In the Constitution

The fundamental rights and duties included within the civil liberties are based on the principle of equality in the eyes of the law and encompass both rights as well as limits and prohibitions. For example, the right to life entails the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment. Freedom of speech and information also involves the prohibition of prior censorship. Individual freedoms are additionally set forth, such as the freedom of conscience; collective freedoms, such as the freedom of holding meetings, forming associations with others and freely joining a trade union.

There are also fundamental duties. For example, for exercising the right of holding meetings in public places and promoting demonstrations, the authority must be previously informed, no prior authorization however being necessary, although the authority may prohibit a demonstration, but solely on the grounds of well-founded reasons concerning the alteration of public order endangering persons or properties.

In certain cases, a fundamental right requires the public powers not limiting themselves to not interfering, being under the obligation, to the contrary, to intervene. For example, the fundamental right to education – the end purpose of which is the full development of the personality in respect for the democratic principles of peaceful coexistence – encompasses the right to free basic education, which is also compulsory for all.

Therefore, the public powers must provide this basic education free of charge if the social conditions so require, as is generally the case. There are also fundamental rights of a twofold nature, being both a right and an obligation, such as the right as well as the obligation of working.

There are principles governing social and economic policy which are proclaimed as fundamental rights, such as the right to health protection, to access to culture and to enjoy an appropriate environment, to enjoy a decent dwelling. Others take the form of mandates to the public powers, such as that of politically providing for the planning, treatment, rehabilitation and integration of persons who have physical, sensory, intellectual or mental impairments.

The fundamental rights are binding for us all, for citizens and for the public powers. But three special mandates also fall to the public powers in this regard: to promote the conditions for real, true freedom and equality; to remove the obstacles preventing or hindering full freedom and equality, and to facilitate active involvement of all in the political, economic, cultural and social life.