Citizens are members of a certain state and are formally recognised by
that state. The concept of citizenship is therefore legalistic.
Citizens are individuals who have a legal status within the state.
They are granted certain rights and in return must perform certain
duties. The range and balance between the rights granted and duties
they are supposed to perform, vary from state to state and time to
time. For example, in war time the rights and obligations of a citizen
would be different that of a citizen in peace time.
Natural rights are rights that political philosophers argue are
universally applicable to all societies. The origins of these rights
is said to be found in the essential nature of human beings or in laws
given by God. John Locke argued that before there were political
societies, human beings existed in a state of nature in which
god-given natural laws and rights existed. These laws and rights were
to be the basis of societies that were created in the future. Locke
claimed that life, liberty and property were natural rights. Problems
with these rights are that it is hard to prove that a state of nature
Some political philosophers believe that the only rights that exist
are rights given to citizens by the state. Positive rights require
actions on the part of others. For example the right to healthcare
demands that someone acts as a doctor.
Human Rights in the UK
Citizens in the UK are guaranteed a certain set of rights that define
there existence as part of the state. Unlike in the USA and many other
places, UK human right...
... middle of paper ...
...is on the view that citizens have
responsibilities. For example when the Welfare to Work legislation was
proposed, ministers stressed that people had the responsibility to
work since, by working, they would be able to make a valuable
contribution to society. Labour devised the idea that awareness of
citizenship should be incorporated into education. However the
practice of this has been highly criticised by several groups.
Labour has designed the compulsory citizenship programme for 110000
immigrants who apply each year to become naturalised Britains.
Immigrants can apply for citizenship after living legally in the UK
for 5 years. The intention is that these classes will teach immigrants
about citizenship and about dealing with life in the UK. Trials for
this scheme began in eight areas around the UK in January 2004.
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