Human Rights & Good Governance

Kashmir Magazine

Noor Ul Shahbaz

Different words have different meanings and the appropriate meaning to a particular word is attached to it as per requirement of the sentence. The term governance implies the manner in which power is exercised by government in managing or regulating affairs of a country. Good governance is exercise of power by various organs of the government “that is” effective, honest, transparent, equitable and accountable. Human rights and good governance are inherently linked and for the effective implementation of Human rights, good governance is utmost essential.

Human rights are universal legal guarantees protecting human beings against actions and omissions that interfere with human dignity and fundamental freedom of individuals. In other words it can be said they are such standards against which governments and their functionaries can be assessed and held accountable. Human rights are recognised as the foundation of peace, justice, security and foundation of democracy as well. The international community is making strong efforts to its commitment for the protection of these human rights. We must realise that what lead international community to make such commitments.......that was the establishment of a regime of complete lawlessness and tyranny, that was the creation of such conditions that negated human values and dignity, that was total suppression of fundamental human rights and in other words we can say the “Unrestricted Sovereignty” which today’s State’s are claiming.

Good governance has to encompass: full respect of human rights, the rule of law and not of men, transparent and accountable institutions, access to information and enhancement of attitudes and values that foster responsibility of such kind of a nature that response to a stone pelter is not taking away his precious life. The writo-meter revolves round these words i-e, human rights, respect, law, protection, accountability, transparency and peace. I think these are the essential conditions; restoration of them is a top priority for establishment of peace and security and to acclaim the good governance. We must understand that democratic form of government means that it is the reflection of responsibilities rather we can say the name given to responsibilities and its true nature creates specific obligations on the government. Among these responsibilities and obligations of a state, the first and foremost is respect and protection of basic human rights and most particularly “right to life” that is of primary importance among all others. Failure to perform such an obligation constitutes violation and at times omission. Respected readers lack of developmental activities for full enjoyment of basic human rights may be invoked to justify the abridgment......but......leave aside these basic facilities like as pure drinking water, proper healthcare, macadamised roads etc, we are yet struggling for these basic rights and again one among them is “right to life”. If such kind of human rights are universal then what about Nayeem Bhat (Handwara), Wamiq Farooq (Srinagar), Tabinda Gani (Langate), Aasiya and Neelofer (Shopian), victims of Kunanposhpora (Kupwara), Rafeeq Ahmad (Pohrupeth), Mysara (Unisoo), Narendar Modi, Sachin Tendulkar, Mehbooba Mufti, Umar Abdullah me and you doesn’t we hold the same right? What about the right to life of those whose kiths and kins are still questioning why our beloved ones got murdered. Excessive use of force (torture) by armed forces in our valley, the sufferings of which can be heard from the worst victims like Er Rasheed (Ex-MLA of J&K Asembly), Nazir Ahmad Sheikh (Yahama Mawer) and others, what about their basic human right. The victims of torture are still getting jerks when they try to sleep; they still remember the inhuman behaviour. The readers must think and do something for its protection, equal enjoyment and most particularly the onus lies on pioneers/defenders of human rights including civil society. Their role in such kind of issues is important in articulating and advocating such public convictions and concerns. Their advocating function gives voice to a variety of interests and perspectives that governments and decision makers may otherwise not hear. Good governance requires such impartial and independent groups that create the constant and efficient linkages amongst government and other members of society. In other words they serve as watchdog of democratic institutions. It is not an adversary of the State, but instead serves to encourage it, to improve and maintain its democratic nature. By exposing abuses of power and wrongdoings of government they can push state mechanisms to target corrupt, inefficient and unaccountable practices.

Although good governance needs the support of civil society but it cannot be achieved in separation from human rights. These two concepts reinforce each other and the role of state is very important as well. As the principal “duty-bearer” state is required to adopt a range of measures to respect and protect human rights which in turn is fruitful for it in the form of good governance. On this traditional day i-e, 8th of December (International Human Rights Day) my appeal to International community, public spirited persons of India, Pakistan and my homeland is that “enough is enough” we must take oath to alter the ways that leads to bloodshed and create a peaceful environment.

The author is a M.A, LL.M (GOLD MEDALIST) Lecturer and former acting Principal at Sopore Law College.

Disclaimer: The views of the author doesn't necessarily reflect the views of Kashmir Magazine.