Some of the most important rights and obligations of citizens are freedom of association and expression, private property, the right to housing and work, the obligation to respect the laws, to respect different cultural expressions, among others.
The right is the power and obligation that arises from the State towards a person, or from their relationships with respect to others. It is a set of norms and principles in which human relations within society are regulated, taking into account justice and order. Compliance with the rules is the responsibility of the State.
The obligation allows a person to comply freely and without violating human dignity, a requirement or imposition of legal regulations, knowing the scope and consequences, positive and negative that may be caused.
Each country has in its laws the definition of right and obligation, in accordance with its customs, cultures and the international agreements signed to achieve greater justice, order and respect for human dignity.
The constitutions of each country include the legal principles that allow nations to interact in a harmonious and fair way.
Most important rights of citizens
The most common rights included in some of the world’s constitutions are the following:
1. Right to life
Countries seek protection mechanisms for life in their constitutions, from the moment of conception until the death of people.
However, there may be cases in which therapeutic abortion is suggested by special laws in which different scenarios arise.
2. Freedom of association
People are allowed to group together in foundations or political-partisan organizations to achieve common benefits within a certain community, without affecting the rights contemplated in their magnas.
3. Freedom of expression
Everyone has the right to express themselves without fear of consequences, as long as the rights of other people remain intact.
Despite the fact that this right is contemplated in many countries, few manage to apply it in practice.
4. Access to health
States must offer and maintain quality public health services, with emphasis on prevention, with coverage for all socioeconomic strata.
5. Right to education and freedom of education
States establish education from initial stages to higher (undergraduate). However, it is more common for this right to be guaranteed from initial to secondary stage.
At the university level, there are public options where students are trained to provide solutions to their countries. Teachers at all stages have academic freedom.
6. Universal, direct and secret suffrage
The right to vote was historically only achieved by men and from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, this gap was significantly reduced when women achieved the right to vote.
It is intended that the voter can exercise his role, choosing between several options, directly and secretly.
7. Private property and inheritance
This right is guaranteed for the acquisition, enjoyment and enjoyment of goods (tangible and intangible) to natural and legal persons, respecting individual economic rights and society, in a harmonized manner, to achieve the greatest possible well-being.
Natural persons can inherit the patrimony of their ancestors, fulfilling the duties of paying the taxes that are generated.
8. Right to housing
The aim is for the population to have access to decent housing, with all basic public services, in the development of their human activities.
The States look for public and private alternatives that can fulfill this end, through microcredit programs.
9. Right to work
States should promote entrepreneurship in their economies, so that private initiative is the greatest generator of stable quality jobs, so that workers can have a better standard of living.
Likewise, the States seek to have personnel at their service in various areas to have officers trained in supervision.
10. Right to free movement
People can move anywhere in their territories, within the framework of the rule of law. In special situations, each Country establishes the guidelines to limit traffic.
Important obligations of citizens
With regard to the obligations of citizens, the following are common in various legislations worldwide:
1. Defend your territory in a situation of war
Each country consecrates the defense of its space as an obligation, in order to maintain its borders and ways of life.
2. Perform military service in peacetime
States have this option for those citizens who wish to contribute to the activities of the military or security components (such as Costa Rica and Panama) in matters of security and intelligence.
3. Render civil service in situations of public calamity
Professional unions and non-profit civil associations are the first non-state organizations whose collaborations are required to support the work of the State in situations caused by natural tragedies.
4. Contribute to the maintenance of the State through the payment of taxes
Citizens and individuals who qualify to pay taxes are in charge of financing the public coffers, whose funds are administered by the State in its national, state and municipal structures, being used in the programs defined by each of the laws of operating budgets.
5. Apply the principle of solidarity in the communities
It seeks to promote from the Schools, activities that teach students, teachers and families to be citizens capable of providing solutions to the great problems of their countries through educational campaigns on recycling, rules of coexistence, sports and cultural activities.
6. Respect the laws
Citizens and legal persons are obliged to comply with the established laws and appeal to the Judiciary, aspects of the legislation that may violate susceptible rights.
7. Comply with collective bargaining agreements
It seeks to promote agreements between the State, Employers and Workers so that work activities can be carried out harmoniously without affecting the rights of any of the parties.
8. Defend the lawfulness of the constitution
Citizens, together with the Judicial and Legislative Powers, are the main guarantors of the validity of the fundamental rule in the event that there are excesses on the part of the Executive Power.
9. Respect the different cultural expressions, religions and political ideologies
The State must promote and provide guarantees to multicultural, religious and partisan activities throughout each year, in order to make them known to the rest of the citizens.
10. Promote peace and healthy coexistence
Strategies from the State and with the support of the private sector for sports and the arts, can promote values such as peace and tolerance, which result in healthy coexistence.
In this way, progress has been made in legislation in different countries, which are committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in the General Assembly of the United Nations, in December 1948.
- Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities. Recovered from: www.uscis.gov.
- 1999 Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Public Ministry. Caracas Venezuela. Recovered from: www.ministeriopublico.gob.ve.
- Spanish constitution. State official newsletter. Recovered from: boe.es.
- Penrose, W. (1951). For Civic Education: The Citizen’s Rights and Duties . Bloomington, Phi Delta Kappa International.
- Pillai, S. (2014). The rights and responsibilities of Australian citizenship: A legislative analysis. Recovered from: law.unimelb.edu.au.