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Human Rights Education Resource Package for Secondary Schools

Name of organisation:
National Center on Human Rights Information and Documentation

8. CLASSIFICATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS


1.

DIFFERENT CRITERIA OF HUMAN RIGHTS CLASSIFICATION

From the moment of birth until death, every person and citizen possess a full composite of
interrelated and interdependent rights and freedoms. That is why there is an inevitable wish to
present all these rights and freedoms in a unique system, to classify them, dividing them into
groups according to common traits (criteria).
Classification is the system of collateral subordination of notions, constructed on the basis
of consideration of common traits and logical connections between them.
Such common traits (criteria) can include fields of vital activity of a person, time of
appearance of rights and freedoms, people to whom they belong, possibility of their
restriction, fixation in regulatory documents, and many others. They will all be considered in
this section. You should already be familiar with some types of rights and freedoms.

? In previous lessons, we tried to determine the difference between the concepts of right
and freedom. Do you remember what they concern? Which common traits characterize
natural, positive rights, and freedoms?
Though we try to classify different criteria of human rights, the clear-cut division of human
rights and freedoms into groups (kinds) is not always possible; every classification is nominal
because each right can be attained in different forms. For example, the right of each human to
an education is realized, like the need for development of each person (acquiring new
knowledge and skills), like the activity of government in the creation of conditions for
education of its citizens (construction of schools, publication of manuals, training of teachers)
and even like the type of creativity of a person (attendance of music schools, etc.). Thus, the
right to an education can be regarded as the personal right of each human a social right
guaranteed by the State, as well as a cultural right.
While classifying the rights and freedoms into groups and types, one should also remember
that the division into principle and secondary rights and freedoms is not allowed. It is
considered, that no right should dominate over and be interpreted in prejudice of another one.
Thus, each right is necessary for the fullness of life of a person and cannot be substituted by
another one.
2.

CLASSIFICATION ACCORDING TO THE SPHERES OF LIFE


ACTIVITY

One of the most widespread divisions of rights and freedoms into types in the modern world
is the classification according to the spheres of life activity of a person and society in which
these rights and freedoms are realized.
In almost all international legal and interstate normative acts, which are devoted to the human
rights in general (and not to some separate groups), the rights and freedoms are divided into
personal (civil), political, social, economical, and cultural.
Personal (civil) rights and freedoms are applied not only to the citizens of the State, but to all
people who live on its territory. They constitute a basis for the legal status of a person, have
natural characteristics in origin and belong to everyone starting from birth without any
limitations. The State is obliged to fight against violations of personal rights and freedoms.
The most important rights of this group include the right to life; the right to personal security;
freedom from slavery, violence, and imprisonment; security of private life and residence;
freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of marriage; and others.
Political rights and freedoms express the possibility of participation of a person (as a rule, the
citizen of the country) in societys political life, in the formation and realization of State
power. Political rights are aimed at strengthening the connection between the citizen and
society and the State. They are aimed at not allowing the peoples indifference towards the
destiny and activity of their country. That is why they are also called public rights. Political
rights include freedom of speech and opinion, the right to access public service, the right to
participation in political movements and parties, the right to gather, and freedom of meetings,
manifestations, petitions, as well as others. Political rights can be realized both individually
and in association with others.
Social and economic rights and freedoms are aimed at the provision of welfare and the
quality of a persons life. These rights give a person the possibility of self-development in the
sphere of production and distribution of benefits, receive guarantees and State defense of
economic freedom and social stability. To this group belongs the right to private property,
freedom of entrepreneurship, the right to work and the right to rest, the right to succession,
right to social security and health protection, and many others.
Cultural rights and freedoms guarantee spiritual development of a human, and help each
individual to be spiritual or cultural. The cultural rights include the right of each person to
participate in cultural life, the right to social values, the right to free use of archival and
library stocks, the right to use ones native language, the right to development of culture in
accordance with ones national and ethnical identity, etc.

? Think in the above-enumerated groups, which refer to the following rights and
freedoms: the right to a fair trial and the right to legal representation in court, the right to
proper environment, the right to information, freedom of creativity, and the right to receive
pay?
3.

CLASSIFICATION ACCORDING TO THE TIME OF APPEARANCE

Besides the given classification according to the basic spheres of life activity of a society, it is
also customary to divide human rights according to the time of their appearance and
incorporation into documents into three generations: first (end of the 18th century), second
(middle of the 20th century) and third (1970s and 1980s).

The idea about generations of human rights was created by the mottos of the French
Revolution: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity! and was developed by the French lawyer
Karel Vasak. He considered that the values of individual freedom are reflected by the first
generation, the idea of social equality by the second generation, and the idea of the
brotherhood of nations by the third generation.

? Remember, when did the French Revolution happen? Why did you think we recall its
results in connection with study of human rights?
To the first generation of human rights are referred to as personal and political rights, which
became widely known as a result of the democratic revolutions in Europe and USA at the end
of the 18th century. Their legislative proclamation for each person was contained in the
Declaration of Rights of Virginia of 1776, the American Bill of rights of 1789-1791, the
French Declaration of Rights of Human and Citizen of 1789. The rights of the first generation
belong to a person from the moment of birth, are inalienable and are not subjected to any
limitation by any part of the State. To them, refer the right to life, the right to freedom and
security, the right to personal immunity, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, etc.
The second generation of human rights made its statement during the process of fighting with
economical and social inequality for material welfare of the population during economic
demonstrations that took place throughout the whole world at the end of the 19th century and
beginning of the 20th century. The rights of the second generation are economical, social and
cultural rights and freedoms. For the first time at the official level, they were reflected in the
Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1917, the German Weimar Constitution of
1919, the Constitution of the Spanish Republic of 1913, and, of course, in the U.S.S.R.
Constitution of 1936 and the constitutions of the Union Republics. They reflected the ideas of
the assignment of socio-economical and cultural conditions of living of a person in the sphere
of labor, employment, welfare, and social security. The volume and degree of realization of
these rights to a large extent depend on the countrys economy. These rights include the right
to labor, the right to chose ones profession, the right to leisure, and the right to social
services, etc.
The third generation of human rights started to form in the second half of the 20th century as
a result of the fight of many nations in the world for national sovereignty and decolonization.
Most often, these rights are called the rights of solidarity. They reflect the idea of fraternity of
the worlds nations because they are collective rights. These include the right to peace, the
right to disarmament, the right to development, the right to proper environment, right to the
common heritage of mankind, right of nations to self-determination, right to be free from
genocide, apartheid, and many others. With the formation and fixation of rights of third
generation came the realization by world society of interrelation and interdependence of
individual and collective rights. Besides this, these rights include the rights of certain groups:
rights of children, of aged people and people with limited abilities, women, homeless, the
unemployed, etc.
Influenced by globalization, scientific and technological progress, especially in the field of
genetics, medicine, computer science, cloning and transplantation, the list of new rights is
constantly widening. As a result, a fourth generation of rights is starting to become apparent,
and will become a legal answer to the challenges of the 21st century. And, the question will
probably be about the survival of a human-like biological species, about the preservation of
human civilization, and about the cosmic development of mankind.

4.

OTHER TYPES OF CLASSIFICATIONS

There are many other types of classifications. Thus, for example, by the politico-legal status
of a person (presence of the citizenship of the State), all the rights and freedoms can be
divided into two groups: those belonging to any human and realized regardless of citizenship
and those belonging only to the citizen of each specific State. In the second case, the political
rights and freedoms, for example, the right to vote and to be elected, etc., are mainly realized
by the citizens of a State.
We distinguish subjects as individual rights belonging to each person for example, the
right to life, the right to speak a particular language, and other collective rights belonging to
certain social groups, for example, the rights of nations, the rights of minorities, the rights of
vulnerable groups of society (children, women, the elderly, the disabled, refugees, working
migrants, prisoners). A part of the collective rights can be realized simultaneously and
individually (for example, rights of believers) and some only like collective ones (the right to
participation in a peaceful meeting or demonstration).
Subject a person, group of persons, organization or other formation, which according to
legislation, possesses rights and incurs obligations.
Another criterion of classification is the fixation of rights and freedoms in regulatory legal
acts. According to this basis, the rights and freedoms can be divided into basic
(constitutional) and derived (specific) ones. The constitutional rights are fixed in the
Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan and reflect the basic regulations of international
documents. They comprise all the spheres of human life (personal, political, social, cultural,
and economic). The derivatives from these rights are, as a rule, fixed in other national sociolegal acts.
Regardless of the possibility of the time limitation from the part of government, all the rights
and freedoms can be divided into absolute, suspended and limited of which is never allowed,
for example, the right to life and freedom from torture, and relative ones, which can be
limited or suspended for a certain term in a state of emergency or imposed by the military, for
example, the freedom of movement, etc. As a rule, all personal rights and freedoms belong to
absolute rights.
The role of the State in the provision of human rights and freedoms, one can separate the
following into groups: positive rights and freedoms, which are clearly stated and fixed in the
legislation of a state, as a rule in such definition: every person has the right to, the state is
obliged to create all the conditions for their realization and defense, and negative rights and
freedoms in which neither state, nor person have no right to interfere. To the positive rights,
refer to, for example, the bulk of the socio-economical and cultural rights: the right to
protection against unemployment, the right to medical care, social services, incorporation of
cultural values etc. These rights include the majority of personal freedoms, for example,
freedom of religion, the right to personal life and others.
Remember the concepts: classification, generations of human rights, subject.
Questions and tasks

1. What is classification? Which criteria of classification of rights and freedoms do you


know?
2. Enumerate the personal, political, economic, social, and cultural rights and freedoms
that you know.
3. Think, which rights and freedoms can already be referred to today as the rights of the
fourth generation?
4. Carefully read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the article, which refers
to human rights in the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan, and fill in the following
table.

Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

1. Personal (civil) rights


Art. _____

Art. ____

2. Political rights
Art. _____

Art. _____

3. Socio-economical rights
Art. ______

Art. _____

4. Cultural rights
Art. ____

Art. _____