Rights, Responsibility, Law and Order in 21st Century’s Civil Disobedience

  •  Collins Udeh    


This article seeks to examine and consider- albeit in outline – the nature of an individual’s rights, responsibility and obligation to obey valid law. The fundamental question in this regard lies in the extent to which citizens should be coerced into obedience to unjust laws´ for example; if the law in question deprives them of their human rights. The study therefore, attempts to answer the following questions on the chosen subject: Are there an absolute right, responsibility and obligation to obey the law irrespective of the quality of the law? Is the duty only prima facie? Is there a duty to disobey the law in pursuit of a higher ideal or in pursuit of human rights? Each of these vast and timeless philosophical questions underpins the concepts of rights responsibility and the rule of law in 21st century civil disobedience. The study is based on a review of relevant literature and compilation of other available information on the rule of law. Leaning on Professor Dworkin’s theory, the study concludes that the appropriate response of the State to act of civil disobedience is a difficult matter because in situations like this it is of paramount importance for the state to take into consideration and to respect the opinion of the citizens and society in general especially where even the contentious issue is unconstitutional.

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