Unit 4 – Law in Community

Law in Community

In previous units, we discovered how the law acts as a fundamental pillar in structuring society by promoting fair standards to meet the needs of all. Now, in this final unit, we’ll look at several different themes to get an idea of how our rights and responsibilities can influence our daily lives.

Rights and Responsibilities

At birth, every individual enjoys fundamental rights that ensure his or her needs and preserve his or her dignity. As they grow older, they also acquire duties and obligations towards society. These rights, duties, and responsibilities are essential to maintaining a harmonious and just society, offering a secure environment where everyone can flourish and live to the full. Rights are permissions recognized and protected by law or morality, such as the right to freedom of expression or the right to privacy. Duties, on the other hand, are moral or legal obligations to be fulfilled, such as providing quality medical care or paying taxes. Obligations encompass both rights and duties, underlining the interconnection between those who have rights and those who have corresponding duties.

Human Rights

Human rights received renewed attention in the wake of the atrocities of the Second World War, prompting the world community to agree on universal human rights standards.
Despite the long history of human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is the governing legal document today, was only adopted and proclaimed in 1948, making it a relatively recent development. Since then, international agreements have been reached on other important human rights instruments, such as the European Convention on Human Rights (1950) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990).
In law, human rights are ethical principles or standards that define the characteristics of the human situation and the dignity that accompanies us from birth to death. They are also, universally and indelibly, the property of all. They advocate respect, equality, freedom, justice and peace in the world.

Public Order Violation

The law establishes formal sanctions for those who infringe legal rules, thus ensuring compliance with established standards, the maintenance of order and the protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms. This deterrence is designed to prevent violations of laws and regulations. Violations of public order, which disrupt the functioning and tranquility of society, can vary in severity and require appropriate sanctions defined by law to maintain social cohesion and public safety.

Substances Addiction

Addiction is a recurring problem in almost all societies, characterized by a chronic and treatable medical condition involving complex interactions between brain circuitry, genetics, environment and individual life experiences. It manifests as an inability to stop an activity or the use of something, often harmful. There are two main types of addiction: substance dependence and behavioral addictions. Substance dependence involves a physical dependence on a chemical substance, while behavioral addictions are compulsive behaviors with negative consequences. While behavioral addictions do not generally give rise to legal sanctions, addictive substances can be legal, illegal or decriminalized.

Virtual World

Social media were originally conceived as a platform for reconnecting with old friends, making new ones, and discovering groups with shared interests. They offer a wealth of information and give everyone a voice, facilitating rapid and intense connections between individuals, promoting the exchange of opinions, and the dissemination of news in real-time. However, negative aspects have emerged, partly due to anonymity, which can encourage negative comments and lead to cyberbullying and the spread of hate speech. At the European level, an ongoing debate is addressing these aspects of social media platforms, with initiatives such as the EU Code of Conduct against online hate speech and the Code of Good Practice on Disinformation to combat misinformation and fake news.

Workers' Rights

Workers’ rights are fundamental to ensuring respect for human dignity and an appropriate working environment. They result from a long struggle by trade unions to guarantee labour protection, worker organization, health and safety at work, work-life balance, and equal opportunities. Within the EU, labour law plays an essential role in governing the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers, ensuring standards such as protection against exploitation, fair pay, paid and annual leave, the right to organize, and health and safety at work for millions of workers. As the world of work evolves with new business structures and models, the EU ensures a uniform defence of these rights across all its member states, guaranteeing consistent rules and protections.

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