Legal Questions

In Human Rights, how are rights classified?

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In the study of Human Rights, rights are classified according: to source, to recipient, to aspect of life, to struggle for recognition, and to derogability. The classification is discussed below.

According to Source

1. Natural Rights

  • These are described as God-given rights, acknowledged by everybody to be morally good.
  • They are commonly unwritten, but they prevail as norms of the society (social norms)

2. Constitutional Rights

  • These are rights conferred and protected by the Philippine Constitution and which cannot be modified or taken away by the law-making body.

3. Statutory Rights

  • Those rights which are provided by law promulgated by the law-making body
  • May be abolished by the body that created them

According to Recipient

1. Individual Rights

  • These are rights accorded to individuals.

2. Collective Rights

  • Also called “people’s rights” or “solidarity rights”
  • Rights of the society, those that can be enjoyed only in company with others like the freedom to form a labor organization.

According to Aspect of Life

1. Civil Rights

  • These are rights which the law will enforce at the instance of private individuals for the purpose of securing to them the enjoyment of their means of happiness.
  • They may partake of the nature of political rights when they are utilized as a means to participate in the government like when one forms an organization but then later registers it as a party list.

2. Political Rights

  • These are rights which enable us to participate in running the affairs of the government either directly or indirectly like general suffrage.

3. Economic and Social Rights

  • Those which the law confers upon the people to enable them to achieve social and economic development

4. Cultural Rights

  • These are rights that ensure the well-being of the individual and foster the preservation, enrichment, and dynamic evolution of national culture based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression.

According to Struggle for Recognition

1. First Generation Rights

  • These refer to civil and political rights which derives primarily from the 17th and 18th centuries’ reformist theories
  • These rights conceive of human rights more in negative (“freedom from”) than positive (“rights to”) terms like freedom from slavery.
  • These rights favor the abstention rather the intervention of government in the exercise of freedoms and in the quest for human dignity

2. Second Generation Rights

  • These rights cover economic, social, and cultural rights which find their origin primarily in the socialist tradition.
  • They conceive of human rights more in positive terms
  • A feature of these rights includes fundamental claims to social equality

3. Third Generation Rights

  • These rights cover collective rights

According to Derogability

1. Absolute or Non-Derogable Rights

  • Those that cannot be suspended nor taken away nor restricted/limited even in extreme emergency and even if the government invokes national security such as the right against torture. Hence, no detainee or prisoner may be tortured even if national security is at stake.

2. Derogable or Can-Be-Limited Rights

  • These rights may be suspended or restricted or limited depending on the circumstances which call for the preservation of social life
  • They must, however, satisfy three requirements for them to be valid:

 i.  It is provided for by law which is made known to every citizen;

 ii.  There is a state of emergency which necessitates the urgent preservation of the public good, public safety, and public moral;

 iii.  It does not exceed what is strictly necessary to achieve the purpose.

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