Fundamental Rights

Human rights are inherent to all people, regardless of their personal, social, economic, etc. conditions. Thus, the Spanish Constitution of 1978 speaks of the existence of “inviolable rights that are inherent” to people (article 10, one of the most important precepts of the Constitution). Human rights are based on the dignity of the individual who, together with the free development of their personality, respect for the law and the rights of others, forms the foundation of the political order and social peace that Spain has endowed according to its constitution.

Among the foundations of this constitutionally established political order are these individual rights, which are inviolable rights and are understood as the minimum that are indispensable for recognizing human dignity. Human rights ensure a scope of autonomy and self-determination equivalent to the recognition of an individual’s own sphere, which should not be intruded upon by bodies foreign to it and must be respected by the powers of the State.

Originally, some philosophers such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau or Thomas Paine argued that there are certain rights of the individual that do not depend on their recognition in contracts or legal norms, but are inherent to human nature itself and are therefore universally attributable to all. The further inclusion of these rights of the individual in constitutional texts had an immediate consequence: the transformation of philosophical principles into legal mandates, i.e. the conversion of human rights into fundamental rights.

Fundamental rights form a basic set of rights, to which relations between people or between groups of people and between these and public authorities must always be adapted. There can be no dignified life without basic rights, which we citizens consider inherent to the common condition of human beings.

It should be pointed out that the very notion of fundamental rights is used in a twofold sense: in a broad, less technically precise way it refers to all the rights that are contained in title I of the Constitution; in a stricter and more legally precise sense, this denomination is reserved for certain constitutional rights that the fundamental norm considers the central nucleus of the legal status of the individual and that are included in a certain section of Title I entitled “Fundamental rights and public liberties.”

Human rights or fundamental rights are universal, incompatible with the superiority of an individual, a people, a group or a social class. Their recognition does not depend on factors such as race, sex, religion, opinion, nationality or any other condition, personal or social circumstance. Being inherent to the person, they are irrevocable, non-negotiable (they cannot be “sold”) and non-waivable. They are legally recognized in Title I of the Constitution, but also in international treaties and in the constitutions of other states.