Limitations To Fundamental Human Rights
Fundamental human rights can be referred to as those inalienable (natural) rights, and privileges enjoyed by the citizens of a given state, which are usually stated in the constitution of the country. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure that its citizens enjoy these rights.
These are the rights the United Nations Organisation (UNO) has called on all member states and governments of the world to incorporate in their constitution.
Such Rights include:
The right to life, security and protection from inhuman treatment, freedom from slavery, the right to seek redress in court, freedom from unlawful detention and imprisonment, freedom of movement, freedom of joining and forming associations, freedom of expression and free freedom of the press, etc.
Factors Affecting Fundamental Human Rights
The rights of the individual can be limited by the state in the following ways:
- The life of an individual may be taken when he commits an offence (such as murder or treason) which carries the death penalty.
- The freedom of religion (or belief) may be restricted when the individual refuses to obey the law of the state, which is in conflict with his religious belief or engages in rites which are contrary to the state’s ordinarily accepted standard of morals.
- If an individual forms or joins or operates an illegal association, his freedom of association may be limited.
- An individual has the freedom to enter mto a contract, but the prohibits contracts which promote a monopoly of goods and services and personal servitude of an individual.
- Freedom of expression does not give one the right to abuse or make wrong allegations against a person. The laws of slander, libel and sedition protect against abuse of this right. For example, it is wrong to go to the market and shout ‘thief’ when there is no thief in sight.
- The freedom of movement of the individual may be limited if he commits an offence for which he can be arrested.
- Property rights are recognized by the constitution and the state protects against theft and damage of various kinds. But during emergencies, the state may interfere in property rights. For example, your vehicle can be hijacked to move soldiers to the war front.
- During periods of emergency, fundamental human rights may be sidelined by the state authorities. For example, the government may detain a person who is considered a security risk.
- People suffering from such contagious diseases like leprosy or tuberculosis may be quarantined and confined to a place so as not to be a danger to other individuals.
- Delinquents or individuals who are mentally unbalanced or insane may be sent to a foster home or a mental or psychiatric hospital. Such people are detained or confined for their own protection and for the protection of others.
- In theory, there is right to fair hearing and right to speedy and fair trial. In practice, however, the rich who can hire lawyers and bear litigation expenses and delays involved in appeals to higher courts are frequently said to obtain better treatment (or justice) than those with less financial means.