The Importance Of Human Rights

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Introduction In the English legal system, ‘human rights’ can be defined as ‘rights and freedom to which every human being is entitled’ (Law and Martin (ed.) 2013, p. 269). ‘Human rights’ are rights and freedoms that belong to all individuals regardless of their nationality and citizenship. They are fundamentally important in maintaining a fair and civilised society (Ministry of Justice 2006). The protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens and others within their jurisdiction is a fundamental duty of the state (Barnett 2011, p. 394). ‘Human rights’ are not privileges to be earned or gifts that governments can give or take away at will as they are part of what is means to be human (British Institute of Human Rights 2014). The protection of ‘human rights’ is increasingly important in modern societies and regarded as an essential element in the rule of law (Genn 2014, p. 19). Generally ‘human rights’ are the freedoms and liberties that a person enjoys in respect of other persons. In the Malaysian legal system, ‘human rights’ are known as ‘fundamental liberties’. ‘Fundamental liberties’ are rights and freedoms that we have as human beings (The Malaysian Bar 2011). People are therefore free to do many things, which are considered ‘fundamental liberties’ (Kevin Kam Soon Aun 2003). ‘Fundamental liberties’ cannot be taken away, nor derogated or denied based on colour, religion, age or other personal factors (Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria 2012). ‘Fundamental liberties’ can act as a
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