Characteristics of Human Rights: 6 Important Characteristics of Human Rights

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As a human being, it is very important to know your fundamental human rights and the characteristics of human rights in general because, they are the rights that are inherent in every citizen of a state. It doesn’t matter the age, sex or tribe of that citizen. This is apparently why human rights are said to be inalienable and immutable. Put in another way, it is impossible to alienate or change the human right of a person. Human rights are the rights given to every citizen of a state by virtue of the fact that they are Human.

Considering how important the fundamental human rights of a person is, i have decided to share with you everything you need to know about human rights. Basically, we will be looking at the definition of human right, categories of human rights and the characteristics of human right. However, for the purpose of clearity, we will focus more on the characteristics of the fundamental human rights. Without wasting much time, let’s quickly move to the crux of this article.

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Watch our YouTube Video on the characteristics of human rights above. 

What are human rights?

Human rights can simply be defined as those rights which are given to a person because of the fact that he is human. These rights are inalienable and immutable in nature. Elaborating this definition, Wikipedia defined Human rights as those moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behaviour and are regularly protected as natural and legal rights in municipal and international law. This is apparently why human rights are also called the natural right of the person.

It is worthwhile to note that human rights are of three categories. The different categories of human right will be explicitly explained below as we continue.

Categories of human rights

The categories of human rights are:

  1. Civil and political rights
  2. Economic and social cultural rights
  3. Solidarity/Development rights

Civil and political rights:

Civil and political rights are also known as the first generation rights. They are liberty oriented. Political philosophers postulate that civil and political rights are given by God and as such, they cannot be taken by any human born.

Economic and Social cultural rights:

The second category of human right is the Economic and Social cultural right. These rights are known as the second generation right and they are security oriented rights. More so, for the Economic and Social cultural rights of citizens to be granted, the government must come into play. Rights under Economic and Social cultural rights includes: right to work, right to education, a reasonable standard of living etc. It is to meet the basic needs of man which are food, shelter, health care etc.

Solidarity/Development rights:

The last category of human right is Solidarity/Development right. These rights are also known as the third generation rights. Legal scholars have stated that this category of human right was developed in Africa. They include; the right to live in an environment that is clean and protected from destruction. 

Now that you know the definition and categories of human rights, i will now take you through some of the characteristics of human right. I enjoin you to pay close attention to the characteristics of human right discussed below so that your purpose for reading this work will be achieved:

Characteristic of human rights

Below are the characteristics of human rights

  1. Human rights are universal
  2. Human rights are inalienable and immutable
  3. Human rights are Indivisible and interrelated
  4. Human rights are inherent
  5. Human rights are protected by the court of law
  6. Human rights are enforceable

Okay! Those are the characteristics or features of human right you need to know. For a detailed explanation of the characteristics mentioned above, please continue reading as I will disclose everything you need to know below.

Human rights are universal

In the beginning of this article, i explained that human rights are those rights that are given to a person as soon as he/she is born. These rights are universal. It doesn’t matter the tribe, religion of sex of the person.

characteristics of human right

characteristics of human right

Following the Universal Declaration of Human Right in 10th December 1948, Human rights are the same in all state that is a member of the United Nations.

Human rights are inalienable and immutable

Aside from the facts that human rights are universal, they are also inalienable and immutable. Many political philosophers are of the opinion that human rights are given by God to everyone, and as such, they should not be taken or changed by anyone. They are seen as inherent rights that cannot be taken away from a person.

features of human right

features of human right

Even in a military regime, where the state is ruled by dictators, the fundamental human rights of citizens are not actually taken away. The rights are only covered by decrees and edits made by the military. Thus, except where a person commits a crime, his human rights cannot be breached or limited by anyone.

Human rights are Indivisible and interrelated

This is a popular paradigm associated with human right. It posit that all human rights are related and for one to be ensured, the government must protect others too. Take for instance, if the government wants to protect the right to life, they have to ensure that citizens have good shelter, food and good environment to live in. Accordingly, for the right to fair hearing to be protected, the rights to access the court must be ensured.

what are the characteristics of human right

what are the characteristics of human right

So you see, human rights are indeed indivisible and interrelated. They cannot be totally separated from each other.

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Human rights are inherent

This is a very important feature of human right. In fact, almost all the characteristics i have already mentioned before now were drawn from the fact that human rights are inherent.

fundamental human rights and characteristics

fundamental human rights and characteristics

What this means is that, human rights are not given by the government through its legislation or any other person. They are rights that are inherent in a person by virtue of the fact that he is a human being. Thus, human rights are inalienable and immutable. They cannot be taken by the government or any person.

Human rights are protected by the court of law

Another characteristics of human rights is that, they are protected by the court of law. This is one of the core responsibility of the court in a state.

Definition of human rights, categories of human rights and their characteristics

Definition of human rights, categories of human rights and their characteristics

It is truism that many states have sections in their constitution that enjoins the court, which is the judiciary arm of the government, to protect the fundamental human rights of citizens when they are breached. This is why the right of fair hearing is not joked with by any court.

Human rights are enforceable

Unlike the Fundamental objectives and directive principles of state, human rights are enforceable. What this means is that, where there is a breach of any of the fundamental human rights of a citizens by any person or government, action can be brought against the defendant (s) in court.

definition and characteristics of human right

definition and characteristics of human right

Human rights are recognized by the law and that is why the constitution of many countries of the world today, protect the fundamental human rights of their citizens. In the United States, the fundamental human rights of citizens are protected in Bill of Rights and in Nigeria, the fundamental human right of citizens is protected in Section 4 of the 1999 constitution.

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Wrapping up

Haven read through the various characteristics of human right, it is evident that the Fundamental human rights of citizens are very important to ensure growth and development in a state. Thus, it is wise that every government protect the rights of her citizens very well, as that will ensure peace in the state. Hope this article was helpful? Meanwhile, if you still have questions or contributions to make to this article, kindly do so using the comment section below.

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