There is a common misunderstanding about the interpretation of rights and responsibilities. At first consideration, it is possible to think that, these two terms can be interchanged. However, that is not the case. There happens to be a distinct contrast between these two terms which includes ethical standards, moral as well as legal determinations.
Privileges which are predominately grated to individuals by governing bodies are referred to as rights. In general, they are written into law. For instance, a Democratic country may grant its citizens a “right” to choose their own government by voting. In a similar manner, a government may grant its citizens a right to free speech. The same case applies to owning both tangible and intangible things like buildings, a car or even literally work (Jakubowski, pg. 16). Individuals may also be granted rights on the unique basis by anybody or any organization that is in governance. For instance, employers or partners may grant rights on the basis of contracts. They are all built around a framework supported by law and can be challenged or even defended in a court of law.
Responsibility, on the other hand, comes after rights are granted. Keeping in mind that rights are grated on the basis of an agreed set of conduct as well as obligations, mutual respect and cooperation is expected (Dwyer, pg. 25). For that matter, a right does not allow an individual or a governing body to do or say anything that comes to their minds. Rather, it acts as a framework or a foundation on which a given society defines and structures itself. In connection to that, it is vital for every right to manifest itself through a series of duties or obligations that come out from a specific set law. These duties or obligations are commonly referred to as responsibilities.
It is possible for responsibilities to be limited to a number of duties which are assigned an instructor. Similarly, they can be broad in a way that, the entire society counts on how they are executed considering their ethical and moral accountability (Dwyer, pg. 36). It, therefore, means that a responsibility can be assigned to a particular person, or assumed by a certain person or even applied to a particular individual. Again, it can be implied in a broader context where the societal behavior comes in the picture. Regardless whether it’s in a form a legal framework or social behavior, responsibility is important to ensure that duties are executed and things are accomplished. This shows that there is a symbiotic relationship between rights and responsibility that is impossible to separate.
Considering that the primary difference between a duty and responsibility is that rights are based on the granted privileges whereas responsibility is based on accountability, it is important for a person to perform their duty so as their rights are protected. People should be responsible for obeying laws, attending schools, paying taxes, respecting one another etc. so that they can respect their rights of freedom of speech, press, expression among others.
In conclusion, a right is a granted privilege by a governing body to its citizens and it is written into a law. On the other hand, an individual is responsible to fulfill the obligations that come with enjoying their rights. Again, rights can be challenged and defended in a court of law whereas responsibilities can neither be challenged nor defended. Finally, a right is based on the granted privilege to an individual while responsibility is based on accountability.
Jakubowski, Patricia, and Arthur J. Lange. The Assertive Option: Rights & Responsibilities. Research PressPub, 2016.
Dwyer, Peter. Welfare rights and responsibilities: Contesting social citizenship. Bristol: Policy, 2017.