Statements of individual rights
Individual rights play an important role in every nation as they ensure that persons are not discriminated against in all aspect of their lives. It is important for individuals to have an adequate understanding of their rights as way of ensuring they are treated fairly and with honesty. Protection of individual rights requires formulation and adoption of statements or policies which cover all entities surrounding an individual. These statements are usually encompassed within the constitution of the nation hence as result of different nations having different constitutions the statements vary. Culture, religion and social factors may also affect statements of individual rights adopted by a nation thereby making critical analysis of such factors essential prior to adoption of individual rights statements.
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However, for the Tagg Island it is important to compare and contrast the existing statements of individual rights which govern different nations. This is mainly as result of some statements not being applicable to the Island since it comprises of a small population which is primarily involved in farming and fishing activities which are considered simple in comparison those taking place in large nations. There are several laws comprising statements of individuals’ rights which might be useful to the Island and these are inclusive of, but not limited to Code of Hammurabi ca 1760 B.C.E., Magna Carta 1215, English Bill of Rights 1689, U.S. Bill of Rights 1789 and the Declaration of Human Rights.
U.S. Bill of rights focuses mainly on the relationship between the arms of government and the citizens of the nations. It encompasses statements which prohibit Congress from creating laws which affect adversely the right of individuals to join religious groups thus providing people with freedom of worship. Congress is forbidden from making laws which infringe the rights of the people in any way as individual rights are treated with much respect (Brant, 1965). U.S. Bill of rights protects the citizens from activities of the federal government which might lead to people being deprived of their lives, properties and liberty without any good reason. In accordance with its statements individuals who are suspected of any wrong doing should be taken to court thus provided with a chance to defend themselves-before a final judgment is laid upon them. The Bill empowers the court and through the constitution the court is assured of independence from the federal government thereby ensuring that decisions made by the court are fair as it eliminates favoritism and nepotism.
Unlike U.S. Bill of rights which covers issues related to government and citizen relationship thus national level, the Code of Hammurabi ca 1760 covers a lower level in which the elders act as the head of the society. It entails guidelines which ensure that the rights of people are protected thus not discriminated by others who might be having more power and authority. It uses traditional methods in solving issues which arise in the society thereby bringing peace and harmony in the society. In accordance with this law if any person accuses another of any crime solving the matter involves using the river which serves as court (Johns, 2000). The accused is required to leap into the river and if he sinks the accuser takes possession of all his property while on the other hand if the reverse occurs the accused take possession of the property of the accuser while the accuser is put to death for wrong accusation. Apart from the river acting as the court, in some cases elders may perform the same function in solving criminal issues affecting the community in which death is the punishment for capital offenses. In ensuring that individual rights are fully protected the statements emphasizes death as way of ensuring that individuals are not wrongfully accused of any crime.
Magna Carta encompasses laws which govern monarchy systems of governance unlike the U.S. Bill of rights which covers federal government and congress functions with respect to the citizens. It required Kings and Queens to proclaim rights pertaining to individual freedom, respect legal procedures and in addition to that accept that their wills are bound by the law (Holt, 1992). Magna Carta protected the rights of all individuals irrespective of their status or rank and in addition to that allowed individuals to appeal against unlawful imprisonment. Unlike the Code of Hammurabi which does not cover a person’s freedom of worship, Magna Carta ensures that individual’s right of worship is respected and in addition, it guarantees the freedom of the church in conducting its activities within the designated boundaries (Holt, 1992). Similar to the US Bill of rights, Magna Carta ensures that right to due process is guaranteed to each person who is accused of taking part in criminal activities (Holt, 1992). An individual accused of any crime has to go through the judicial process which provides them with an opportunity to defend themselves against the criminal activity which they are accused of. Unlike the Code of Hammurabi which uses traditional methods of making decisions regarding the accused thus susceptible to mistakes being made regarding the case, Magna Carta entails use of the court system which is comprised of law professionals. In using professionals who understand the law comprehensively and have adequate experience reduces the chance of mistakes being made in the decision made regarding the crime at hand.
In recognition of the need for freedom, peace and justice in the world, United Nations formulated several laws whose role was to eliminate oppression and discrimination in the world. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights set forth by the United Nations seeks to ensure that individual rights are respected by all entities. In accordance with this declaration all individuals are entitled to their rights and freedom irrespective of their race, gender, religion and social background (United Nation, 1948). Similar to the US Bill of rights and Magna Carta, it encompasses statements which emphasize freedom of individuals. Governments and other corporate organizations are required to be aware of individual rights thus ensure that their operations and activities do not infringe on the rights of individuals. Unlike the Code of Hammurabi, the human rights declaration is against use of torture and other cruel inhuman methods as way of inflicting punishment to individuals who have committed or are suspected to have committed the offense (United Nation, 1948).
Furthermore, the Declaration of Human Rights emphasizes that all individuals accused of crime have the right to defend themselves in court thus should be presumed innocent until proven guilty by court of law (United Nation, 1948). This statement is similar to that encompassed in the US Bill of rights as the courts are given the responsibility of deciding on the matter. The declaration also encompasses statements which ensure that individuals are not discriminated against at their place work as well as during the process of securing employment thereby ensuring provision of equal chances of employment (United Nation, 1948). Contrary to majority of laws, it entails statements which protect individuals from being deprived of their nationality or being denied their right to change their nationality. In accordance with the United Nations statements of individual rights every person is entitled to having a nationality thus belonging to a particularly nation (United Nation, 1948). In addition to that people can work in any country under the united Nation insignia thus giving people with a wide variety of option when searching for a job. This statement is unique as it is only encompassed in the Declaration of Human rights and not in other laws which may include U.S. Bill of rights, Code of Hammurabi and Magna Carta. Unlike laws such as US Bill of rights which are restricted to national boundaries, the declaration is universal thus covering a wider region.
The following is a list of some of the individual rights which might be useful to the Island nation;
1. No one should be deprived of their property as every person has the right to own property.
2. All individuals are entitled to equal pay for same amount of work done.
3. No one shall be subjected to torture or any inhuman methods of punishment.
4. All individuals are entitled to a fair and public hearing conducted by the elders or any independent tribunal in determination of any criminal activity charge against him.
5. Everyone has the right to freedom of worship and of having a peaceful assembly.
6. Everyone is entitled to rest and leisure with reasonable working hours and holidays with pay.
Brant, I. (1965). The bill of rights: its origin and meaning. Retrieved September 5, 2009 from http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=34605556
Holt, J.C. (1992). Magna Carta. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Johns, C.W. (2000). The oldest code of laws in the world. City: Lawbook Exchange Ltd.
United Nations, (1948). The universal declaration of human rights. Retrieved September 5, 2009 from http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/#atop
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