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Human Rights Day: 8 ways note ban violates the Universal Declaration

Catch Team | Updated on: 10 December 2016, 17:52 IST

The United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December, 1948. And since this day has been marked as Human Rights Day. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the declaration was a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations.

It set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights that were meant to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.

Yet, perhaps these didn't reach Modi sarkaar. Else they would have thought twice before demonetisation. Here are eight articles out of 30 that demonetisation violates blatantly.

Article 3:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

A 69-year-old man collapsed and died of heart attack after waiting in a queue to exchange currency notes outside a bank in Limbdi, Gujarat.

Several others have either died since 8 December waiting outside hospitals, ATMs, banks or their farms across the country. The demonetisation death toll is reported to be currently at 82 and rising. While you might debate how many of these deaths were direct results to demonetisation, you cannot deny one thing - demonetisation has claimed lives.

As far as liberty goes, there isn't a single day that goes by without the citizens in this country feeling that they have no liberty to move, travel, shop, eat or spend as they like, however they please without having to prioritise, justify and act as if Big Brother is watching.

In December 2016 and we are living with about as much liberty we had during the Emergency.

Article 5:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Speak to the frustrated people standing at bank queues. They've been standing all day only to find out that the bank is out of cash by the time their turn comes.

They proceed with resilience and queue up elsewhere, still with no certainty that their wait will pay off.

Day after day, bank queues get longer and start earlier in the day. The old, the sick and the employed (with no flexibility to be late for work) are equally stuck. Words such as torture, cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment, ring rather loud for most.

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.

PILs filed in various high courts contesting demonetisation since 8 December have not only not been heard, they have mostly been brushed aside by judges saying - "The efforts of the government in nation building should not be defeated in any manner" - as the Bangalore High Court responded to a PIL applicant.

Article 12 & 19:

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The nation today seems torn between those who support demonetisation and are therefore "with the country" as opposed to those who criticise it and are made to feel that they are "with the terrorists".

From Whatsapp groups to the trolls on social media, the subtle attacks on honour and reputation are getting no-so-subtle as the days pass.

Article 17:

Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

All legal tender is private property. It cannot suddenly be made illegal at a moment's notice.

Now figure out the rest.

Article 24:

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Bank employees are perhaps the most abused right now because they are working round the clock with extended hours, without a lunch, tea or toilet break.

During the initial week of demonetisation, news reports of a bank manager who spent three nights sleeping at his office having died of a heart attack shook the banking sector. The pressures endured by them during the last one month is both noteworthy and unhealthy.

Article 25:

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Wholesale traders, farmer producer organisations, farmers, micro-financing agents and rural credit services and plenty of other livelihoods have been irreparably hit.

Their unemployment has brought them no right to security or compensation from the government.

First published: 10 December 2016, 17:52 IST
 
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