Protection of rights in democracies

Protection of Rights in Democracies

Constitutional Safeguards:

  • In democracies, one of the primary means of rights protection is through constitutional safeguards where rights are enshrined at the highest legal level.
  • The US is an example of this, with a ‘bill of rights’ incorporated into its constitution.


  • Rights can also be protected through legislation passed by the country’s legislature, such as the Human Rights Act 1998 in the UK.
  • This act incorporated elements of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.

Judicial System:

  • The judiciary also plays a key role in enforcing these rights via judicial review, scrutinising governmental actions to ensure they align with current legislation.
  • The formation of the UK Supreme Court in 2009 has heightened a focus on judicial protection of rights.

Independent Bodies/Commissions:

  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in the UK helps uphold and advance equality and human rights.
  • These bodies offer a further check and protective mechanism for rights in democratic nation.

International Agreements/Treaties:

  • Rights can also be protected on the international level through treaties and agreements, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) or the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Notably, these international commitments often exert considerable influence on the domestic policies of democratic nations.

Pressure Groups and Advocacy:

  • Within society, pressure groups and advocacy organisations have a major role in protecting and highlighting issues related to rights.
  • Organisations like Liberty in the UK or the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the US campaign extensively on rights issues.

Remember, the protection of rights in democracies remains a complex topic, reflecting many interconnected mechanisms and entities working towards safeguarding these rights. Review these bullet points regularly to ensure you possess a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.