sponsored terrorists are killing civilians on the name of religion. Today, human rights are abused in so many countries. Today, extremist forces are attacking peaceful societies. Today, evil and inhuman ideologies are trying to wipe out every kind of freedom. And, it will be happening tomorrow as well, because we have allowed it to happen today.

However, you can choose right now to change your direction. You can choose right now to change your future. You can choose. You have the right to do so. You should do it.

You cannot change your ‘yesterday’. You can try to make your ‘tomorrow’ better, only if you perfectly transform your ‘today’. Today is trying to get your thought. If you turn a blind eye to this, if you do not amend this ‘today’, it is will go away forever. It will turn into ‘yesterday’, and you can under no circumstances change your ‘yesterday’.

Social Norms Are Always Changing

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

Chandu was a high official in Mogul royal court during the rule of King Jahangir in Delhi, India. After the engagement of his daughter with (Guru) Hargobind Sahib Ji, the son of Sri Guru Arjun Dev Ji, the fifth Guru of Sikhs, he (Chandu) used disrespectful words for the Guru. Sikhs there heard these words and felt very humiliated. They asked Guru Ji not to accept this marriage proposal. Guru Arjun Dev Ji did what Sikhs wanted.

The marriage between Chandu’s daughter and (Guru) Hargobind Sahib never took place. As was the norm of the upper caste Hindu society of those days, Chandu’s daughter remained unmarried till death.

It was unacceptable for an upper caste Hindu woman in those days to think of any other man, once her name is associated with a man. Once a woman is engaged with a man, no other man would marry her in case her engagement is broken. Such were the norms.

In those days, it was impossible for a Hindu widow to get remarried. Sikh Gurus encouraged marriages of widows, so that they could start their new lives. It was intentional change in social norms.

In this day and age, we can observe how the Indian traditional society has changed itself. Broken engagements, or even broken marriages are not a taboo anymore for girls, despite the fact that many people still exist who are not pleased with these transforms.

On a social network website, I came across a message in Hindi, which goes like this: –

In previous days, girls used to say, “I first passed B.A. 1, then B.A. 2, and then B.A. Final. Or, I first Passed B.Com 1, then B.com 2, and then B.com Final. Or, I first cleared B.Sc. 1, then B.Sc 2, and then B.Sc. Final.” Now-a-days, a modern girl says, “I first had my engagement (first), then my engagement (second), and then my engagement Final.”

While many socially respected families till today take it very humiliating if their daughter’s engagement is broken, many others do not take much notice of it. Girls are married even three or four times and they are almost accepted in ordinary society.

This news is now old that a film actress in Mumbai had a baby from a foreigner cricketer even without marriage. More and more people are adopting live-in relationships, even if such relationships have not been socially accepted in a big part of India.

However, it seems that social norms are now going further with more changes. In the landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India framed guidelines for bringing live-in relationship within the expression ‘relationship in the nature of marriage’ for protection of women under the Domestic Violence Act. The Supreme Court says that live-in relationship is neither a crime nor a sin and Parliament should frame law for the protection of women in such relationships and children born out of it.

The Right to A Fair Trial

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

In every community and country, it is common that civil as well as criminal disputes arise between two or more parties. Criminals are born in every part of the world. It is required that crimes must be stopped. If a crime is committed, the criminal must be punished.

A judicial assessment and determination of legal issues arising between parties to a civil or criminal action is called ‘trial’. When two or more parties cannot resolve their dispute by themselves, the method of trial is used to decide the issue. In case of any crime, the authorities first find the accused and then the accused is put on trial.

The aim of a trial is to secure fair and unprejudiced administration of justice, to find out the truth of the matters, and to apply the law to those matters. A trial offers a final decision of the dispute.

There are two basic types of trials. One is civil trial and other is criminal trial. In a criminal trial, an accused is found guilty or acquitted. If the accused is found guilty, the accused is sentenced according to laws. All types of actions other than criminal actions are civil actions, which are decided by civil trials.

According to the Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations: –

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

In simple words, if anyone goes on trial, this should be done in public. The people who try a person should not be biased.

The Article 14 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights further explains the right of free trial in these words: –

1. All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law. The Press and the public may be excluded from all or part of a trial for reasons of morals, public order (ordre public) or national security in a democratic society, or when the interest of the private lives of the parties so requires, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice; but any judgement rendered in a criminal case or in a suit at law shall be made public except where the interest of juvenile persons otherwise requires or the proceedings concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children.

2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

3. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:

(a) To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him;

(b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing;

(c) To be tried without undue delay;

(d) To be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be informed, if he does not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance assigned to him, in any case where the interests of justice so require, and without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient means to pay for it;

(e) To examine, or have examined, the witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

(f) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court;

(g) Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt.

4. In the case of juvenile persons, the procedure shall be such as will take account of their age and the desirability of promoting their rehabilitation.

5. Everyone convicted of a crime shall have the right to his conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according to law.

6. When a person has by a final decision been convicted of a criminal offence and when subsequently his conviction has been reversed or he has been pardoned on the ground that a new or newly discovered fact shows conclusively that there has been a miscarriage of justice, the person who has suffered punishment as a result of such conviction shall be compensated according to law, unless it is proved that the non-disclosure of the unknown fact in time is wholly or partly attributable to him.

7. No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country.

Arbitrary Arrest, Detention And Exile

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

When someone is kept in custody without proper due process of law despite the fact that he or she committed no offence, it is called ‘arbitrary arrest’ or ‘arbitrary detention’.

According to the Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948: –

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

In simple words, no one has the right to put someone in prison, to keep him or her there, or to send him or her away from his/her country unjustly, or without good reason.

Article 9 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says:

1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.

3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgment.

4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.

5. Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.

National law should set down the grounds and procedures for arrest and detention. People should not be arrested and detained except as provided for by law. Neither the arrest nor the detention should be arbitrary. Here, the term ‘detention’ applies to all forms of detention where people are deprived of their liberty.

Almost in every case of arbitrary arrest, the victim is neither given explanation regarding his or her arrest, nor is he or she shown any arrest warrant.

Though, arbitrary arrests and detentions are typically made by governments as a technique to hold back opposition; many fanatical groups too occasionally use such tactics to silence their opponents. A detainee sometimes is tortured during his or her arbitrary arrest.

Many pseudo democratic governments, dictatorships and police states carry out arbitrary arrests and ‘forced disappearance’ in response to street demonstrations. It is common that arbitrarily detained persons suffer physical as well as psychological torture during their detention.

No person can be denied his or her freedom. No person can be taken into arbitrary arrest. No person can be exiled from his/her country without having first committed an actual crime against the law.

Legal Help Is A Right Itself

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

Article 8
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
(The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations)

If the fundamental rights of any person granted by the law are desecrated, the victim has the right to an effective remedy by the able state courts. Every person has the right to ask for legal help, when his/her rights are violated.

In simple words, the legal aid is a right itself. It is a crucial requirement for realisation of other human rights mentioned under Article 9, 10 and 11 (will be explained in other posts) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The right of legal aid includes the right to free legal aid in case the person does not have the means to pay for advocate/counsel.

Every government has the responsibility to take up all suitable measures to completely realise the right to legal aid within its territory. An ideal government officially guarantees the right to legal aid in its Constitution.

To exercise the right of legal aid, it is required that the Judiciary be autonomous, effective, and easily available.

Equal Protection Against Any Discrimination

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
(The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations)

What if a white (Caucasian) person bullies a black person for being a black? Surely, the white man in this case is a racist. No doubt at all.

But, what if a black person bullies a white (Caucasian) person for being a white? That too is a case of racism.

All are equal before the law. It means that the law cannot be prejudiced against or in favour of a particular race, gender, religion, caste, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation etc.

However, in practical we see that many countries have biased laws.

For instance, In India any person of so-called ‘upper class’ can be put on trial and punished under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 for intentionally insulting or intimidating with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view. However, there is no special law, if a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of so-called ‘upper’ Castes.

Under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 in India, the criminal liability can only be established if the offence is committed by a person who is not a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe against a person who belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.

For example, in the state of Punjab, India, ‘Bazigar’ and ‘Balmiki’ both are official scheduled castes. If a fight takes place between a ‘Bazigar’ and a ‘Balmiki’, the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 cannot be invoked against any of the both parties. On the other hand, in case of similar fight between a ‘Balmiki’ and a person belonging to other caste, a ‘Jat’ for instance’, charges can be framed under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 against the accused belonging to no-scheduled caste/tribe (‘Jat’ in this case) along with other under sections of Indian penal code.

It has wrongly been assumed by many that offences of atrocities are made against the members of Scheduled castes and tribes by the so-called upper castes only. It has wrongly been taken to be true that such atrocities are never made against the members of so-called upper castes.

There are many cases where white victims (Caucasians) were harassed, physically attacked and even killed by non-white racists.

Many non-white men and women think that they are superior to whites. A person with this mindset can commit a racist crime against a white person.

The Article 7 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: –

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Every person has the right to protection of the law against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination, whether s/he belongs to a so-called upper caste or a scheduled caste/tribe, whether s/he is a black or white (Caucasian). The law shall be the same for everyone; it should be applied in the same way to all.

The Right To Recognition As A Person

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

Article 6
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
(The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations)

The right to recognition as a person is very vital, despite the fact that it is usually uncared for.

What does it mean to have the right to recognition as a person? It is the right to be recognised as a person or an individual, that is to say the right to be recognised as a human being before the law.

For the law, a person is a person, a human being. Men and women, persons belonging to the majority and persons belonging to minorities, all are humans in the first place.

A person has the right to recognition as a person, not as a man or woman. It means the law will be equal for men and women. The right to recognition as a person makes it in no doubt that any person is not denied his/her right, because s/he is a male or a female. No person shall be made victim of any gender biased law

A person has the right to recognition as a person, not as a person belonging to racial/religious/ethnic majority group or a person belonging to racial/religious/ethnic minority group. It means any person shall not be denied his/her right, because s/he belongs to majority or minority group.

Furthermore, the right to recognition is enjoyed everywhere. If a person enjoys his/her right at one place and is denied the same somewhere else, it is a gross infringement of fundamental human rights described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.