Human Right Education In India: A Scrutiny Of Law, Policy And Practice

Paper presented at the 2017 CLEA Conference in Melbourne

Lisa Lukose
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, India

The ‘commonwealth’ or the ‘commonwealth countries’ comprise of the intergovernmental association of 53 sovereign member states which were mostly once part of British Empire. These countries were directly or indirectly under the British rule with few exceptions such as Rwanda and Mozambique – the new members of commonwealth. These countries which span Asia, Africa, America, Caribbean, Europe and Pacific have political or economic connections with one another. Today, as commonwealth charter envisages, this forum serves as an effective network through cooperation, experience sharing, deliberations, technical assistance etc. for political, economic and social development of its member states.
“Human rights” is included as one of the core values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter. The Charter further states that “we are committed to … respect for the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, for all without discrimination on any grounds as the foundations of peaceful, just and stable societies”. It is the duty of the state to create awareness about human rights. Proper enjoyment of human right is possible only if the people are discharging their duties towards one another and to the society as a whole. This awareness creation takes place mainly through education from school level.
There is no country in the world which does not teach human right. On the contrarary, there is no country in the world where there is no human right abuse. In India, human right education is compulsory from school level. There are many graduate and postgraduate programmes wherein human right is included either as major or minor paper. In law schools, at LLB level, human right is a compulsory paper; there are post graduate, doctrinal and post doctrinal study options in the stream of human right. Many universities teach this paper from an international perspective and also by linking it with related disciplines such as Constitution, IPR, criminal law, free speech, humanitarian law etc. However, we experience that there is lack of human right respect everywhere and in commonwealth countries including India. Human rights are abused everywhere. Hence we need to revisit the policies and the practices that we are adopting to impart human right education.
This paper is an attempt to share the experience from India: How India is striving to impart human rights awareness in the people especially through education from school level which is continued in the higher studies particularly in law schools. This paper will focus on its merits, demerits, suggestions for improvement and wherever needed comparison from other commonwealth countries will be drawn.

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