March 29, 2024


Book Review on Human Rights



The book on ‘Human Rights: Questions and Answers’, has been very well written by Leah Levin, a distinguished British human rights specialist, and further illustrated by Plantu, a well-known French political cartoonist, which was published in 1981. Understanding that, this publication has been substantially revised, amended and updated, although it preserves to a great extent the structure of the original edition. If I shall talk about the structure or format, this book has been categorized into two parts. In the first part of the book, the scope and meaning of international human rights law has been briefly described. With some special attention paid to the development of procedures in the field of human rights protection as well as to-the importance of human rights education. And in the second part, the meaning of each of the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been explained.

Thesis: Whether The Author Achieves The Stated Purpose Of The Book?

Certainly, the book has been designed in a convincing way as to give away a sound outlook by tactfully answering the most pertinent question which may pop up with regards to human rights violations. The path has been very unambiguously designed for the readers to get a quick reply on the matters of debate or discussion pertaining to their rights at stake. If I get slightly deeper into the 1st part which is dealing with International human rights law then we can note down that, around 87 questions have been answered clearing almost every possible bundle of doubts with respect to the rights of a citizen. And the most beautiful part has been its presentation in form of cartoon to give it an interesting outlook. However, the second part deals with the UDHR. Here, with the help of various articles, a fine interpretation of the same is covered in forms of questions and cartoons. Overall, the author has tried to enumerate a mixture of interesting outlook backed with cogent facts in order to attract the reader and rationally stands on its very purpose.

We understand that the ultimate goal of these actions is the creation of a culture, the very core of which is adherence to the basic values of human rights and democracy and readiness to defend them in daily life. Respect for the same has been regarded as an important factor in bilateral and multilateral relations. It certainly presumes the formation of certain behavioral patterns. And most-importantly such a culture of these rights and democracy can only be constructed by the combined efforts of educators, families, the mass media, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, in other words by all social actors and by civil society as a whole. 

Summary of the Book

The book has dealt with some pertinent questions relating to basic rights which were unanswered or ambiguous for a lot term. I shall try to deal with both the parts in two segments comprising of International human rights law and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • Questions pertaining to International human rights law –      Covering areas of the same on a practical note, need to internationalize human rights protection, rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration other instruments like International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and its implementation procedure and other important United Nations human rights instruments. And other social issues dealing with genocide, racial discrimination, women’s rights, rights of the child, and minorities with procedures and safeguard for addressing these problems. Apart from that the author has also highlighted issues on armed conflicts and refugees and the means for dealing with gross violations of humanitarian law including appeals made under UN. Moreover, new institutions in this field have been cordially dealt with including High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Centre for Human Rights, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ILO (International Labour Organizations), Council of Europe, Organization of African Unity (OAU), African Charter, Organization of American States (OAS), other inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Ending with recent initiatives have been undertaken by UNESCO in the area of human rights education.
  • All the Articles of ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ have been very tactfully interpreted covering the diversity of questions arising out of those provisions.  Matters dealing right to equality backed by responsibility of the State to ensure these rights. Abolition of the death penalty, Contemporary slavery and torture. Remedies for violation of constitutional or legal rights (Art.8). Covering basic principles of Natural Justice under Art.11, right to privacy, right to freedom of opinion and expression under Art.19. Concept of asylum, nationality, adequate standard of living, education and Universal suffrage. Ending with the realization of duties of individual to uphold their rights.

My Analysis

After going through the depth of this book, I have really unblocked various doubts jumping in my brain cells. Frankly speaking I found it worth reading and not monotonous at all, as these ironical cartoons acted as a catalyst developing zeal to learn more on various facets of human rights. So, in one single book of 86 pages the author has tried his best to uncover the debated questions on practical implementation of given statutes. Though, some of the new concepts popping up are to be upgraded which shall refine its veracity of approach.

Concluding Remark

Everyone should know their human rights to challenge it when found violative. So, this book shall be really a guide to help you to reach your conclusion. I shall be very happy to suggest any one to go through the book once. I assure that the reader won’t regret spending their valuable time. So, rather than breaking head on the statutes, it’s a smart choice to understand the same by relevant answers and illustrative cartoons.

Author’s Note- :

If you are really convinced by my review you can read the same in detail, following the given URL-