A human right is simply the basic fundamental worth of a human being. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. These rights are universal and inalienable in nature which means that they cannot be taken away except in the rarest of circumstances, according to due process. These rights cover a large spectrum extending from individual rights of life, liberty, movement, expression, and education to rights of society such as that of security, civil and political rights, and environmental rights. These human rights evolved in the early 539BC in Babylon where people were given freedom from slavery in addition to the right to choose their own religion while conserving equality. They were eventually developed through Magna Carta in 1215, the Bill of Rights in individual countries in the 16th Century, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This article aims at analyzing the further development of these human rights in recent years in accordance with the evolution of humans. It focuses on the interconnection among the three primary issues of illiteracy, poverty and minority rights, and gender equality. To start off, it is necessary to understand the intrinsic link between human rights and education; education is the mode of evolving human rights but education in itself is a fundamental right.
Education – The Most Powerful Weapon to Change The World & Prevalence of Illiteracy
As mentioned earlier, education is the most basic of all rights. By itself, it is a fundamental human right. Nonetheless, it is also a mode by which human rights can be implemented, practiced, propagated, and protected. Without this right to education, the rights that the people are innately entitled to, are neither acknowledged nor can they be taken advantage of. Education takes on the status of a human right because it is integral to and enhances human dignity through its fruits of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. In 1990, UNESCO started a movement by declaring to meet the basic educational requirements of all, and over the years, they worked towards meeting their main goals such as achieving a high adult literacy rate, equitable access to primary education, and enhancing its quality. However, faced with the daily challenges of inequalities, poverty, and conflict, millions are denied this right to literacy. Academics, while conducting surveys in rural parts of the world, noticed that awareness alone cannot secure rights – the inhabitants of those areas were well aware of their basic human rights inherently but they lacked access to those human rights due to the lack of education and guidance resources. In the 21st Century, education should be administered in such a way that, apart from recognizing various forms of human rights, the learning must eventually lead towards the promotion and protection of human rights. It should also be ensured that free education must be provided in those areas where poverty prevails.
Poverty – Cheap to Address and Expensive to Ignore
Poverty is the core obstacle that nullifies all kinds of economic and social rights such as the right to health, right to safety, adequate housing, safe food and water, and the right to education as well as civil and political rights such as the right to a fair trial and political participation. Poverty is, in itself of denial of any fundamental right. However in this century, when noticed through the lens, it can be seen that there is enough wealth to ensure that every human existent on earth is well fed and housed, educated, provided the basic medical care and other such facilities. But in most areas, indifference, and corruption prevails and most wealth is looted by the tax authorities and other such institutions. In such a situation, organizations working towards the cause must aim at the creation of prosperity rather than the eradication of poverty. In this world, where massive numbers of people are living in poverty, and where vast wealth coexists with the gravest forms of impoverishment, development coordination and collaboration are required now than ever before. Apart from the economically backward sections of the society, another category facing restraint from the use of human rights is the minorities facing gender inequality.
Gender – A Spectrum and Not Two Opposing Ideals
Gender disparities have prevailed in economic and political realms for centuries, the color pink representing females has been often related to sensitivity and inferiority, women’s rights have frequently been ignored and a large section of women in various underdeveloped parts of the world have been subject to violence and patriarchal terrorism. However, in the last couple of decades, there has been slow progress. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, birth, or another status. Females represent a major part of the world’s population and they also contribute to half of its potential. In the current scenario, the population is far from achieving gender equality but studies have proven that women empowerment has boosted economic growth and poverty. Hence, it has become essential that women must be given a high status in society. Over the years, feminist movements for gender equality have gained momentum and international recognition. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was set up to take specific actions and ensure respect for women’s rights. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), was also established for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women.
In the recent century, apart from women, another section of minorities facing gender inequality, specifically the queer community, has surfaced their problems. In the past, freedom and the basic right to liberty have been withheld from the transgender and life wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine for them. They were prevented from joining the military in several countries and in most nations homosexual marriages were considered unconstitutional. But in the last two decades, over 30 countries have decriminalized homosexuality, discrimination based on transphobia was disapproved, marriage bans were lifted and statutes in different nations protecting civil rights were expanded to especially safeguard transgender and sexual minorities. Human rights saw a radical change in the 21st Century with the development of modern thought and humanity.
The above are the three predominant issues faced in the last two decades which have been elaborated by the progress that has been perceived. Human rights permeate through us like an imperceptible stream. Holding up of these rights is portrayed as the trump card in society but this often leads to conflicts between different rights possessed by different individuals. In such instances, bringing about balance and harmony is absolutely necessary. Human rights may essentially be the duty of the state – who have the obligation to fulfill, foster, and safeguard these rights but it also becomes the responsibility of every individual to respect and uphold the rights of others in society. These rights are the universal language of the core values that binds the entire human family together and ignorance of these human rights only shatters the triangle of human connections.
 UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 1), 10 December 1948.
 Nelson Mandela’s speech in South Africa, Lighting your way to a better future, July 16th 2003, http://db.nelsonmandela.org/speeches/pub_view.asp?pg=item&ItemID=NMS909
 Richard Pierre Claude, The Right to Education and Human Rights Education, conectas, June,2004, https://sur.conectas.org/en/right-education-human-rights-education/
 Global Issues, Gender Equality, https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/gender-equality
 Shami Chakrabarti, Human Rights in the 21st Century, TEDxUCL, https://amara.org/mn/videos/b9pyLbdQUhFY/info/human-rights-in-the-21st-century-shami-chakrabarti-tedxucl/