European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Your rights

We all live in a country and are part of a society.

We all live in a country and are part of a society. Both the country and the society are comprised of people, so in the big picture, I can say that I am the country and society I live in. There are different forms of government and one is sure- although freedom is important, rules and norms that are meant for everybody are of the same importance. This is the so called system of rights and obligations of what every individual has to follow. It can be said that rights are created to coordinate human behaviour.

So what are my rights? A persons rights are regulated by different levels – we follow Estonian Republic laws and after joining the European Union, we are also affected by European Union directives. Democratic forms of government divides rights to different parts – positive and subjective rights, which are dealt by law. The most important law, which regulates the rights and obligations of the citizens, is the constitution.

What are every person’s rights? For example, every person has the right of freedom of speech and freedom of thought, the right to express an opinion, right of a home, immunity for private life and right for education, right to choose sexual and religious preferences. In addition, every person has the right to learn and work in every member state of EU and receive equal treatement. Every worker has the right for safe workplace, every citizen has the right of help from police and ambulance, also free access to information and right to return merchandise in two weeks after the purchase. People have a lot of rights and these are necessary to regulate the discourse of physical and legal persons, restrict evolvement of monopolies and to assure certain normative behaviour between different institutions and individuals. Children have also their own rights - for example the child has the right to be protected by the fights held by parents, has the right to socialize with both parents, not to take sides or to be the messenger.

As mentioned beforehand, in addition to rights, people also have obligations, which are as important. The biggest obligation is to abide law. Parents have to obligation to raise their children, workers have to obligation to work, students have the obligation to attend school, police has the obligation to help. Therefore police has a lot of work – there is always somebody, who knows their rights, but does not abide their obligations.

National rights and obligations are applied to every citizen. But in addition to this, every person has different rules and rights in their heart, which can not be written down or regulated. These are our inner feelings, thoughts, ethics and morality. For example, it is the inner belief to call your friends and family every week.

How high is our inner right and equity feeling, is often expressed by how we know our rights and obligations on national level. The more aware we are, the better citizens and people we are to ourselves and our country.