|Citizens' rights||Text version|
Democracy would not work without the rights that belong to citizens. Democratic government protects the individual and their rights from the arbitrariness of other people.
Basic rights are the basic values guaranteed for the individual under the Constitution. These basic rights include the right to life and equality between citizens.
Basic rights are about the individual’s freedom and security in society. It is the duty of democratic government to safeguard the rights of the individual. Basic rights are localised within a country, whereas universal human rights apply to the entire world and humankind.
Human rights are values recognised for all people under international instruments. A human right can also be a value that governments are demanded to recognise.
In a democracy, it is rights that form the core of citizenship. Citizens’ basic rights include:
Basic rights and democracy belong inseparably together. Democracy would not work without free civic discussion guaranteed by the freedom of expression or civic activity guaranteed by freedom of assembly and association.
Citizens’ participatory rights are an integral part of basic rights and at the same time form the foundation of democracy. Participatory rights guarantee citizens' inclusion in various ways in the process of public decision-making.
Welfare rights – social and educational rights – create prerequisites for people to act as legally competent members of society.
In a democracy power can never be exercised limitlessly. A key function of basic rights is to set the limits of legitimate use of power.
Many basic rights, including prohibition of discrimination and the right to a fair trial, protect individuals and minorities against oppression and arbitrary action.
On the other hand, experience has shown that the individual’s basic rights can only be comprehensively realised in a democratic political system.
Updated on September 29, 2006