The Role of Liberalism in Human Rights


Liberalism refers to a political set of guidelines that ensure protection as well as enhancing an individual's freedom while undertaking various political activities. Liberals usually view the government as an essential tool that protects people from harm that might be caused by the antagonizing groups. However, in some cases, the government itself can be the cause of unrest to individuals thus highly affecting the liberty of the citizens. The modern-day liberalism usually focuses on removing obstacles that might undermine the full realization of the people's potential in addition to peaceful coexistence among citizens (Owens, 2016, p. 13). Liberals have contributed to a wide range of views which involve programs and ideas revolving around freedom in speech, press, religion, civil rights, markets, democracy in societies, gender equality, as well as international corporations.

Right to Security and Liberty

The security and liberty right was initially introduced by Magna Charta in 1215 and later on became utilized by the United States after the declaration of citizen rights in 1789 (Baime, 2014, p. 15). In Magna Charta, the right was guaranteed to marginalized groups such as the feudal noblemen through detention or arrest in order to protect individuals against the powerful people in his regime. The main dimension of an individual's right to liberty is the protection against subjective arrest which was formally established in 1689 as the century Bill of Rights. The right became developed by broadening the scope during the French Revolution in 1789. The right to liberty in France was concerned in guarantying all the citizens of the nation equal constitutional rights in the country. The right also played a crucial role during the Mexican revolution in 1915 since liberty and land were the key slogans used in the revolution.

In the global level, the right of an individual security and liberty became recognized after the first legal creation of Article 9 that was meant to be a universal declaration. Under this article, arbitrary arrest became prohibited in addition to exile whereby individuals would be evicted through short and indistinct provisions (Geary, 2015, p. 21). It further became elaborated at local and international levels by the universal human rights charter for clarification purposes. Under the global human rights implements, the right does not endow complete freedom in case of an arrest and detention. This is due to the fact that depriving citizens their liberty can be a legitimate method of exercising state control to people living in its jurisdiction.

As an alternative, the liberty right plays a substantive role in ensuring that any arrest and detention of an individual is conducted in a lawful manner. Generally, depriving citizens their liberty can only be conducted in accordance with the legal procedures that have been formulated by the domestic law with minimum guarantees being respected. Any individual that has been arrested or detained should be informed prior to his or her arrest with clear reasons being given. Any detained individual is also entitled to a bond before being aligned in a court of law. The detained individual is entitled to an enforceable right which guarantees compensation in case the arrest was conducted in an unlawful manner. Moreover, a person under custody should be aligned in court within the shortest period whereby the judge should offer a release warrant or authorize a detention before the trail is conducted (Cruft, 2015, p. 32).

The Right to Sovereignty from Servitude, Forced Labour, or Slavery

Slavery has been in existence for very long time with the rules regarding the activity being included in the printed Roman Laws. In previous decades, slave trade has been conducted across the globe on large scale measures with slave-like activities being linked to colonialism. These activities had devastating effects on various societies across the world with great impacts being experienced in both the East and Western parts of Africa, Asia, and the Latin American territories. The first human right that became formally protected by the international law was the freedom from slave activities in 1926 (Thiel, 2017, p. 23). The slavery convention took place during this period with the initial mutual human rights agreement being adopted. The main aim was to prevent the trade that was taking place as well as bringing to an end all forms of slavery. Currently, the prohibition of slave-like activities is usually considered as a habitual international law and norm.

Moreover, the international justice court has identified fortification from slavery to be an obligation. The challenging abolition of customary slavery during the 19th and 20th century shows the complexity and controversies that were supposed to be addressed in order to change the ongoing practices thus protecting the rights of people. The act of slavery contains a variety of violations with regard to human rights. During the traditional slave trade, violations such as the sale of children, child pornography, and prostitution, child labour and exploitation, debt bondage, the involvement of children in armed conflicts, human organs auction as well as the trafficking of people were experienced in colonial and apartheid administrations. In the 21st century, approximately 27 million people endure in slave-like conditions whereby they suffer from various dimensions of tied labour (Taylor, 2016, p. 44). Therefore, across the globe, people are sold, unfairly treated, exploited and privately detained for economic gains.

Servitude, on the other hand, covers a wider concept as compared to slavery since it refers to atrocious monetary exploitations that are practiced by an individual towards another. The act denies an individual some level of freedom since it involves serf obligation where one lives as a property solely owned by another without an ability to change the situation. Compulsory labour has been clearly defined under Article 2 of the international law as all the work services that are exacted to a person by another which is against their will (Andreopoulos, 2014, p. 18). Other bodies responsible for the human rights supervision such as the European Court interpret liberty from slavery in various conventions. In essence, through the jurisprudence of the court, it has highly contributed to a comprehensive understanding that differentiates between the compulsory and forced labour. Any form of work should meet the normal civic obligations that do not involve forced labour and must act under the provisions of the international court of human rights justice.

The Right to Movement Freedom

Movement freedom is an elementary human right that has brought about expression in addition to winning endorsement in a broad spectrum of humanitarian instruments. It was legally recognized during the reign of Magna Charta in 1215 and became utilized during the period of the cold war (Goodhart, 2017, p. 52). During that time, an individual had the right to leave a country although it was characterized by conflicts between the Western and Eastern European territories. Issues such as tourism, asylum seekers, aliens and migrant working have brought about restrictive migration attitudes which are increasingly important in exercising this right. Movement freedom usually contains the right of anyone who lawfully lives within a certain territory to freely move within it, with no hindrance or being required to seek permission from responsible authorities. In the international human rights jurisdiction, the movement freedom entails distinct rights which include free movement within a given territory, freedom to choose an area of residence, freedom to leave the country of birth as well as the freedom to return to the country.

Every person has a right to freely live within a given territory in a given state and has a right to relocate without being harassed or intimidated. Citizens living in a certain state are lawfully recognized to be living in a certain territory. According to the Human Rights Commission, an alien who lawfully gets into a country with regularized status is entitled to live within that territory which is according to the law (Owens, 2016, p. 61). An individual is also entitled to lawfully live within a given territory has a right to own a residential place. The individual has a right to choose the place they desire to live with assured protection against any form of required internal eviction.

To sum it up, the state is not entitled to deny access to any individual who freely wants to enter or leave any territory under its jurisdiction (Thiel, 2017, p. 64). The right became successfully appeal to the international human right commission after an individual was denied access to a certain area in his village. In this context, an individual has the right to leave a country which includes his/her own country which may be in form of permanent depart or for a short period of time. An individual is also entitled to a free return to his/her country of birth with the country fully recognizing the relationship that a person may have to their country. Under this right, a person can choose to remain in their native country, return after having left for a while or visit for the first time if they were not born in the country.


Andreopoulos, G.J., 2014. The uses and misuses of human rights: A critical approach to advocacy. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY.

Baime, A.J., 2014. The arsenal of democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an epic quest to arm an America at war. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston.

Cruft, R., 2015. Philosophical foundations of human rights. Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Geary, D., 2015. Beyond civil rights: The Moynihan Report and its legacy. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

Goodhart, D., 2017. The road to somewhere: The populist revolt and the future of politics. Hurst " Company, London.

Owens, B., 2016. Liberalism: Or, how to turn good men into whiners, weenies and wimps. Post Hill Press, Franklin, Tennessee.

Taylor, K.-Y., 2016. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black liberation. Haymarket Books, Chicago, Illinois.

Thiel, M., 2017. European civil society and human rights advocacy. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

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