First Generation Rights, First Generation Human RightsJune 28, 2021
So-called “first generation rights” are civil, political and personal rights. Immunities such as not interfering with private life, communication and expressing thoughts, especially the right to life, constitute the essence of these rights.
In essence, these are the rights that are based on protecting the person from the attacks and oppression of the state and other individuals and groups, and ensuring that the person lives humanely.
In general, when human rights are mentioned, these rights are the first category of rights that come to mind and are the least discussed. Everyone accepts that the right to life, the freedom of religion and conscience, the right to express their thoughts, the right not to be discriminated against and the right to a fair trial are among the fundamental rights.
These rights often appear as “negative rights”. They say not what should be done, but what should not be done or what is done would be a violation of human rights. People already have these rights because they are human. Therefore, these are not rights granted or recognized by the state or any other institution.
What is expected from the state, or the role of the state, is to prevent them from being trampled on, and to restore the balance when they are violated, as in the right to life and the “right to express one’s opinion”; or this is expected from the state. … The state’s protection of these rights means that these rights are guaranteed by the laws, that is, it tries to prevent the violation of these rights with laws, and that when it is violated, it intervenes with its various organs” (Kuçuradi 2009b, p. 76).
For this reason, it is sufficient for the state to make legal arrangements and to establish some institutions and organizations to protect most of these rights. By making preliminary preparations, the state paves the way for people to use these basic rights they already have. It blocks those who try to prevent the exercise of fundamental rights. The right to asylum can be given as an example of these rights.
Although Hugo Grotius spoke of the state’s “right to grant asylum” as a natural right in 1625, this right is one of the few new rights offered by the Universal Declaration.
Article 14 of the Universal Declaration states that “Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum in other countries in order to avoid ill-treatment”. Although this is often referred to as the “right to seek asylum”, there are actually more than one right here (Wellman 1999, p. 17).
The right to asylum can sometimes become the only way to protect the right to life.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook