There are basic human rights and freedoms that all people of a country are entitled to regardless of their gender, ethnic origin, religion, language or other status. These basic rights and freedoms are called Human Rights. Every citizens of a country enjoys some fundamental human rights which have been included in the Constitution of the country.
Aim of This Study Human Rights
At the end of reading this lesson, Students should be able to:
1. Explain the meaning of UDHR
2. Give the brief historical background of UDHR
3. Explain the meaning of the seven core freedoms of UDHR
4. Mention the seven core freedom of UDHR
5. Give the roles of individuals, groups in UDHR
6. Explain the role of government in UDHR.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an important part of international customary law. It represents the first global expression on rights to which all human being are entitled. The Universal Declaration of Human Right strongly suggests, to member nations, to promote a number of human, economic, civic and social rights. The behavior of states and to make them perform their duties to the citizens. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights include the following.
(i) Right to individual in relation to each other and groups.
(ii) The basic principles of dignity, liberty, equality and motherhood
(iii) Social and cultural rights
(iv) Public and political rights
(v) Economic rights
(vi) Spiritual rights.
Historical Background of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10th of December, 1948 at Palais Chaillot, Paris. The declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War when cruelty almost beyond belief was being inflicted on prisoners of war. During the Second World War, four freedoms were adopted that is freedom of speech, freedom of Assembly, freedom from fear and freedom from want as their basic war aims. The United Nation Charter reaffirmed faith in fundamental human rights and dignity for all member states to promote universal respect for, and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all regardless of race, sex, language or religion.
Adoption of the UDHR
The universal declaration of human rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10th December, 1948 by a vote of 48 in favour and 0 against. The vote for the declaration was 48 to 0 with 8 abstention.
Seven Core Freedoms of UDHR
The universal declaration of human rights consist of seven paragraphs followed by a statement “proclaiming” the declaration. Each paragraph sets out a reason for the adoption of the Declaration of UDHR.
1. First Paragraph
This asserts, that the recognition of human dignity of all people is the foundation of justice and peace in the world.
2. Second Paragraph
This observes that disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind and that the four freedoms: freedom of speech, belief, freedom fro want and freedom from fear which is “proclaimed” as the highest aspiration of the people should be adhered to.
3. Third Paragraph
This states that human rights should be protected by rule of law.
4. Fourth Paragraph
This relates human rights to the development of friendly relations between nations.
5. Fifth Paragraph
This links the declaration back to the United Nations charter which reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and dignity and worth of the human person.
6. Sixth Paragraph
This talks about the promotion of universal respect and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms as pledged by all members of the United Nation.
7. Paragraph Seven
This observe that a common understanding of rights and freedoms is of great importance for the full realization of that pledge.
These paragraphs are followed by the proclamation of the declaration as a common standard of achievement for all nations so that all individuals and all organs of the society should, by teaching and education, promote respect for these rights and freedom and by progressive measure, national and international, secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.
Roles of Individual and Groups in Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The universal declaration of human rights is a legal effort to limit the behavior of states and aid to make them carry out their duties to the citizens. Evert individual has one role or the other to play in ensuring that the rights of citizens are protected. Every individual and group should keep this declaration constantly in mind and strive to:
1. Teach and educate to promote respect for the rights and freedoms of citizens;
2. Embark on advocacy through print and electronic media such as papers and radio or television respectively;
3. Embark on awareness campaign on protection of human rights.
Roles of Government in Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The universal declaration was explicitly adopted for the purpose of defining the meaning of the word “Fundamental freedoms” and “Human Rights” which appears in the United Nations charter which is binding on all member states. For this reason, the universal declaration is a fundamental constitution document of the United Nations. It was believed by many international lawyers that the declaration forms part of customary and international law and is a powerful tool in the application of diplomatic and moral pressure to governments that violate any of its articles. To this end, the government should do the following:
a. Make civic education a compulsory subject at all levels (primary, secondary and tertiary). This will educate the people on their rights as citizens as well as their obligations to their country.
b. Embark on advocacy through print and electronic media.
c. Establish agencies such as the legal aid Council, NAPTIP, etc. To help in protecting the rights of citizens.
Legal Aid Council of Nigeria
The Legal Aid Council of Nigeria was established to ensure that Nigeria have access to legal aid. The council consist of group of lawyers with the intention to provide free legal services to indigent suspects. The council was given formal and legal backing by the federal government. The council is trying to assist many clients giving its limited finantand human resources. This is to ensure that legal aid and advice are available to many citizens. The Legal Aid Council’s statutory duties include the following:
• To provide free legal representation.
• To provide free legal advice.
• To provide free legal assistance such as protecting human rights.
Meaning Of NAPTIP and Functions
National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other Related Matters (NAPTIP) is the trafficking in persons (Prohibition) law enforcement and administration Act of 2003. It was created by the Federal government of Nigeria as a response to addressing the scourge of trafficking in persons in Nigeria and its attendant human abuses in its entire ramification. NAPTIP according to law, has the following functions to perform.
1. To investigate and prosecute traffickers.
2. To adopt witness protection measures.
3. To coordinate all laws on trafficking in person related offence.
4. To enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement agent so as to suppress traffic in person.
5. To adopt measures to increase the effectiveness of eradication of trafficking in person.
We have been able to deal extensively on universal declaration of human rights which is an important part of international customary law that represents the first global expressions of rights to which all human being are entitled. And that Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a legal effort to limit the behavior of states and make them perform their duties to citizens. Also, the roles of individuals, groups and government in Universal Declaration of Human Rights were considered among which include teaching and educating to promote respect for the rights and freedoms of citizens, embarking on awareness campaigns on rights of the citizens that must be protected and government establishing agencies such as the Legal Aid Council, NAPTIP, etc. to help protect the rights of citizens, etc.