Rights and Duties:
Rights and duties are two sides of the same coin. Every individual has certain rights that are protected by law, and in exchange, they are expected to fulfill certain duties and responsibilities. International law is a set of rules and principles that countries and organizations agree to follow in their interactions with each other. It covers a wide range of issues, including human rights, trade, the environment, and the use of force. This article will explore the rights and duties of individuals under international law.
Rights of Individuals:
One of the most fundamental rights of individuals under international law is the right to life. This includes the right to be free from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the death penalty. The right to life is protected by Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which states that “Every human being has the inherent right to life.
This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” The prohibition on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment is set forth in Article 7 of the ICCPR and Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Read More about Int’l humanitarian law: https://youthdiplomacyforum.com/2023/01/05/international-humanitarian-law/
International law also prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, gender, or nationality. The prohibition on discrimination is found in Article 2 of the ICCPR and Article 2 of the UDHR. In addition to civil and political rights, individuals also have economic, social, and cultural rights.
These include the right to an adequate standard of living, education, and health care. International law recognizes the right to work and to form and join trade unions. It also protects the rights of minority groups and indigenous peoples. The right to an adequate standard of living, education, and health care is recognized in Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
The right to work and to form and join trade unions is protected by Article 8 of the ICESCR. The rights of minority groups and indigenous peoples are recognized in various international instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Right to a Fair Trial:
Another key right of individuals under international law is the right to a fair trial. This includes the right to be informed of the charges against them, the right to a lawyer, and the right to a public trial. International law also prohibits the use of evidence obtained through torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. The right to a fair trial is protected by Article 14 of the ICCPR
Right to Privacy:
The right to privacy is also protected under international law. This includes the right to be free from unlawful surveillance and the right to the protection of personal data. The right to privacy is especially important in the digital age, where vast amounts of personal information can be collected and shared with ease. The right to privacy is recognized in Article 12 of the UDHR and Article 17 of the ICCPR.
Freedom of Expression:
Individuals also have the right of freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to hold opinions, seek and receive information, and communicate ideas through any media. This right is subject to certain limitations, such as the prohibition on incitement to violence or hate speech. The right to freedom of expression is outlined in Article 19 of the ICCPR and Article 19 of the UDHR.
While individuals have the right to enjoy the benefits of their rights, they also have to respect the rights of others. This includes the duty to not infringe upon the rights of others and to refrain from violence or discrimination. International law also imposes duties on states and other actors to protect the rights of individuals and to provide remedies for violations.
Read More about UDHR: https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights
Duties of Individuals:
One of the most important duties of individuals under international law is to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states. This means that individuals must not engage in activities that violate the territorial integrity of other states, such as armed conflict or terrorism. International law also prohibits the use of force against other states except in self-defense or with the authorization of the United Nations Security Council.
The duty to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states is outlined in the UN Charter and other international treaties.
The prohibition on the use of force is found in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter and the UN General Assembly’s Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States.
International Participation and collaboration:
Individuals also have to cooperate with international efforts to maintain peace and security. This includes participating in peacekeeping operations, respecting international sanctions, and complying with the decisions of international courts and tribunals.
Individuals also have to respect the laws of the country in which they live and refrain from engaging in illegal activities. The duty to respect the laws of the country in which one lives is a general principle of international law.
Individuals also have to respect the environment and contribute to sustainable development.
This includes the obligation to not cause harm to the environment, to use natural resources responsibly, and to protect the rights of future generations.
The duty to protect the environment and to contribute to sustainable development is recognized in various international instruments, including the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Overall, international law plays a critical role in protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of individuals and grants individuals a wide range of rights and imposes upon them corresponding duties and responsibilities. It is important for individuals to be aware of their rights and duties under international law and to act per these principles because these rights and duties are essential for maintaining a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.
This Article is written by Kashif Zahid, who is a student of International Relations at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.