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State, Civil Society And Human Rights: Neo Liberal Reflections

The origin of State has its roots in man’s desire for a perfect organisation. Growth of the State was influenced by several factors like religion, political consciousness of the inhabitants, natural instinct etc. The government as a controlling unit of State took various shades with time and space. It is generally understood that the primitive form of democratic system of government was developed in Athens and later mostly followed by European States. In the following ages, colonisation took deep roots in different continents and the inhabitants of those colonies started to resist the authoritarianism and dictatorship. In the meantime, American and French Revolution took place which resulted in the establishment of refined form of democratic system of governments with principles of right to life, liberty, equality and fraternity.

Later on, world witnessed two major wars and the call for peace and security culminated in the formation of United Nations Organization and it paved the way for internationalisation of human rights principles. The UDHR and subsequent human rights Conventions, Treaties, Declarations and Resolutions provided an international system for the supervision and enforcement of human rights encompassing norms as to the responsibility of States to ensure the protection of human rights and how the States should conduct their relations with one another. In this post- colonial period several newly independent States emerged and they have also acceded to these principles.

A new era began with the end of Cold War. During this period, neo- liberal ideology gained momentum. Neoliberalism is oriented with self-regulating market where less intervention of government is preferred and capital intensive system is promoted. In this regime, persons who are capable of investments pull strings. The most notable instance during this period is the emergence of transnational human rights network, particularly in developing countries and those in the process of democratization. Similarly, globalization resulting in economic liberalization and changing concepts of State sovereignty, evolution of concept of third generation human rights and the need to strike balance between collective rights and individual rights imposed new challenges to the protection and promotion of human rights.

The unbridled power conferred upon the global capitalist ended up in financial crisis. The economic crisis in conjunction with growing inequalities led to popular discontent. Civil Society and social movements raised their voice against the human rights violations caused by the neo liberal policies. This vexation among the people around the world caused them to look around for an alternative. Far Right movement has taken advantage of this situation and started to challenge neo liberal norms by pinpointing the deficiencies of liberal democracies. The illiberal democracy, they advocated, has an authoritarian character which ultimately leads to authoritarian neoliberalism.

Institutions and individuals – both at State or civil society front- cannot withdraw from the growing responsibility of raising and hearing the voices of violations and deprivations in the neo liberal world.

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