Civic Education Notes

Characteristics and Categories of Human rights


Human rights are inalienable privileges and freedom the citizen of every member states of the United Nations enjoy.  They had standards that enable people to live dignified and decent life.

Its recognition enhanced societal and individual development.

Human right; dated back to 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human right of the United Nations charter which came in to effect on 10th December, of every year is observed Universally as the Human right’s day.

For human rights to thrive, it must be protected by the Rule of Law. Professor AV Dicey (1838 to 1932) postulated Human Rights as one of the three main features of the rule of law.

The Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR) which was adopted by a vote of 48 against zero begins with a preamble made up of seven paragraphs as follows:

  1. The first paragraph considers the dignity of all persons as the basis of justice and peace throughout the world.
  2. The second paragraph emphasizes the fact that the disrespect, the abuse of human right result in chaotic act which have broken the four freedom: Freedom of speech, Belief, want and Freedom from fear. This four freedoms are described as the peak of their aspiration of man kind
  3. The third provided that human right should be protected by the rule of law.
  4. The fourth present human right as a vista for developing friendly relation between nations and person.
  5. The fifth links the declaration back to the chapter which established faith in Fundamental Human Right, dignity and worth (value) of person.
  6. The sixth is emphatic of the fact that all member state of all united Nations have pledge themselves. 

The promotion of Universal respect and observation of Fundamental freedom and Right.

  • The seventh, refers to a common understanding of right and freedom as the most potent tool activating the pledge.


The characteristics of Human Rights include

  1. Inalienability: Human rights cannot be taken from the citizens rather it is a national contract that should be enjoyed by all.
  2. Unversality: Human rights are the same in all countries of the world irrespective of ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, gender (sex) or political division.  It is applicable to all that has to do with human freedom in the society.
  3. Indisputability: Human rights cannot be challenged or denied anyone since they are entrenched
  4. Indivisibility: Human rights like the dignity of persons, descent living and freedoms should be enjoyed by all citizens in its entirety.
  5. Human rights are always entrenched in the constitution.  This strengthens and safeguards the Fundamental Human rights.


  1. Political rights: These are the privileges individual has as a member of a state and are guaranteed by the Law for him to engage in all forms of political activities in the state.
  2. Civic Right: These are rights every individual has to engage in without fear, molestation or favour to perform ones duty and obligations as a citizen.  They include freedom of Association, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression and publication.
  3. Social Rights: These rights allows him interact with people around him and not violate laws while interacting examples of social rights include freedom of conscience, thought and religion, freedom of Association.
  4. Cultural Rights: These allows individuals to preserve their customs and traditions and as well practice their unique way of life.
  5. Economic Rights: These include all the right protecting the proper conditions of service which may include wages, secured working environment, working hours, welfare etc.


  1. How can the individual right be protected?
  2. What role should your country Nigeria play in safeguarding UDHR?

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