Guarantee of Human Security

A new revised version of the idea (feel free to suggest changes): 

The state’s responsibility to protect its citizens from violence within or without is contingent on the concept of human security. Any limitations on individual liberties must be rooted in this basic value. 

- The people of the UK have the right to be safe: safe from harassment, intimidation and physical assault. In order for the state to take possible and appropriate measures to preserve this, it has the right to maintain its own civil police and armed forces. These forces are accountable to the people and serve to protect their security. This must moreover to be underpinned by an independent criminal justice system and judiciary.

- Human security entails that the state has a fundamental responsibility to ensure basic minimum living standards for its citizens. These obligations are essential for citizens to exercise their civil and political rights and freedoms. Such obligations include universal access to education, health care and a social safety net. 

- Central to the realisation of human security is the state’s responsibility to ensure the sustainability of the natural environment for current and future generations.

- Human security extends to security and privacy online.

- The security of the people is rooted in the protection of their livelihoods, and articulated in the international conventions to which the United Kingdom is a signatory.

 

Below is the original idea (not revised):

The state’s responsibility to protect its citizens from violence within or without is contingent on the concept of human security. Any limitations on individual liberties must be rooted in this basic value

1) The state has a fundamental responsibility to ensure basic minimum living standards for its citizens.

2) These obligations are essential for citizens to exercise their civil and political rights and freedoms.

3) Such obligations include universal access to education, health care and a social safety net, and must be underpinned by an independent criminal justice system and judiciary.

4) Central to the realisation of human security is the state’s responsibility to ensure the sustainability of the natural environment for current and future generations.

5) Human security extends to security and privacy online.

6) The security of the people is rooted in the protection of their livelihoods, and articulated in the international conventions to which the United Kingdom is a signatory.

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This statement written and approved by 27 votes to 8 on January 15, when www.constitutionuk.com was launched.  

edited on Apr 10, 2015 by Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir

Cecilia Rossler Apr 8, 2015

Note to all users: We are now in Phase II of this project. If an idea has reached this stage, it has been accepted in principle and the aim is now to refine the idea into a succinct clause that could go in the constitution. You may still cast votes, but we ask that you refrain from debating the overall merits of the idea in the comments section.

Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir Apr 8, 2015

After haven taken into consideration the comments posted in the previous phase, I have come up with this suggested redraft. Please feel free to come up with other suggestions:

"The state’s responsibility to protect its citizens from violence within or without is contingent on the concept of human security. Any limitations on individual liberties must be rooted in this basic value. 

- The people of the UK have the right to be safe: safe from harassment, intimidation and physical assault. In order to preserve this the state has the right to maintain its own civil police and armed forces. These forces are accountable to the people and serve to protect their security. This must moreover to be underpinned by an independent criminal justice system and judiciary.

- Human security entails that the state has a fundamental responsibility to ensure basic minimum living standards for its citizens. These obligations are essential for citizens to exercise their civil and political rights and freedoms. Such obligations include universal access to education, health care and a social safety net. 

- Central to the realisation of human security is the state’s responsibility to ensure the sustainability of the natural environment for current and future generations.

- Human security extends to security and privacy online.

- The security of the people is rooted in the protection of their livelihoods, and articulated in the international conventions to which the United Kingdom is a signatory.

 

 

John Z Apr 8, 2015

The way it is written, it appears that this is an absolute right, and any violent act occurring may result in a lawsuit against the government/government agencies/police due to the failure of providing said Constitutional right.  Perhaps I would include the phrase that the government shall take "reasonable measures" to ensure security of the person, with the person in return taking "reasonable measures" to ensure their own security too;  this way, it is not an absolute right, thus no person can expect absolute security.  I also add that the person shall act "reasonably" as well (for example, avoiding a potentially dangerous situation).  Thus, if a person is a victim of a crime, as long as the government/police demonstrate that they had "reasonable measures" in place to attempt to ensure the safety of the person, then that would absolve them of liability.

Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir Apr 9, 2015

Thank you for your interest in this matter John.

I agree with you that it is not practical to have this an absolute right, that puts too much responsibility on the government. I think it's a good idea to say 'responsible measures' in regard to the government.

On the other hand I think we should be very careful in connecting responsibility to victims. If we say a victim should have taken responsible measures in order to prevent a violation to himself, we have entered a grey area of blameworthiness. Personally, I believe the blameworthiness always lies 100% with the aggressor. 

Take for example rape cases. When individuals are raped they are often asked what they were wearing or how drunk they were, implying that some of the blame/responsibility lies with them. This I believe is unacceptable, because a violation of your right should never have the possibility to be on you. Someone is taking measures to impose violence on you, and it is not you responsibility to prevent that from happening, it is the aggressors responsibility not to impose violence. 

John Z Apr 9, 2015

But similarly, (for example) if a person is walking around a "rough" part of town during the after-hours holding and showing a wad of cash (as they do have a legal right to do so), and then the person gets mugged, true the blame is on the aggressor, but the victim showed some really poor judgment here.  The victim acted unreasonably, and certainly their judgment was negligent.  How can this person blame the government here. 

Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir Apr 9, 2015

I absolutely agree with you that the government is not to blame in this case, the government should nonetheless handle such criminal matters in the criminal justice system. The government has to make sure the right institutions are in place to be able to protect the security of its citizen in the best way possible, and punish those who do violate the rights of others. Making the government fulfil that role does not put blameworthiness on the government. That has to be clear in this clause. 

 

John Z Apr 9, 2015

Agreed.  But would you also add a clause within the provision of the person acting "reasonably" under a circumstance as well?  This way in the context of a victim suing the government for not having the proper institutions in place for the security of the person, at least it gives the government the legal tool to include "unreasonableness" or "negligence" by the person as an "affirmative defense".

Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir Apr 9, 2015

When one is a victim of violence such as we have mentioned (rape or mugging), there is no reason for these individuals to sue the state. They sue the individual that was the aggressor. What the government does is provide the institutions to be able to do that. There lies the government protection in these cases. No one is talking about suing the government in such individual cases. 

I don't understand how having a clause about acting reasonably would change the role/responsibility of the government in any way in individual cases. Are you saying that because the person in the shady neighbourhood did not act 'reasonably', he or she should not have the right to sue (overseen by the government in the justice system)? I don't understand how this reasonableness is relevant. Everyone deserves justice no matter how unreasonably they acted as free individuals going about their business. 

It would be nice to hear other people's opinion on this matter. For example TomPeach-Geragthy, what do you think? 

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John Z Apr 9, 2015

What I am saying is if the state has a Constitutional "responsibility" or an "obligation" to protect the people, then that creates a "right of action" by the people for the government's alleged failure to protect them.  Yes, the victim can sue the perpetrator, but the Constitutional "obligation" falls with the government (not the aggressor).  Today, there is no such "obligation", thus there is no "right of action" against the government.  So the thing to be concerned about is that a Constitutional "right" also gives a person a "right of action", so we must be cautious as to how Constitutional "rights" are phrased.   

View all replies (5)

BananaPlant Apr 11, 2015

Do non UK citizens have this guarantee as well?    :)

Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir Apr 11, 2015

I would assume they do under UK soil, but since the UK government is not the world government they cannot guarantee this security to citizens of other countries that are resident there. Do you have a suggestion on how we can change the wording so this is clear? 

BananaPlant Apr 12, 2015

Hi Salka,

"Do you have a suggestion on how we can change the wording so this is clear? "

I don't know how, I hope that others will or the system could collapse if we are not careful.

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