Cultural practices and oral traditions are indications that humans have proven their commitment to principles of propriety, caring, and justice. Privileges for example the right to food and do unto others as you would have them do unto you can be traced back in history, such rights and responsibilities focused on tribe, family, state, religions, community, or social classes(Dagger, 2006).
The initial attempt by a cultured society to compose rights and responsibilities can be traced back to more than four centuries ago in the Babylonian code of Hammurabi. This and others such as the bible, the holy Koran, the Analects of Confucius, and the Hindu Veda are among the earliest written sources addressing the query on rights and duties. The Inca and the Aztec codes of conduct and the justice and the Iroquois Constitution in the eighteenth century are a good example of the Native American written sources. Documents written prior to the Second World War focused on civil and political rights addressing key issues relating to the rights of citizens in terms of equableness, liberty, voting as a procedure for participating in the political arena. These documents include the US constitution and the Bill of rights, England’s Bill of Rights, and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizens (Federal Minstry for economic Cooperation and Development, 2008).
All rights are important for every citizen in the country but the most important part is how these rights affect the wellbeing of the people. In relation to the provided discussion topic, it is important for one to identify the actual meaning of the provided right, list them, and see their impact to the society. This will help one come up with a clear discussion as on either any between the two categories has a significant impact over the other one. Throughout this discussion, we get to discuss the definition of the civil and political right and then proceed to the next category, which are the social and economic rights. We will later indulge into the different but specific rights that are found on both categories where each right will be discussed into detail and its impact to the society identified. After an analysis of both sided the discussion will take a different course here there relevance will be matched with the needs of the society where it will become evident if any of the two categories is more relevant than the other.
Civil and Political Rights
Civil and political rights are a class of constitutional rights that protects its citizens from the transgression by the government, social organizations, or the private individuals. In different countries the governments of the countries happen to be run by individuals who are mostly selfish but this class of right keeps them in check and protects the people of the country from such political leaders that may take advantage of the law and use the government to either oppress the people or for their own good not minding the interest of the people the government should be serving (Joyce, 2015). The same case applies to the social organizations or individuals. These classes of rights enable a person to play a part in the civil and political sphere without discrimination or being oppressed. These rights are afforded to everyone by the government and do not discriminate in regards to one’s race, gender, nationality, age, color religion or disability status of a person. Different scholars have defined this class of rights in different ways all in the aim to get the meaning more inclusive of the actual purpose of it(Corner, 2004). Some of these definitions include the right to full legal, economic, and social equality regardless of a person’s race nationality color gender.
Civil rights on one side ensure that the physical and the mental integrate, life and the safety of the people is achieved and maintained. It helps protect the people from different grounds such as discrimination based on color, gender, age sex orientation, national origin of a person, their political affiliations, their religion, or discrimination based on their disabilities(Golder, 2013). They also provide a clause on one’s freedoms such as the freedom of speech, freedom of worship or religion, press, movement as well as assembly. While one the other side where we have the political rights, they are inclusive of natural justice which is referred to as the procedural fairness in legal terms. It entails different concepts such as the right to fairness in a legal redress, the right to pursue legal solution or redress, the right to take part in civic duty and political such as the right to assemble, freedom of association, among other rights(Beetham, 2003). This class of right originates from the international human rights and as covered in the introduction it is already evident that most of the mentioned features among the civil and political right cover the wellbeing of the citizen of the country. It is important to discuss a number of the rights that are covered in the class so as to help one get a deeper understanding of the class(Joyce, 2015).
Freedom of Speech
This freedom allows people to express themselves and to be restricted by the government. This freedom enables the people to speak up their minds in different case or in different situations such as the oppression by the government among other cases. The right also applies for the social organization where individual re given the right to express their opinions and get them heard. The right also does not give them room for hate speech where most of the people end up misusing the right (Lincoln University, 2018).
Right to self-defense
This is right to defend yourself when the situation arises. The law legally recognizes this; this covers cases of both physical and mental attack that calls for the self-defense of a person to avoid further harm. The determination of such a case is to be defined by the court of law but within the confines of civil and political rights (Hirschmann, 2016)
Protection from discrimination
From the introduction covered, this is one of the broad areas to explore. It touches on different areas that are very crucial for the productive social relations between the people. Protection from discrimination protects people from race discrimination(Rights, 1988). This means that the law from race related harassment among other race related incidences protects the people of different race. It also covers age discrimination where all ages are to be treated equally. The right ensure that one is protected against this by the law(Rights & Assembly, 1988).
This is one of the most sensitive political right that has seen wars grow in different countries. People have the right to join any political affiliation that they wish to join. In some of the developing countries in the countries where different people have attacked others due to their political affiliation breaking the protection of political affiliation. The protection allows the people to form and join different political parties to ensure that political freedom and democracy is attained. This helps protect the people from the government dictatorship since these political affiliations keep the government in check. These political affiliations have also played a huge role in enlightening the public on their different political rights in different countries(UN General Assembly, 1976).
The right for people to exercise freedom of worship in different relation help the people exercises their spiritual beliefs in the country. The right allows the citizens of the country attain a religious freedom and exploration with no controls or limitations. It manages to keep the country in a religious perspective and freely joining any religion one pleases(International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1996). Civil and political rights help such freedoms become actualized in the country.
Problem analysis in respect to civil and political rights class
These major issues have been rising in relation to what extent is the government should let the Civil and Political Rights be exercised especially if these rights are not checked can result to multiple conflicts(Rights & Committee, 1988).
Social and economic rights
The United States has for long shown its commitment to the socio economic and cultural rights, for instance; in an attempt to save the economy and implement his vision of economic and social welfare, Roosevelt in his address regarding the great Depression said, “I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished... The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” Afterwards he spoke of four significant freedoms, which include the freedom of religion, speech, and the freedom from want and fear(Civil Rights and Turmoil, 2014).
The Economic Social and Cultural Rights are concerned with the basic social and economic conditions that are essential for any human being to lead a life that is free and with dignity such as work and worker’s right, health, social security, education, healthy environment, culture, housing, water, and food(Roht-Arriaza, 2014). The government has a right to ensure that these rights are protected, have in place adequate policies to guarantee their availability, their accessibility, must be sustainable, and available for all without any discrimination(Global Initiative for Social and Economic Rights and the Sciences & Po Law Clinic, 2014). The list of recognized socio-economic rights very among nations; however, they can be classified under the following categories;
Rights to universal public services
People have a right to essential amenities such as health care, education, health services, and other essential services necessary for the wellbeing of the people. Everyone in the society is entitled to these services, which are primarily a responsibility of the government to fund, provide, or otherwise support(Council, 2003). For example, the right to education recognizes that the public has access to quality schools and a wholeness education curriculum aimed at a wholesome development of the students’ character. The right to health translates to everyone having access to the utmost possible standard of physical and mental well-being. This rights covers sanitation, healthy working conditions, medical services, decent housing, sufficient healthy food, and a clean living and working environment(Centre for Economic and Social Rights, 2008).
Rights supportive of decent living conditions
In third world countries, such rights are represented in the manner of special rights to food and water, which symbolize the subsistence rights. In other developed countries, the rights supportive of decent living conditions are delivered to the public by means of redistributive transfer payments such as welfare benefits, unemployment assistance, disability funds, veterans funds, and old-age pension scheme. These are however are different from the universal public services, the difference lay in they being cash payments and they specifically targets certain groups such as old people, the unemployed, or the veterans(Council, 2003).
For example, everybody is entitled to a fundamental right to housing allowing them access to a secure, safe, habitable home that is affordable and free from forceful eviction. The governments’ responsibility in this is to ensure that they can do so in peace, dignity, and security.
Rights of workers
The rights of workers in the form of labor rights are meant to protect employees from working in extreme and exploitative working conditions. These rights include employees are entitles to leave days, rest days and holidays, number of hours one can work, least amount of wages payable to employees, rights to become members of trade unions, and in the management of their own affairs(United Nations Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, 2000). They are protected from arbitrary dismissal without a showcase letter or warning letters, sexual harassment, any form of harassment, and health and safety hazards (Roht-Arriaza, 2014).
Rights to particular social groups
The social economic rights recognize and protect specific and particular clusters in the society such as females, the disabled, the young and the senior citizens, or members of a native ethnic community, or a certain linguistic community who without the socio-economic rights would be threatened. For example the constitution recognizes the natives American society, moreover the constitution protects the productive rights of women, rights of the disabled in accessing employment opportunities and their education (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2001).
Parties representing the minorities or the marginalized in the society may insist on the robust protection of social-economic rights in the constitution, observed as a pledge by the government never to relapse to the historical injurious injustices. Embracing them in these rights and in the constitution can be termed as a deliberate legal instrument through which to engross in realizing the social-economic equity for the most destitute in the community (Beetham, 2003).
Rights to natural resources
Communities and people have a right to access clean water fit for human consumption, the natural environment, and land. This right also recognizes the need to protect and govern traditional land rights like in the case of Native Americans. Others include the hunting, fishing, and foraging rights of indigenous communities(Council, 2003).
The right to private property under normal circumstances falls under the first generation rights more than it is a socio-economic right. The way rights to property is captured in various legal documents recognizes the fact that the right is nevertheless absolute. This way it has the potential to be restricted by social needs as such calling for various obligations in terms of social and economic rights(Centre for Economic and Social Rights, 2008).
International human rights law recognizes that the, “full realization of all economic, social and cultural rights will generally not be able to be achieved in a short period of time.” Therefore, the government of the day is held responsible for the progressive attainment of these rights by the people and must provide with an enabling environment for their achievement. Nations must put in place progressive steps that must be concrete, deliberate, and targeted towards meeting these rights. They should employ legislative measures to progressively realize these rights(UN Economic and Social Council, 2000).
Summary and Conclusion
Both the civil and political rights and social economic rights place progressive and undesirable afflictions and obligations on the government, some require the presence of a judicial system to actualize the right to a fair trial, availing hospitals to gain the right to health care or to bar arbitrary ejections with an aim of protecting the right to housing. Based on this analogy the difference between civil and political rights and the socio-economic rights is a matter of degree than kind(Federal Minstry for economic Cooperation and Development, 2008).
When citizens are involved in a constitution-building process, their aim is improving their economic status and boosting their social circumstances. People are more interested in having a legitimate and legal promise guaranteed in law as envisioned in the constitution that their needs and priorities are protected by the government of the day(Golder, 2013). For example, in the case of caste-based discrimination in India, India still has a sidelined community; lower-caste people are a class of people who are regarded as the untouchables. To bring justice to the marginalized, the constitution of India states that,
“the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Constitution of India, Part IV).”
These constitutional rights provide a mutual structure of globally recognized values and norms, setting out state obligations to act in certain ways or refraining from certain acts. These rights are significant tools to hold states and other bodies answerable for violations and to marshal cooperative efforts of developing communities and global framework that is conducive to economic justice, social wellness, equality, and participation. The human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent, and inalienable (Dagger, 2006).
Both rights are necessary for human to lead a good life and ensuring flourishing of the human species. If we are to live sufficiently, the people must be safeguarded against tyranny and freedom from want. None between the social-economic rights and civil and political rights is less important; by recognizing one and leaving the other would be providing a framework for what would be considered as superficial freedom. Political and civil rights are what would be considered as the first-generation rights whilst the socio-economic and cultural rights are what would be regarded to as the second-generation rights. The effective enjoyment of the first generation rights is at times dependent on the attainment of the second-generation rights, for instance we require various possessions if we are to successfully enjoy the freedom protected in the civil and political rights. There is no point of having the freedom of press when then people are illiterate simply because they could not afford or access education (Golder, 2013).
Therefore, humans should be treated and viewed as equal without some being given preference over others, there are essential prerequisites to guarantee and safeguard it for its value involving the protection for freedom and the well-being of individuals; the social economic rights protects the fundamentals of human freedom and well-being(Federal Minstry for economic Cooperation and Development, 2008).
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