Wake up! Our future is bleak!

If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders – George Carlin

There are a lot unaccounted number of people in the world who are homeless, and they range from different ages to different sex. But, let’s focus on one segment of such homeless people – Children. In other words, the Street Children.

According to a study in the early 2000s by The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a United Nations programme launched for the protection of the rights of the children, it was estimated that there are over 100 million street children in the world[1], with 40 million in Latin America and 18 million in India[2]. Of course, now the numbers must have increased, and it is not possible to get the accurate number of street children, however, it is believed that the number might be over 150 million in the world.

Such street children are subjected to many violations and exploitations, like sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking, etc. To counter such atrocities, there have been many institutions set up and acts enacted both at the international as well as national level. So, why is the number of the street children increasing day by day even when there are so many institutions and acts, internationally and nationally? There may be many reasons for the continued deterioration of the street children, like the lack of Government support or due to social and economic conditions or for any other reason.

But, there’s one reason that not many have taken into account for the increasing number of street children, but, everyone knows that this is one the reasons and, i.e., the bystanders. How many of you have ever talked to or interacted with the street children? Not many, right? How many of you have glanced the other way when you see the condition of the street children while walking down the street? Haven’t you all?

Alright, not many of you might have ignored. You must have all stopped once or twice or thrice to give them a meal which you buy from a nearby stall or restaurant or to give them a nominal sum of money so that they can buy whatever they want. But, do you think that food you give will satisfy their hunger forever? How long do you think that money will last? One day? Two days? What after that meal is eaten? What after that money runs out? The street children will still be deprived of their basic necessities. They will continue to starve. Their rights will continue to be violated.

In such cases, they don’t need one-meal-a-day or money. What they need is care and protection till they can finally stand on their own. Because, when they run out of food or money, they will be desperate, and then, there are bound to be adverse actions on their part, which is, in turn, going to lead to the deterioration of the future of a country. After all these children are the future of our country and are going to be the ones who will be responsible for the continued existence of our country. But, if they end up walking down the wrong path, the future of our country will be bleak.

Now the question that arises is how do we help? Simple! Just pick up the phone call 1098[3] or 100[4]. And inform. We as citizens can ensure the future of our country only through participation, by being active and by being empathetic. It is when we ignore that we add more to the continued deterioration of the street children. In this case, ignorance is not bliss. Remember folks, the problem of street children persists, but, we can counter this only when we are not mute bystanders can we ensure the future of our country.

[1] https://www.unicef.org/sowc06/profiles/street.php

[2] http://www.cyc-net.org/cyc-online/cycol-0904-homelessness.html

[3] Childline – Children’s helpline contact, India

[4] Police Helpline contact, India


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Headshot - Vidhya Kumarswamy

VIDHYA KUMARSWAMY

Vidhya Kumarswamy is a Law student pursuing B.B.A. LL.B. (Hons.), has a craving for knowledge and passionate about writing just as she’s a passionate foodie. Also, she’s a blogger and an Otaku.

Indian Constitution and its Contractual nature

The Indian preamble, an ideal manifestation of the objective sought to be imbibed in the Indian culture, not only in theory but in practice as well; starts with this magnanimous terminology of ‘We the people of India’; therefore, bestowing the ultimate power to the Indian citizens; so it is the Indian citizens, who under the umbrella of ‘Collective force’ have bestowed the Indian Constitution[1] with the power and not the Indian Constitution who has bestowed the power on the Citizens of India.[2]And all the powers of the Constitution, and that of the Constituent Assembly is been derived from the people of the India.[3]It is this declaration which makes preamble a sublime one as compared to others, it is draft not forced upon the unwilling hands of the bearer, in fact, it has been given to themselves by the people of the country through their ‘Constituent Assembly.’[4] Further, it was observed in the case of Union of India v. Madangopal[5]

Our Constitution as appears from the Preamble, derives its authority from the people of India, and learned counsel conceded that it was open to the people to confer on the legislatures established by the Constitution, which they framed through their representatives, power to make laws having operation in relation to periods prior to the commencement of the Constitution.

Additionally, it establishes a contractual nature of the Indian Constitution; which is a result of the consent of the Indian Citizens underlying it.[6] The very concept that Indian Constitution is a Contract, needs much convincing to be believed in. The Idea of the contractual nature of the Constitution was first given by Lysander Spooner; who quotes

The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man.”[7]

On this principle he works out a contour, where he concocts that if a Constitution is a contract, similarly it shall be applicable to the persons who were present then when the contract was being made e.g., when the American Constitution was being framed in the 1776, this contract shall be applicable only to the citizens of America present at that time. Similarly, the Indian constitution which was drafted in 1950 is applicable to the citizens living at that time.

But the point of difference between a Contract and a Constitution comes in due to the compulsory nature of the latter as compared to the voluntary nature of the former. This is what John Locke called it as tacit consent to the citizenship.[8]As it is a pre-requisite for the formation of  the Contract, that both the parties must have given their voluntary consent to the agreement; the same is not case with the Indian Constitution, as explained by John Locke in his “two treatise of Civil Government.

Tacit Consent to the Contract

The very idea behind the concept of tacit consent to the Constitution was first evolved by John Locke, where he has styled that by taking birth in a particular country and by using its amenities we are impliedly agreeing to its suzerainty. The traces of which can be found in section 8 of the Indian Contract Act 1872; which specifically provides that a contract can be entered either by performing the condition or by receiving the consideration, therefore, our taking birth on the Indian soil and using its amenities has qualified us to be a party to this Contract we call Constitution.

The trespasser Obligation

Another theory which compels us to the obligatory nature of the Constitution is the concept of Trespasser obligation, under which the person trespassing the land of the owner is liable to follow his orders or else he shall be liable for trespassing, similarly by taking birth on the land of India, we are somewhere trespassing on the land of Indian Government, therefore are suzerainty is subject to Indian Sovereignty.

[1]  Sauvik. Chakraverti, The Essentials Frederic Bastiat, Liberty Institute, 2007, Bastiat was a great supporter of human liberty and was of the view that it was the collective force of the human society which gives the Law its force.

[2]  Keshavanada Bharti v. State of Kerala (1973) 4 SCC 225, see also Behram Khurshid v. The State of Bombay AIR 1955 SC 123

[3]  Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. 1, 13th Dec. 1946, The resolution moved by Jawahar Lal Nehru on the the aims and object of the Indian Constitution.

[4]  A.K Gopalan v. State of Madras, AIR 1950 SC 27: 1950 SCR 88 per MAHAJAN, J.

[5]  Union of India v. Madan Gopal, (1954) SCR 541 (655).

[6]  Lysander Spooner, No Treason: The Constitution of no authority, Free Patriot press, U.S.A, 1867, the philosopher put forward the idea; that the constitution is only enforceable on the people who were living at the time when (Spooner, 1867)the constitution was made; he was an absolute believer on the contractual nature of the contract

[7]   Id. Pg 3

[8]   John Locke, Two treatise of the Civil Government, ed. Thomas Hollis (London: A. Millar et al., 1764). John Locke said by living under the suzerainty of a particular nation, we have given them our tacit consent to be their citizenship. See also Thomas Hobbes’ ‘Social Contract’ 1651, where he regarded as a single contract whih led to the offspring of state and devolution of the power by the people in the Levithian ruler whereas, John Locke in his Social Contract of 1689 was of the view that there were two contract, first by which the people organized themselves and by the second contract they surrendered their right to the sovereign King.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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ASHIT KUMAR SRIVASTAVA

Ashit Kumar Srivastava (AKS) is currently working as an Assistant Professor at Amity University, Lucknow. His main area of interest is Constitution and Jurisprudence. However, he mostly inter-relates various socio-legal topics together.

Liberty in Africa: Peculiar Challenges

Social ills have been part of Africa for a number of years now, and though there have been several efforts made to curb such thematic issues, all hope seems to be lost. Africa seems to be bound in chains due to a number of factors such as lack of good leadership and gender issues, and many more. However, such issues can only be resolved when there is a partnership between the stakeholders and the young people.

Furthermore, despite the above mentioned thematic issues which are common in African countries, there are other social ills which are a high concern to many, which not only affect the people within a community but also act as an impediment to progressive development and prosperity within a certain country. These issues include:

  • Cronyism
  • Over-Criminalization
  • Lack of free market
  • Restriction imposed to Property rights
  • Intolerance

CRONYISM

This is one of the biggest challenges in Africa which has affected many lives and has led many to poverty. Therefore, with the high rates of poverty increasing, there is a dire need for awareness to be raised. Therefore, I believe that the only solution to such an issue is the near-perfect implementation of the rule of law which will not only increase the living standards of others but also ensure that the humanity of individuals is not challenged and their individual rights are respected.

OVER-CRIMINALIZATION

Evidently, over-criminalization has tripled in South Africa in the last decade, therefore many are placed in situations where rights are being challenged or limited. This can only be resolved by good leadership as well as raising awareness on the respecting individual rights. The more the leaders are able to learn from other young people and more aware of the situations other people are facing, the more we overcome such impediments.

LACK OF FREE MARKETS

This issue can be resolved only when government institutes do not restrict individuals from trading with each other. By doing so, this encourages the spirit of free market in order to increase wealth and also accelerate development.

INTOLERANCE

This is one of the issues that acts as a hurdle to development. Therefore, there is need to increase more awareness about tolerance and respect towards cultural diversity. Therefore, I believe that in order to resolve such an issue, awareness should be raised in schools, in order to raise a generation of tolerance.

The latter are a few examples or rather a few factors which are an impediment to Liberty in Africa. Many African citizens are denied not only the full enjoyment of human rights, fundamental freedom but also have their Liberty challenged. In order to have all these enjoyed, it has to start with good governance; and good governance starts with zero corruption, zero marginalization, the effective enforcement of the rule of law, equal opportunities availed and harnessing on youth involvement. This would rather contribute to individual growth as well as economic growth, hence contributing to creating a better Africa for all, and also progressing to economic development.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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LESEGO GAETWESEPE

Lesego Gaetwesepe is a law graduate and she is intrinsically passionate about human rights, community building and empowering young people. She is a participant at the YALI Regional Leadership Center in Southern Africa and was also part of the #ageofconsent project. She was also part of a project facilitated by NACA (NATIONAL AIDS COORDINATING AGENCY). Ms Lesego is currently a volunteer at Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope Project and also represents the organisation at the UNESCO Pan African Youth Network for building a Culture of Peace, and she is also taking up training as an ASFL (African Students for Liberty) Local Coordinator.

 

Child Labour – A bane!

Throughout our life, we may face multiple situations which most of the time require our effort to get solved. Have you ever asked yourself what happens when we cannot provide the effort which it is required to get things done?

There exist institutions and concrete laws which can provide a helping hand in cases where you cannot go through the difficulties and challenges. More to the point, when it comes to children, the situation becomes even more complicated and it needs to be more specific about the laws and policies that each country puts.

Even if there exist laws and concrete policies about children rights and their welfare, it tends to not always get implemented, for instance, the example of Albanian children facing increasing inequality, social exclusion and discrimination, violence, abuse, domestic violence, and lack of access to quality services (health and education).

Albania has ratified the United Nations conventions and protocols, which emphasize that children enjoy full rights and need special attention as well as protection from the family as well as the state institutions. Increasing the role of local government units in assessing the needs of children in relation to the realization of their rights, and poverty alleviation by reforming the system of social services for children, and harmonizing policies on children’s rights through the functioning of mechanisms for the protection of children’s rights at central and local level, they can make the implementation of multiple laws and policies effective.

The worst forms of child labor have been systematically integrated into the main pillars of government policies such as the National Strategy for Development and Integration, the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) , and other sectoral strategies such as the National Strategy for Children, the National Strategy for Service Development Social Strategy, National Strategy on Employment and Vocational Training, National Strategy on Child Trafficking, etc. The areas of intervention are child survival, child protection, child development, Involvement and participation of children.

Over the years, policymakers have been busy with addressing the phenomenon of child labor by ratifying international conventions and instruments, such as: UN Convention “On the Rights of the Child”, February 1992; ILO Convention, No.138 “On Minimum Age of Work”, February 1998; ILO Convention, No.182, “On the Heaviest Forms of Child Labor”, August 2001; UN Convention “Against Organized Crime “, October 2002; UN Protocol “On the Prevention, Suppression and Punishment of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children”, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, August 2002; etc.

Rays of hope, however, are already on the horizon. Countries are taking actions to bring down the statistics of child labor, the topic has been gathering increasing attention from the authorities, and societies are getting more informed about the negative effects of child labor and bad working conditions.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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ANXHELA BRUCI

Anxhela Bruçi is a young writer, she has published two books related to social issues. She has finished her Bachelor studies for Administration and Social Policies. She aims to follow a Master of Science for Social Services in Criminal Justice. She aspires to advocate for human rights and to motivate young people to contribute for a better and a safer society.

Palliative Care – Even the sick and weak have human rights

Human rights have existed since human existence and they are what allow us to live as humans. And since its existence, human rights have evolved in many ways and they still continue to do so. They have evolved from freeing all humans from slavery to all men being born equal to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to equal rights for the underprivileged to LGBT community’s rights, and the evolution still continues. One such recent evolution in human rights is ‘Palliative care’. So, what is palliative care?

I am sure not many of us know what palliative care means. If I had to connote it in simpler words, it means ‘End of Life Care’. When a person is struck with a long-term disease or a chronic disease, like cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc., whereby their death is imminent, their world is disrupted. The same is the case when a person becomes frail due to old age. Such persons’ normal routine undergoes a change and they are in need of special care.

When a person is suffering from a chronic or a long-term disease or is frail due to old age, they become patients and their family members become their ‘caregivers’. This has been a trend for many years now. The family starts caring for such aforementioned persons, and this becomes a burden on both the ill persons and the family members. Why? Because the ill persons are not given the proper care which the professionals can give and this tends to give them more pain, adding to their already existing pain, and the family members are also burdened with due to emotional and financial issues.

It’s not easy to take care of an old frail person and a person suffering from a long-term disease. So, why do such persons need palliative care? It’s to preserve their human rights. Palliative care is fundamental for preserving the health and dignity of the diseased and the old people; and this can be done by providing the necessary care to such persons by eliminating, or at least by reducing, the pain and other distressing symptoms. Palliative care helps the patients by helping them in identifying the physical and the emotional needs, by providing comfort and by helping to cope with the changes in their condition.

Of course, Palliative Care is not restricted only to the patients, but also to their family members. The emotional issues that the patients’ family members go through are burdening on them and even on the patients, equally. That’s when Palliative Care comes into the picture and helps the family members, too, through compassionate listening, which can help them deal with their grief and move on with their lives, and also helps them with decision making related to the goals of care of the patients.

In short, Palliative Care exists to ensure that the patients suffering from long-term diseases and frailty due to old age live a painless life for the limited amount of time they have. And, though very recent development in human rights field, there have been many Palliative Care centres set up in many countries, including India, to protect the human rights of the diseased and old persons. So, next time, you have a family member who needs that extra care or end-of-life care, just look up on the internet for the Palliative Care centres.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Headshot - Vidhya Kumarswamy

VIDHYA KUMARSWAMY

Vidhya Kumarswamy is a Law student pursuing B.B.A. LL.B. (Hons.), has a craving for knowledge and passionate about writing just as she’s a passionate foodie. Also, she’s a blogger and an Otaku.

Eye for an Eye, “Blinded by Revenge”

For many years, the death penalty issue has created controversial debates and even to date the debates still remain unabated. This is because justice has become a relative term and people term incidences that are contrary to their self-will and desires as injustice.[1]  Therefore, with that, the thirst for vengeance is so evident that states find it difficult to ignore;[2]  particularly because of the eye for an eye concept that has been upheld for so many centuries.

However, what people seem to forget is that two wrongs don’t make it right. Yes, the offender needs to be punished, but do we necessarily have to punish the offender by taking his/her own life? What about the rights of the accused, isn’t the law made to give others a second chance to reform and do what is right for their communities? Most of these questions may seem irrelevant to most people because they are so centred on vengeance, that they forget that everyone’s rights matters.  This concept has relatively been one of the top reasons why most countries still remain to retain the death penalty, slowly ignoring the corrosive effect it causes both to the offender and the community.

We have become so blinded by revenge, that we have forgotten our obligations as individuals, government entities, as well as members of a civil society; moreover forgetting the obligations entrusted upon us by International treaties, covenants such as the Universal Declaration of Human rights. These international laws were adopted in order to guide states in respecting individual rights and states signatory to such treaties are obligated to adopt these laws within their national Constitutions.

Retaining the death penalty goes far beyond than reducing crime. It causes trauma on the side of the accused, also creates tension between states particularly in situations where another state has abolished the death penalty; and above all, it infringes the most important fundamental rights, which are the rights to life and to liberty.

Therefore, it is important that normative edifices that guard against human rights violations adequately ensure that everyone’s fundamental rights are protected and respected because respecting individual rights and freedoms is the only way to inclusive development.

According to the World Economic Forum of 2015, development is very much possible, when individual rights and freedoms are respected; this also includes the rights of the offenders or the accused. Therefore, this should be a wakeup call to retentionist countries to outlaw death penalty and respect the rights of individuals.  The death penalty should be replaced with alternatives such as life imprisonment so as to reduce the cruelty imposed upon offenders.

To deny them human rights, is to challenge their humanity[3]. With that, I believe that the rights of each individual should be maintained regardless of their status or regardless of the situation they have imposed upon their fellow community members; rights do matter.

[1] K.N Bojosi, ‘Commentary on recent constitutional challenges to the death penalty  in Botswana http://www.biicl.org/files/2292_bojosi_ recent_constitutional_challenges.pdf (2015 September 20)

[2] O.B.Iveren, ‘Justification for and the abolition of capital punishment under human rights la, Nigeria(April 2011)   https://www.unilorin.edu.ng>law  (2015 September 30)

[3] Nelson Mandela quotes


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Picture1

LESEGO GAETWESEPE

Lesego Gaetwesepe is a law graduate and she is intrinsically passionate about human rights, community building and empowering young people. She is a participant at the YALI Regional Leadership Center in Southern Africa and was also part of the #ageofconsent project. She was also part of a project facilitated by NACA (NATIONAL AIDS COORDINATING AGENCY). Ms Lesego is currently a volunteer at Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope Project and also represents the organisation at the UNESCO Pan African Youth Network for building a Culture of Peace, and she is also taking up training as an ASFL (African Students for Liberty) Local Coordinator.