Civic Education

Fundamental human rights

The fundamental right that humans have by the fact of being human, and that are neither created nor can be abrogated by any government.

Human rights is simply the natural right and privileges enjoyed by citizens of any given state which are usually outlined in the constitution of the state. It is the duty of a state to ensure that her citizens enjoy these rights.

These was the major reason why the United Nations Organization (UNO) urged are member states and all government of the entire world to incorporate the existence of human rights in the their constitutions for easy and proper references.

Human Rights according to 1999 constitution are outlined as follows:

  • The right to life
  • Freedom from slavery act
  • Right to acquire and own movable and unmovable property
  • Freedom of the press
  • Right to fair hearing
  • Right to dignity of human person
  • Freedom of movement and freedom of expression
  • Right to private and family life
  • Freedom of unlawful detention and imprisonment

Characteristics of Human Rights

1) Universality of Human Rights: This simply means that the concept of human rights is the same all over the world, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, sex or political belief.

2) Inalienability: Inalienability of human rights means that as a human being, you are entitled to human rights. It cannot be taken away from you, else life will become unbearable. No government has the right to deprive citizens of their rights, except in specific situations like emergencies and war periods. It must however be done according to due process.

3) Particularity: Human rights exist for a particular period of human existence. In other word, the human right being enjoyed by a human being will exist for the period for which the person is alive.

4) Relativity: The concept of human rights varies in some culture and in some regions of the world. It varies in relative to their understanding of human rights and how they intend to uphold it.

5) Indivisibility: All human rights are indivisible whether they are civil and political, economic, social and cultural, they are interrelated and interdependent. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others.

Categories of Human Rights

  1. Civic and political rights (known as first rights); they are as follow
  • Right to vote
  • Right to seek redress
  • Right to freedom of personal liberty
  • Right to life
  • Right to petition
  • Freedom of joining and forming associations
  • Right to freedom of conscience
  1. Economic and Social rights (known as second rights); they are as follows
  • Right to work
  • Right to fair compensation
  • Right to own property
  • Right to petition
  • Right to form and join trade unions
  • Right to free choice of employment
  1. Environmental rights (known as third rights); they are as follows
  • Freedom of movement
  • Right to social security
  • Right to private and family life
  • Freedom from slavery
  • Right to security and protection from inhuman treatment

How individual rights can be protected

For people to enjoy their fundamental rights completely, the following steps must be taken:

  1. Provision of Human Right Education: The citizen should be given appropriate human right education. This is because the only way people can avoid being deprived of their rights is to have adequate knowledge of their rights. There are two ways of doing this:
  2. Public enlightenment: The National Orientation Agencies (NOA) has to keep the public well informed by sponsoring enlightenment programmes on the televisions and radio. They can also print the details of the rights in the form of handbills and posters after which they will distribute to the masses
  3. Formal Education: The school should teach the pupils about human rights in various school subjects. School teachers are also to educate the students and pupils in their daily assembly briefing. When there is proper knowledge of these rights, no one will be deprived of it.
  4. Making Laws that forbids Rights violation: Where laws do not exist, people cannot be blamed or punished for wrong actions, but where there is law people apply caution. Therefore laws that spell out the various rights and punishment attached to their violations should be made.
  5. Prosecution of people who violate Right: After people have been well educated of their rights and punishment attached to the violations, anyone who therefore chooses to intimidate or denied other people of their right by using their affluence, power, or position should be prosecuted according to the law.

When rights of an individual can be deprived

  1. During emergency period like war, threat to internal security, a citizen may be detained without trial by the president if the person is regarded as a security risk.
  2. The right to life of a citizen can be denied if the person is found guilty of a murder or criminal case.
  3. The right to freedom of assembly or association can be denied if the association is not in accordance to the law of the land. e.g. cultism,
  4. Right to freedom of movement can also be denied if the citizen has criminal case pending in court in which giving the criminal bail might jeopardize the investigation of the case by the law enforcement agencies.
  5. The right to vote can also be curtailed if a citizen is not 18 years old.


  1. What is human right and list out all the human rights.
  2. List and explain 5 characteristics of human rights.
  3. What are the three categories of human rights?
  4. List the ways human rights can be protected.
  5. When are conditions when human rights are deprived?

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