THE CONCEPT OF FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT

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CHAPTER  ONE

1.0       INTRODUCTION

1.1    EVOLUTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN NIGERIA

          The  issue  of  human  rights  has  been  one  of  the  most  widely  debated  issues  throughout  the  word  in  the  last  fifty  years.

          Human  rights  evolution  in  Nigeria  is  traceable  to  be  attempt  by  the  British  Government   to  calm  the  fear  expressed  by  the  country  ethnic  minorities  that  the  majority  ethnic  minorities  that  the  majority  ethnic  group  in  control  of  political  powers  would  oppress  them  after  the  termination  of  the  British  colonial  government  it  was  therefore  the  fear  of  domination  of  minorities  by  the  majorities  that  ultimately  led  to  the  adoption   of  the  Bill  of  right  in  Nigeria  in  its  independence  constitution  of  1960.

          Successive  per-independence  constitutional  conference  dating  back  to  1953  have  often  then  only  fix  on  the  inclusion  of  certain  fundamental  rights  in  future  Nigeria  constitution.

          This  agitation  led  to  the  setting  up  of  a  Royal  Commission  of  Enquiry  in 1958. The  commission  investigated  and  recommended  the  incorporation  of  the  fundamental  Right  provisions  in  the  Nigeria  constitution.

          Following  the  report  of  Sir  Willink     Commission,  human  rights  were  entrenched  in  the  chapter  3  of  the  1960  constitution1,  the  following  are  rights  recognized  in  1960  and  corresponding  section.

1.           Right  to  life  and  dignity  of  human  person-section  17

2.           Freedom  from  inhuman  treatment – section  18

3.           Freedom  from  salavary  and  forced  labour – section 19

4.           Right  to  personal  liberty – section  20

5.           Determination  of  rights – section 21

6.           Right  to  private  life – section  22

7.           Right  to  freedom  of  conscience  - section  23

8.           Right  to  peaceful  assembly  and  association  - sec  25

9.           Freedom  of  movement  - section  26

10.       Freedom  from  discrimination  - section  27

11.       Right  to  compensation  for  compulsory  accusation  of  property – section  30

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1.             Chapter 3 (section 17 - 30) 1960 Constitution.

 

12.       Freedom  of  expression  - section  24

These  rights  were  repeated  verbatim  in  the  1963  Republican  Constitution  of  Nigeria  and  with  a  little  variation  for  amplification  in  the  1979  and  the  1989  constitution  which  was  not adopted.

Thus,  in spite  of  the  dramatic  experience  of  the  political  crisis  including  the  period  of  the  civil  war  of  1967 – 1970,  the  rights  have  remained  the  same.  That  is,  they  have  not  been  extinguished  by  any  military  or  civilian  Administration, but that  does  not  mean  that,  they  have  not  been  assaulted  or  threatened. 

In  recent  times  there  have  been  certain  Human  Rights  of  non  political  nature  which  are  not  necessarily  fundamentally  enshrined  in  the  constitution,  they  appeared  first  in  the  1979  Constitution.  Example  of  these  sets  of  rights  are  those  to  Education,  to  work  and  just  remuneration,  the  Right  to  just  or  favourable  condition  of  work,  right  to  protection  against  unemployment,  old  age  or  disability.

These  rights  are  grouped  under  the  head  fundamental  objectives  and  directive  principles  of  state  policies.  To  aid  our  understanding  of  our  various  categories  of  Human  Right  to  in  Nigeria, the following classification is essential, these includes 

A.          PERSONAL RIGHTS

These  include  the  right  to  life  under  section  33  of  the  1999  constitution,  Right  to  dignity  of  human  person  in  section  34,  the  right  to  personal  liberty  section  35  of  the  1999  constitution  and  the  right  to  freedom  of  movement  section  41.

B.          POLITICAL  AND MORAL RIGHTS

The  constitution  declares  the  entitlement  of  every  individual  to  freedom  of  expression,  including  the  freedom  to  hold  opinion  and  receive  and  impact  ideas  and  information  without  interference,  associated  or  closely  related  to  the  political  freedom  of  expression  section  39,  freedom  of  association  for  assembly  section  40,  freedom  of  conscience  and  religion  section  38.        

C.          PROPRIETARY RIGHTS

The  right  to  property  is  given  substantial  protection  in  that  prompt  and  adequate  compensation   must  be  provided  by  any  law  which  gave  the  power  to  compulsory  acquire  or  take  possession  of  property  section  44.  Also  the  right  to  privacy  of  correspondence  and  telephone  conversation  is  expressly  guaranteed   in  section  37.  Thus  personal  and  domestic  privacy  is  protected  to  supplement  common  law  protection  derived  from  the  law  of  trespass.  

D.          PROCEDURAL  (DUE PROCESS)  RIGHTS

The principle  of  fair  hearing  is  well  developed  at  common  law  but  this has  been  entrenched  in  the  constitution  in  far  greater  detail  than  were  before,  it  is  declared   in  section  36  of  the  1999  constitution  that in the  determination  of  civil  rights  and  obligation,  a  person  shall  be  entitled  to  fair  hearing  within  a  reasonable  time  by  a  court  or  other  tribunal  established  by  the  law  and  constituted  in  such  a  manner  as  to  secure  its  independence  and  impartiality.      

E.          EQUALITY RIGHT

It  emphasis  on  the  right  of  freedom  from  discrimination  Section 42  of  the  1999  constitution,  prohibits  discrimination  among  citizens on the  bases  of  sex,  age,  religion  race,  nationality  etc.  It  also  intends  to  protect  children  born  outside  wedlock.

     

F.           ENVIRONMENTAL  RIGHTS

The  right  appeared  in  the  1999  constitution  under  the  fundamental  objectives  and  directive  principle  of  state  policy  which  is  not  enforced,  (section  20  of  the  same  constitution).  This  policy  cannot  be divorced  because  of  its  importance  to the  right  to  life  and  survival.  Hence,  without  clean  to  uncontaminated  water the environment will not be a healthy for one to work in.

1.1    WHAT IS A RIGHT

          A  right  is  the  sovereignty  to  act  without  the  permission  of  others.  The  concept  of  a  right  carries  with  it  an  implicit,  unstated  footnote  you  may  exercise  your  rights  as  long  as  you  do  not  violate  the  same  rights  of  another.   Within  this  context,  rights  are  not  absolute.

          According  to  the  9th  edition  of  the  black’s  law  dictionary2.  “A  right  is  that  which  is  proper  under  law,  morality  or  ethnics  (know  right  from  wrong).  Something  that  is  due  to  a  person  by  just  claim,  legal  guarantee,  or  moral  principle.

          According  to  the  Osborn’s  10th  Concise Law  Dictionary3,  “a 

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2.             The 9th edition of the black’s law dictionary. p. 9 1436.

3.             The 10th edition of Osborn’s concise law dictionary. P 9 356

 

right  is  an  interest recognized  and  protected   by  the  law,  respect  for,  which  is  a  duty  and  disregard  of  which  is  a  wrong  (salmond).  A  capacity   residing  in  one  man  of  controlling,  with  the  assent  and  assistance  of  the  state,  the  actions  of  others.

          Rights  are  concerned  with  interests,  and  indeed  have  been  defined  as  interests  protected  by  rules  of  rights,  that  is  by  moral  or  legal  rules.  Yet  rights  and  interest  are  not  identical.  Interests  are things  which  are  to  a  man’s  advantage  he  has  an  interest  in  his  freedom  or  his  reputation.  His  rights  are  these,  if  he  has  such  rights  protect  of  interests,  which  accordingly  from  the  subject  of  his  rights  but  are  different   from  them.

          A  right  must  be  exercised  through  own  initiative  and  action.  It  is  not  a  claim  on  others.  This  means  you  do  not  have  the  right  to  the  time  in  another  person’s  life.  You  do  not  have  a  right  to  another  person’s  property.     

 

WHAT  ARE  HUMAN  RIGHTS

          Human  rights  are  rights  inherent  to  all  human  beings,  whatever  our  nationality,  place  of  residence,  sex, ethnic  group,  colour,  religion,  language,  or  any  other  status,  we  are  all  equally  entitled  to  our  human  rights  without  discrimination.  These  right  are  all  interrelated,  interdependent  and  indivisible.

          Universal  human  rights  are  often  expressed  and  guaranteed  by  law,  in  the  forms  of  treaties,  customary,  international  law  general  principles  and  other  sources  of  international  human  rights  law  lays  down  obligations  of  Governments  to  act  in  order  to  promote  and  protect  human  rights  and  fundamental  freedoms  of  individual  or  groups.

(a.)       Universal  and  Inalienable  Human  Rights      

The  principle  of  universality  of  human  rights  is  the  cornerstone  of  international  human  rights   law.

This  principle,  as  first   emphasized  in  the  universal  Declaration  on  human  right  in  1948,  has  been  reiterated  in  numerous  international  human  rights  conventions,  declarations,  and  resolution.  The  1993  vienna  world  conference  on  Human  rights,  for  example,  noted  that  it is  the  duty  of  states  to  promote  and  protect  all  human  rights  and  fundamental  freedoms,  regardless  of  their  political,  economic  and  cultural  systems.  All  states  have  ratified  at  one,  and  80%  of  have  ratified  four  or  more,  of  the  core  human  rights  treaties,  reflecting  consent  of  states  which  creates  expression  to  universality.  Some  fundamental  human  rights  enjoy  universal  protection  by  customary  in  international  laws  across  all  boundaries  and  civilizations.

Human  Rights  are   inalienable.  They  should  not  be  taken  away.  Except  in  specific  situation  and  according  to  due  process  for n for  example,  the  right  to   liberty  may  be  restricted  if  a  person  is  found  guilty  of  a  crime  by  a  court  of  law.

(b)     Interdependent  and  indivisible  human  right

All  human  rights  are  indivisible,  whether  they  are  civil  and  political  rights,  such  as  the  right  to  life,  equality  before  the  law  freedom  of  expression,  economic,  social  and  cultural  rights,  such  as  rights  to  work,  social  security  and  education,  or  collective  rights,  such  as  the  rights  to  development  and  self-determination,  are  indivisible,  interrelated  and  interdependent.  The  improvement  of  one  right  facilitates  advancement  of  the  others.  Likewise,  the  deprivation  of  one  right  adversely  affects  the  others.

 

 

(c)     Equal  and   non-discriminatory  human  right

Non-discrimination  is  a  cross-cutting  principle  in  international  human  rights  law.  The  principle  is  present  in  all   the  major  human  rights  treaties  and  provides  the  central  theme  of  some  of  international  human  rights  conventions  such  as  the  international  convention  on  the  elimination  of  all  forms  of  Racial  discrimination  and  the  convention  on  the  Elimination  of  all  forms  of  Discrimination  against  women.

          The  principle  applies  to  everyone  in  relation  to  all  human  rights  and  freedom  and  it  prohibits  discrimination  on  the  basis  of  a  list  of  non-exhaustive  categories  such  as  sex,  race,  colour  and  so  no  ented  by  the  principle  of  equality,  as  stated  in  Article  of  the  Universal  Declaration  of  Human  Right,  “All  human  an  beings  are  born  free  and  equal  in  dignity  and  rights”.

(d)     Both  rights and obligation

          Human  rights  entail  both  rights  and  obligations.  states  assume  obligations  and  duties  under  international  law  to  respect,  to  protect  and  fulfill  human  rights.

The  obligation  to  respect  means  that  states  must  refrain  from  interfacing  with  or  curtailing  the  enjoyment  of  human  rights.  the  obligation  to  protect  requires  states  to  protect  individual  and  groups  against  human  rights  abuses.  The    obligation  to  fulfill  means  that  states  must  take  positive  action to  facilitate  the  enjoy  meant  of  basic  human  rights.  At  the  individual  level,  while  we  are  entitled  to  our  human  rights,  we  should  also  respect  the  human  rights  of  others. 

THE CONCEPT OF FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT

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Human rights evolution in Nigeria is traceable to be attempt by the British Government to calm the fear expressed by the country ethnic minorities that the majority ethnic minorities that the majority ethnic group in control of political powers would oppress them after the termination of the British colonial government it was therefore the fear of domination of minorities by the majorities that ultimately led to the adoption of the Bill of right in Nigeria in its independence constitution of 1960... law project topics

THE CONCEPT OF FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT