Human rights are those rights that citizens of a particular country enjoy as members of the country and they are the rights that cannot be taken away from the citizens except occasion(s) warrant such. The rights of citizens are also referred to as fundamental human rights. They are usually a basic component in the constitution of democratic countries.
Classification of Fundamental Human Rights
(a) Social and Economic Rights
- Right to life, security and privacy.
- Freedom from fear and ignorance.
- Right to Education.
- Right to peaceful assembly and association.
- Right to work and to just remuneration i.e. salary, wages etc.
- Right to protection against unemployment.
- Right to just and favourable conditions of work (workers should not be sacked unjustly).
(b) Political Rights
- Right to vote and be voted for.
- Right to join political party of one’s choice.
- Equal access to public office or access to aspire for any political office of one’s country, if one qualifies.
(c) Legal Rights
- Right to fair hearing in the court of law.
- Right to family life.
- Equality before the law.
- Right to personal liberty.
(d) Civil Rights
- Freedom of movement.
- Freedom of religion.
- Freedom to own property.
Limitations to Human Rights
The constitution of the land clearly states the rights of the citizens as well as the limitation to those rights. In fact, it is often said that “where one’s right end, is where another person’s rights begins”. It equally means that no matter the status of a person, no one should tamper with another person’s rights.
Some of the limitations to human rights are as follows:
- A person sentenced to jail or convicted by a law court has lost his/her freedom of movement.
- Insane person or someone whose illness can spread easily to another person may be quarantined or denied freedom of movement.
- Right to freedom of speech is checked and restricted by the law of libel and slander.
- Demonstration, religious activities, political rallies, etc can be stopped to ensure peace and orderliness in the community.
- During state of emergency, curfew or restricted movement can be imposed to curb violence and restore peace and order.
- Properties may be seized for state use e.g. land or if such property constitute a threat to the peace of the nation.
How to safeguard Human Rights
The rights of human beings can be safeguarded through the following means:
- Constitution of the land whether written or unwritten specifies rights of the citizen and the punishments meant for offenders.
- Election of good and credible people into government at all level of governance through a periodic and one-man-vote procedure.
- The existence of independent judiciary safeguards human rights.
- The existence of free press in the state safeguards human rights.
- Education, public awareness and mobilization. These key areas of life will make citizens know their rights.