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Which Laws Protect Citizens from Human Rights Violations?

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Which Laws Protect Citizens from Human Rights Violations?

Everyone is familiar with the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and the statements found in it. This declaration seeks to clearly indicate the rights of birth and obtainment that every person born into the world should have, ensuring equality and opportunity for all.

In turn, they protect the basic desires of each person and their future. Equality, freedom, the right to express an opinion and many more are the concepts that the signatory countries are committed to protecting.

However, this declaration is not enough to function from the national legal framework, being reduced to a document that can be violated by the condition that each nation is free to govern itself. Therefore, it is necessary for the government of each country not only to approve such a declaration but also to issue laws designed to safeguard its citizens against abuses of their basic rights.

The United States of America is not very different from other nations in this area, possessing a wide range of laws that protect the citizen. Here we will seek to know these laws in depth in order to be able to resort to them if necessary.

The Constitution and its amendments

The first protective document of human rights in U.S. law is the Constitution. Within it, the inalienability of basic human rights is recognized.

Rights such as freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion, protection from cruel punishment, and the right to a jury are some of the rights this document protects.

As time has passed, amendments have been added to include new constitutional rights or to safeguard existing ones, creating a fairly comprehensive human rights document.

Amendments 1 through 10 can be taken as basic, representing “The Bills of Rights”. Among them are recognized basic human rights such as the right to a trial, freedom of religion and expression, and right to bear arms.

Years later the thirteenth amendment was added (1865) where slavery was abolished in the country, followed by the fourteenth amendment in 1868 which sought to enunciate the rights of citizenship and equal protection under the law.

In 1870, the fifteenth amendment was added, which prohibited federal and state governments from denying the vote to a citizen based on race, colour or condition of service. Finally, the nineteenth amendment in 1920 gave women the right to vote, preventing the prohibition of this right based on sex.

Although the Constitution seems to be very clear on these principles, the U.S. Supreme Court has previously indicated that there are rights found within the Constitution but not explicitly. Among them are the presumption of innocence and the right to movement within and outside the country.

Civil Rights Act (1964)

The Human Rights Act of 1964 was a major step forward for human rights in the United States. It protected citizens from discrimination on various grounds such as race, color, religion, sex or national origin. 

In addition to this, it also put an end to all the processes that called for unequal application in society, such as registration for voting, racial segregation in various fields, etc.

Citizens with Disabilities (Act of 1990)

The United States Code, mainly in its title 42, Chapter 126, talks about the protection that individuals with disabilities enjoy against discrimination. It ensures equal opportunity for each individual, preventing segregation of these individuals in society.

Age Discrimination in Employment (Act of 1967)

Once again, another Act was found in the United States Code. In Title 28, Chapter 14 we can find a section between sections 621 to 634 that speaks of the protection that citizens have against age discrimination in obtaining employment.

This allows equal hiring opportunities for all individuals based on their meritocracy and not on the age of a worker.

Equal Pay (Act of 1963)

Another of the acts found within the United States Code, mainly in Title 29, Chapter 8 of fair labour standards. In section 206, specifically, there is a section that clearly indicates employment discrimination, especially based on sex.

This seeks to ensure that all workers receive a salary according to the activities they perform in the company, ignoring the sex of the worker.

Are there additional laws protecting human rights in the USA?

Within U.S. legislation, we can likely find a great deal of human rights protection for each of the laws. Although these laws seek to protect the basic rights of every human being, they are mainly in charge of avoiding inequality or discrimination in society.

Even in some cases, the laws do not explicitly express certain protected rights, but they always seek to safeguard every citizen. After all, basic rights of this type are what mark the evolution of modern society.

This will not only equal opportunities for all are sought, but also letting each individual can end up providing knowledge to the country.

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