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Protection of Human Rights & Rule Of Law

There is no agreed-upon definition of human rights. They can be thought of as rights that protect especially urgent moral concerns of humans that are: (a) universal, i.e., applying to every human and (b) apply equally, meaning everyone has the same human rights — to life and liberty, for example. Notice that “inalienable” is not included in the definition.

Many people believe that at least some human rights can be forfeited by certain actions, especially by committing crimes, and that some human rights can be overridden under certain rare circumstances. For instance, it might be morally acceptable to quarantine someone for a limited period of time if she is infected with a highly contagious deadly disease, although generally people are thought to have the right to liberty.

The theories of human rights’ origins are contentious. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) asserts that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It goes on to designate a long list of rights including:

  • the right to life, liberty, and security of person,
  • the right not to be tortured,
  • the right to due process and equal treatment before the law,
  • freedom of thought, opinion, expression, conscience, and religion,
  • the right to participate in his or her countries’ government
  • the right to work, and an adequate standard of living

Human Rights Protection

Methods of guaranteeing human rights vary with the sort of human right being violated, and how the violation occurs. Generally, states are assumed to have primary responsibility for guaranteeing their citizens’ human rights, but, at the same time, states are often the worst violators of human rights.

Since World War II, however, states have consented to a number of institutions and treaties that limit their sovereign internal and external powers. For instance, the UN Charter, the Genocide Convention, and the International Criminal Court all limit the powers states have. These supranational institutions both place limits on what states can legally do, and provide some remedies for violations of human rights.

These remedies range from authorizing humanitarian intervention under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to peacekeeping missions to authorizing the arrest of a head of state. Recent normative developments, such as the responsibility to protect (R2P) doctrine, may create higher costs for states that abuse their citizens and may provide another justification for international humanitarian intervention, as happened in Libya in the spring of 2011.

Another means of protecting human rights originates with non-state actors such as NGOs. Organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch expose violations of human rights, which put pressure on governments to change their practices. Citizens themselves sometimes organize to overthrow human-rights violating regimes such as occurred in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011.


Groups That Assist in Protecting the Human Rights Of Citizens

  1. Civil Society Organization
  2. Trade Unions
  3. Student Unions
  4. Ethnic Association
  5. Legal Aid Council Of Nigeria

See also:



Relationship between Federal, State and Local government


The Current Nigerian constitution


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