Human Rights Wider Concept and Humanitarian law is a Narrow Concept in International Aspect


Basic of Human Rights and Humanitarian law can be traced back when Cyrus after the battle of Babylon ended the victory of King Cyrus, the Great King who freed Babylon from captivity and that can be found in the bible. That was how it was founding of the concept of Human rights law and Humanitarian Law as soon as human being started recognizing. Later on, the UN Declaration on Huma rights and the Geneva convention became a major source of International Humanitarian Rights.

International Human Rights

IHRL is a collection of international rules, established by treaty or custom, on the idea of which individuals and groups can expect and/or claim certain behaviour or benefits from governments. Human rights are inherent entitlements which belong to each humankind as a consequence of being human. Many forms of non-treaty-based principles and guidelines (“soft law”) also belong to the body of international human rights standards.

Scope and Applicability

In the theoretical aspect, IHRL applies in the least times, i.e. both inharmonic time and in situations of armed war. However, some IHRL treaties permit governments to derogate from certain rights in situations of public emergency threatening the lifetime of the state. Derogations must, however, be proportional to the crisis at hand, must not be introduced on a discriminatory basis and must not contravene other rules of law of nations – including rules of IHL. Certain human rights are never derogated. Among them are the proper to live, prohibition of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the prohibition of slavery and servitude and therefore the prohibition of retroactive criminal laws.

IHRL forms rules binding governments in their relations with individuals. While there’s a growing body of opinion consistent with which non-state actors – particularly if they exercise government-like functions – must even be expected to respect human rights norms, the issue remains unsettled.

Also Read: Rights Granted to Refugees and Various Provisions dealing with them in India

Subject as individuality

Individuals do not have any specific duties under IHRL treaties, IHRL also provides for individual criminal responsibility for violations that may constitute international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and torture. These crimes are also subject to the universally applicable jurisdiction.

International Humanitarian Rights

In layman words, International Humanitarian law is governing those exclusive rights which are given to every human being during war time.

International Humanitarian Law is the „Human Rights‟ component of the law of War which aims to protect persons who do not or are no longer taking part in hostilities. Applicable in international armed war, the Geneva Conventions deal with the treatment of the injured and sick in the armed forces in the field (Convention I), injured, sick and ship-grounded members of the armed forces at sea (Convention II), prisoners of war (Convention III) and civilian persons (Convention IV). Civilian persons include internally displaced persons, women, juveniles, refugees, stateless persons, journalists and other categories of individuals (Convention IV and Protocol I).

As per the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC): International Humanitarian Law is a set of rules to limit the effect of Armed Conflict[1]. IHL are rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare.

International rights can be described as law governing on two principles:

  1. JUS AD BELLUM (resort to force)
  2. JUS IN BELLO (conduct of hostile)

This law can be traced back from mid – 19th

century that is in the year 1864, father of Humanitarian rights Henry Dunant[2]who has been in grief and appalled by the brutality of the battle of Solferino which took place in 1879 wrote a book on “Memory of Solferino” which was later adopted by Geneva convention for the Amelioration of the condition of the injured in Armies in the Field. Later, in the year 1899 and 1907 ‘The Hague Conferences played a vital role where the law concerning land and naval warfare was too adopted.

Scope and Applicability

IHL is applicable during the time of armed conflict, whether international or non-international. International conflicts are wars involving two or more states, and wars of liberation, no matter whether a declaration of war has been made or whether the parties involved recognize that there’s a state of war. Non-international armed conflicts are those during which government forces are fighting against armed insurgents, or rebel groups are fighting among themselves. As in International humanitarian law deals with an exceptional situation – armed conflict – no derogations whatsoever from its provisions are permitted. IHL binds all actors to an armed conflict: in international conflicts, it must be observed by the states involved, whereas in internal conflict it binds the govt, also the groups fighting against it or among themselves. Therein, IHL jolt down rules that are applicable to both state and non-state actors.

Also Read: Dawing Laws – Is Satisfactory Armor For Women

Subject as individuality

IHL does imposes obligations on individuals and also provides that persons may be held individually criminally responsible for “grave breach” of the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol I, and for other grave violations of the laws and customs of war (war crimes). IHL establishes uniform jurisdiction over persons suspected of having committed all such acts. With the entry into force of the International Criminal Court, as an individual can also be responsible for war crimes committed in non-international armed conflict.


International humanitarian law and international human rights law are two different ends of the same thread of bodies of law. They are both concerned with the protection of the life, health and dignity of individuals. IHL applies in armed conflict while human rights law applies in the least times, in peace and in war.

Both International Humanitarian Law and Human right law apply at time armed clashes. The fundamental distinction in their application is that worldwide basic liberties law permits a State to suspend various basic freedoms in the event that it faces a situation of crisis. IHL can’t be suspended (aside from as given in Article 5 to the Fourth Geneva Show).

Thereto, a State/Nation can’t suspend or waive certain fundamental rights that must be respected in all circumstances which include the right to life, the prohibition of torture and punishment or treatment of inhuman nature, the outlawing of slavery or servitude, the principle of legality and the non-retroactivity of the law and the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Also Read: Police Encounters and Rule of Law

[1] International armed conflicts are those involving two or more States, whereas, Non international armed conflicts (also often called “internal armed conflicts”) usually take place on the territory of a single State and involve either regular armed forces fighting other armed groups, or armed groups fighting each other.

[2] Moorehead, Dunant’s dream , London, 1998.

2 thoughts on “Human Rights Wider Concept and Humanitarian law is a Narrow Concept in International Aspect

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *