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Revisiting and Reviewing The Fundamental Human Rights In Relation To The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Issues Arising

People must be allowed to express their fundamental human rights at any point in time without threat to life and property

By Simeon Okoro

It is definitely the fundamental human right of people’s freedom of speech, religions, assemblies, associations, clubs and all other lawful gatherings as clearly stipulated in the constitutional documents of nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

People must be allowed to express their fundamental human rights at any point in time without threat to life and property!

However, it is imperative to constantly note that in expressing our fundamental human rights at any point in time, we should be mindful and careful of our statements, utterances, and comments.

The expressions of our fundamental human rights must not constitute a threat to the peaceful co-existence and harmonious relationship of the society at large. However, constructive criticisms, views, comments, and statements are a welcome development for governments of nations. This is because constructive and objective criticisms, statements and comments, utterances will make a listening political leadership adjust and make amendments in the governance of nations if, when, and whenever the need arises!

There have been confirmed reported cases of senseless, inhumane, callous, manslaughter, banditry, kidnapping, extrajudicial killing, vandalization of properties, ritual murder, and other social negative menace taking place in the 21st century world

It is people’s fundamental human right to be residents in any part of a country and to practice and embrace the religions of our choice.

It is important for us as a people to have religious tolerance. We must also apply wisdom in the worship, practice, expressions, and assemblies or gatherings of our place of worship.

Both jungle justice and extrajudicial killing are totally unacceptable. Also, manslaughter, murder, killing, ritual murder, banditry, kidnapping, and other social menace are all totally unacceptable from ancient to contemporary times.

Perpetrators, supporters, and collaborators of extrajudicial killing, banditry, kidnapping, manslaughter, ritual killings, violence, and other barbaric and evil acts must be brought to justice to face the full wrath of the law.

As people, let’s love one another, let’s practice religious tolerance.

Avoid and shun acts that are destructive, damaging, catastrophic, and retrogressive.

Human Life is so precious, beautiful, and valuable to be murdered.

We must collectively protect our fundamental human rights.

Our continued existence as a nation is largely dependent on peaceful coexistence, harmonious, sincere love, unity, and most importantly on good, sound, capable, visionary, focused, and determined political leadership to effect positive change in the population.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings. Drafted by a UN committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, it was accepted by the General Assembly as Resolution 217 during its third session on 10 December 1948 at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. Of the 58 members of the United Nations at the time, 48 voted in favour, none against, eight abstained, and two did not vote.

Human rights were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in its 183rd meeting, held in Paris on 10 December 1948.

A foundational text in the history of human and civil rights, the Declaration consists of 30 articles detailing an individual’s “basic rights and fundamental freedoms” and affirming their universal character as inherent, inalienable, and applicable to all human beings. Adopted as a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”, the UDHR commits nations to recognize all humans as being “born free and equal in dignity and rights” regardless of “nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status” The Declaration is considered a “milestone document” for its “universalist language”, which makes no reference to a particular culture, political system, or religion. It directly inspired the development of international human rights law and was the first step in the formulation of the International Bill of Human Rights, which was completed in 1966 and came into force in 1976.

Although not legally binding, the contents of the UDHR have been elaborated and incorporated into subsequent international treaties, regional human rights instruments, national constitutions, and legal codes. All 193 member states of the United Nations have ratified at least one of the nine binding treaties influenced by the Declaration, with the vast majority ratifying four or more. While there is a wide consensus that the declaration itself is non-binding and not part of customary international law, there is also a consensus that many of its provisions are binding and have passed into customary international law, although courts in some nations have been more restrictive on its legal effect.

Nevertheless, the UDHR has influenced legal, political, and social developments on both the global and national levels, with its significance partly evidenced by its 530 translations, the most of any document in history.

Structure and content.

The underlying structure of the Universal Declaration was influenced by the Code Napoléon, including a preamble and introductory general principles. Its final structure took form in the second draft prepared by French jurist René Cassin, who worked on the initial draft prepared by Canadian legal scholar John Peters Humphrey.

The Declaration consists of the following:

The preamble sets out the historical and social causes that led to the necessity of drafting the Declaration.

Articles 1–2 establish the basic concepts of dignity, liberty, and equality.

Articles 3–5 establish other individual rights, such as the right to life and the prohibition of slavery and torture.

Articles 6–11 refer to the fundamental legality of human rights with specific remedies cited for their defence when violated.

Articles 12–17 set forth the rights of the individual towards the community, including freedom of movement and residence within each state, the right of property and the right to a nationality.

Articles 18–21 sanction the so-called “constitutional liberties” and spiritual, public, and political freedoms, such as freedom of thought, opinion, expression, religion and conscience, word, peaceful association of the individual, and receiving and imparting information and ideas through any media.

Articles 22–27 sanction an individual’s economic, social and cultural rights, including healthcare. It upholds an expansive right to an adequate standard of living and makes special mention of care given to those in motherhood or childhood.

Articles 28–30 establish the general means of exercising these rights, the areas in which the rights of the individual cannot be applied, the duty of the individual to society, and the prohibition of the use of rights in contravention of the purposes of the United Nations Organization.

Cassin compared the Declaration to the portico of a Greek temple, with a foundation, steps, four columns, and a pediment. Articles 1 and 2 with their principles of dignity, liberty, equality, and brotherhood—served as the foundation blocks. The seven paragraphs of the preamble, setting out the reasons for the Declaration, represent the steps leading up to the temple.

The main body of the Declaration forms four columns. The first column (articles 3–11) constitutes the rights of the individual, such as the right to life and the prohibition of slavery. The second column (articles 12–17) constitutes the rights of the individual in civil and political society.

The third column (articles 18–21) is concerned with spiritual, public, and political freedoms, such as freedom of religion and freedom of association.

The fourth column (articles 22–27) sets out social, economic, and cultural rights.

Finally, the last three articles provide the pediment which binds the structure together, as they emphasize the mutual duties of every individual to one another and to society.

Please, let us all as a people respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in relation to the fundamental human rights of all peoples. Let us carefully and consciously revisit and read through the Fundamental Human Rights of People and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights!

Once again, perpetrators, supporters, and collaborators of extrajudicial killing, banditry, kidnapping, violence, vandalisation of properties, ritual killings, and other barbaric wicked, gruesome, and callous acts and actions must be brought to justice according to the laws of the land. The government must ensure the safety and security of all citizens.

©Mr. Okoro Simeon is a professional teacher/tutor of Economics, Commerce, and Financial Accounting. He is a writer of fiction, politics, economy, nonfiction, prose, novels, and short and comprehensive stories. He is also a Researcher and Essayist.


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