Protection of human rights and the rule of law are fundamental principles that form the basis of a just and equitable society. Let’s explore each of these concepts in more detail:
Table of Contents
1. Human Rights:
Human rights are inherent to all individuals, regardless of their race, gender, nationality, religion, or any other characteristic. They encompass a set of fundamental rights and freedoms that every person is entitled to, such as the right to life, liberty, security, equality, and dignity. Human rights are enshrined in various international and regional treaties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), among others.
Protecting human rights involves creating a legal framework that upholds and respects these rights, as well as establishing institutions and mechanisms to enforce and promote them. Governments play a crucial role in safeguarding human rights through legislation, effective governance, and ensuring access to justice. Civil society organizations, the media, and individuals also have an important role in advocating for human rights and holding governments accountable for their obligations.
2. Rule of Law:
The rule of law is a principle that emphasizes the supremacy of law and the equality of all individuals before it. It implies that no one is above the law, including government officials and institutions, and that laws should be applied consistently and fairly to all. The rule of law requires that laws be clear, predictable, and transparent and that legal processes be accessible, impartial, and accountable.
The rule of law helps to ensure stability, protect individual rights, and prevent abuses of power. It provides a framework for resolving disputes, upholding justice, and fostering a society based on principles of fairness and equality. The rule of law also includes the notion that laws should be enacted and enforced in accordance with democratic processes and with respect for human rights.
The relationship between human rights and the rule of law is closely intertwined. The rule of law is essential for the effective protection of human rights, as it establishes the legal framework and mechanisms necessary to enforce and uphold those rights. Conversely, the respect for human rights is a core element of the rule of law, as laws and legal processes should be designed to safeguard and promote the rights and dignity of individuals.
There is no agreed-upon definition of human rights. They can be thought of as rights that protect especially urgent moral concerns of humans that are: (a) universal, i.e., applying to every human, and (b) applying equally, meaning everyone has the same human rights — to life and liberty, for example. Notice that “inalienable” is not included in the definition.
Many people believe that at least some human rights can be forfeited by certain actions, especially by committing crimes, and that some human rights can be overridden under certain rare circumstances. For instance, it might be morally acceptable to quarantine someone for a limited period of time if she is infected with a highly contagious deadly disease, although generally people are thought to have the right to liberty.
The theories of human rights’ origins are contentious. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) asserts that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It goes on to designate a long list of rights including:
- the right to life, liberty, and security of person,
- the right not to be tortured,
- the right to due process and equal treatment before the law,
- freedom of thought, opinion, expression, conscience, and religion,
- the right to participate in his or her countries’ government
- the right to work, and an adequate standard of living
3. Human Rights Protection
Methods of guaranteeing human rights vary with the sort of human right being violated, and how the violation occurs. Generally, states are assumed to have primary responsibility for guaranteeing their citizens’ human rights, but, at the same time, states are often the worst violators of human rights.
Since World War II, however, states have consented to a number of institutions and treaties that limit their sovereign internal and external powers. For instance, the UN Charter, the Genocide Convention, and the International Criminal Court all limit the powers states have. These supranational institutions both place limits on what states can legally do, and provide some remedies for violations of human rights.
These remedies range from authorizing humanitarian intervention under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to peacekeeping missions to authorizing the arrest of a head of state. Recent normative developments, such as the responsibility to protect (R2P) doctrine, may create higher costs for states that abuse their citizens and may provide another justification for international humanitarian intervention, as happened in Libya in the spring of 2011.
Another means of protecting human rights originates with non-state actors such as NGOs. Organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch expose violations of human rights, which put pressure on governments to change their practices. Citizens themselves sometimes organize to overthrow human-rights-violating regimes such as occurred in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011.
4. Groups That Assist in Protecting the Human Rights Of Citizens
- Civil Society Organization
- Trade Unions
- Student Unions
- Ethnic Association
- Legal Aid Council Of Nigeria
In summary, the protection of human rights and the rule of law are vital for a just and equitable society. They go hand in hand, with the rule of law providing the framework for upholding human rights and ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and equally under the law. Governments, civil society, and individuals all have important roles to play in promoting and defending these principles.