Month: May 2020

Human Rights Awareness: 5 Basic Rights of Every American Citizen

The norms and moral principles used to describe human behavior standards are known as human rights. International and municipal law recognize and protect human rights as legal and natural rights of humans.

Often understood as fundamental, inalienable rights, every individual is entitled to the rights simply for being human beings. Despite your location, age, language, ethnic origin, ethnicity, religion, or any other status, you’re entitled to human rights inherently as a human being.

Human rights are universal, hence applicable all the time and everywhere. Furthermore, they’re egalitarian, meaning each right is similar for everyone.

The rights expect the rule of law and empathy from every individual and imposes an obligation on everyone to respect each other’s human rights. With the exception of a due process on particular scenarios, nobody’s human right should be taken away.

For instance, human rights comprise of freedom from torture, unlawful imprisonment, and execution.

Benefits of Human Rights

Human rights ensure that everyone has access to basic human needs such as food, medication, clothes, water, and shelter. As a result, every individual develops a baseline for dignity.

However, not everyone worldwide has access to basic necessities and rights. Therefore, activists use human rights to fight for the basic needs of those without access.

Apart from helping people access basic needs, other benefits of human rights include:

  • Offers protection to vulnerable members in the society from abuse
  • Promotes freedom of expression and speech
  • Allows you to freely practice your religion
  • Promotes equal job opportunities for everyone
  • Gives you the freedom to love whomever you want
  • Offers protection to the environment

Here’re five basic human rights of every American citizen you should know:

5 Human Rights Every Citizen Should Know

1. The right to education and freedom of expression

Every individual has the right to basic and tertiary education, including adult basic education. It teaches literacy and builds a foundation for career and independence in the future.

Everyone has the right to speak, write or print whatever they want as part of freedom of expression. However, it’s important to never violate another person’s right with your freedom of expression.

You must also never break the law through your speech or written material.

2. The right to food, healthcare, social services, and water

Every human has the right to enough water, food, and social security services. You have the right to access healthcare services, including reproductive health care whenever you’re sick or a need arises.

You also need the right to social assistance if you’re unable to support yourself or have dependents.

3. The right to freedom and security

This right states that nobody can be imprisoned without a good reason. You must undergo trial before detainment. You must not be tortured, maltreated or punished in a cruel, degrading or inhuman way.

Every human being has the right not to be subjected to violence from private or public sources.

And, if you’re a detained, arrested or accused person, you have the right to a lawyer and representation before a judge in a court of law. Furthermore, you can’t be forced to make a confession or speak against your will or without the presence of a lawyer.

Even as a prisoner, you have the right to live under proper prison conditions and receive visitors, including members of your family.

As part of health security, you have the right to invest in an emergency healthcare solution to eliminate any chance of falling victim to preventable health conditions. Great Call gives you access to 24/7 urgent care and safety from your smartphone.

On the other hand, Lifelock would offer you protection from identity theft. It supports address variations to protect your identity from fraudsters online.

4. The right to personal privacy

Nobody, including the government is allowed to search your property or house, or seize anything that belongs to you without following the law and the right legal channels. This is for the reason that you have the right to personal privacy.

Additionally, due to your right to personal privacy, the government isn’t allowed to infringe on your communication. Whether you communicate through phone calls or emails, the government isn’t allowed to tap or eavesdrop on your conversations or messages.

5. The right to freedom of association

Whom do you want to relate with? You have the right to associate with anyone you want, and so is everyone else.

Everyone has the right to associate with a political party, trade union, club, religious domination, business fraternity, sports clubs, or any other association they want.

6 Ways to Advocate for Human Rights within the Law

Matters of human rights advocacy rub the shoulders of the government of the day in a wrong way. At times, they violate them willingly to test the waters. In case they succeed without any hindrances, that’s a typical dictatorial type of leadership.

In democratic governance, human rights advocacy groups have all the freedom to raise their voices against any acts that violate human rights. Some turn violent. It takes a strong heart to become a human rights advocate. The heroes in the fight against human rights had the following similar personalities.

  • Excellent negotiation skills
  • Great project managers
  • The best storytellers
  • A proper grasp of the law

As a human rights advocate, there are various ways to ensure you drive a point home- the authorities. It’s not a day’s work; it needs research, needs assessment, and empowerment to get the best route; to have your voice is heard. Who can be a human rights advocate?

  • Lawyers
  • Educationists
  • Environmental conservationists
  • Politicians
  • Civil society organization leaders

In most cases, the non-profit making organizations take the leading role as human rights watch firms. They stand a better chance since they are non-partisan.

They purely serve the interest of the citizens. The reasons why they are the best people to fight for the rights of the common man is

  • No conflict of interest
  • Non-partisan
  • The humanitarian nature of their work
  • Ability to effectively use the corridors of justice
  • Sit in policy meetings as interested parties
  1. Capacity-building among stakeholders

An empowered workforce in human rights advocacy translates to a professional impact on issues of the fight for human rights. Training, seminars, and conferences held on such matters equip participants with the right knowledge to face the concerned parties with all the facts within the law.

The advantage of these capacity building seminars involves all parties, including the government entities. As much as people agree to disagree, in the end, everyone must fulfill their mandate. It’s the best way to give a chance to the disadvantaged people- women, disabled, and discriminated groups, among others- to air their practical views on how they feel their rights are being violated. You get to have tailored solutions on the best way to handle them at the governance level.

  1. Active lobbying

Lobbying is the best strategy to gain popularity, especially when you have to use elections to win a case. It puts pressure on the government to amend bills, restructure policies, and to some extent, change the laws to suit the relevant people. In some countries, people go as far as giving out bribes is the order of the day to ensure the motion goes through or not depending on the side of the concerned parties. The main activities involved in lobbying are

  • Public participation
  • Retreats for legislators
  • In-house committees
  1. Provision of human rights services

What happens when you have helpless citizens who have their human rights violated? It’s the work of the human rights advocacy to offer the services. Since it is a non-profit organization, the services are mostly free of charge; in case of any legal fees, then it’s at a subsidized rate.

 It’s within the law to stand in for a citizen or apply as an interested party in a legal case that touches on human rights. Once the government agencies notice your interest in court cases, they have no option but to do what is right. They understand the cost implications that come with such kind of legal battles.

  1. Raising awareness through education

Education is power; an empowered nation reduces the burden on advocacy work. It shifts strength to the citizens. They can differentiate the wrong and the right in their human rights fight.

Moreover, they know the legal channels to follow to get justice for whatever case they put before a judge. Social media and traditional mainstream media are the main ways to disseminate information to the public throughout the nation and the world.  

  1. Legal enforcement

The three arms of government – executive, legislative, and the judiciary- are independent bodies that oversee the work of the other. When one challenge of communication fails, more options are still available.

The court is a” friend” to human rights advocacy groups. They interpret the law which protects the rights of men and women.

When there is a standstill between an advocacy group and the legislative arm of government, the only savior is the legal enforcement agency- the judiciary. In as much as the executive uses a dictatorial form of leadership to instill some policies and laws, the judiciary is available to cushion the citizens against such selfish acts.

  1. Public demonstration

When all manner of avenues fails, a public demonstration is always the last resort. It’s within the bylaws to hold a public rally as long as you notify the government and follow the due procedures.

It’s an activity that takes place any time of the year, whether its winter or summer. Do human rights matters know about the weather? It can’t be postponed. You only need to put on the best clothing to suit the day.

The passion for fighting for human rights issues overlooks all the prevailing weather conditions. It’s not a walk in the park, you walk long distances, and you play cat-and-mouse games with the law enforcement officers.

Your relief is when you have your voice heard. At the end of the day, you have to take a hot shower to warm your body using the heater for the cold climates or humidifiers for the warm climates.

A tankless water heater is an essential appliance to install for your home. It’s the best relaxing strategy after the long battle on the streets trying to make a point on the human rights challenges you want to be addressed in the respective legislative arms of government.

If you are passionate about human rights advocacy, you have many options for fighting for it within the law. Lawmakers knew too well the resistance that comes with this kind of work. It explains why the many clauses within the constitution to ensure citizens or human rights watch do their job without any restrictions.