|Rights and Duties of the Citizen
Constitutional Liberties and Individual Fundamental Rights
The principles of liberty and inviolable human rights permeate the common roots of the eighteenth-century revolutions: the American revolution for the independence of the United States and the French Revolution of 1789. Already in the revolutionary declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen in 1789 the citizen's liberty against the judgement and abuse of authority is guaranteed as a fundamental right: ``men are born and remain free and equal in their rights''.
Human rights have been the object of various solemn international proclamations. Examples such as the ``universal declaration of human rights'' approved by the United Nation's General Assembly on 10 December 1948 and the ``European convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental liberties'' of 1950 may be quoted. To such international declarations Italy has fully adhered, particularly as the principles they contained were already largely enshrined in her Constitution.
In the Italian Constitution liberty is considered as an essential condition for the full development of each person (Article 3) and must be guaranteed both to the individual and groups in the form of an inviolable right.
Limitations on personal liberty must be clearly defined by the law and authorized by the judiciary.
Each constitutional liberty imposes on the citizen an equal duty to protect the law. Hence the right of association carries with it the duty to meet legally and peacefully, also in public places. Freedom of residence, movement and stay provide the citizen with the inviolable choice of home, work and travel both in Italy and abroad.
Freedom of Communication
Freedom of thought and communication are covered by the right of access to information in the press or other mass means. The right to all forms of intellectual communication is balanced by reservations on certain transmissions; such rights and duties assume a particular importance today due to the development and use of sophisticated technology.
Constitutional liberties and their derivative civil duties have their only limit in the law and are guaranteed by the judiciary. Restrictions on liberty must therefore be provided for by the law and authorized by the judiciary according to the rules generally followed by every `legal state'.
Political, Economic and Social Rights
A democracy has not only recognized its citizens certain fundamental rights but must also ensure their peaceful exercise. Political rights, therefore, assume a role of `guarantee' because they permit the citizen to participate in the choice of representation and political decisions. The following rights can thus be classed as political: the above mentioned freedom of opinion, vote, and exercise of public function following nomination or election.
The Constitution also recognizes that the citizen has certain economic rights: the ownership of property and freedom to take economic initiatives, within legal limits; to make savings and have them protected; to receive co-operation; and to work. The latter carries with it considerable implications: representation and trade union protection of professional interests, just compensation, equality of treatment, collaboration in management and social security.
Also of relevance is the arrangement of the social order. Whether this be the recognition of the rights of the family, defined as a `natural society', or the State's assumption of certain social obligations, such as assistance, planning and control. The law can in fact impose limits on ownership and economic initiatives in the name of solidarity and the general social good.
In the economic field, as will shortly be seen, public initiative plays a role in creating and promoting activities, also by the implementation of programmes. Along with the country's increasing development there has been a corresponding intervention of public powers in order to stimulate and sustain selected private economic activities, particularly in depressed regions and sectors in crisis.
Public Duties of the Citizen
It is only rarely that the civil life of a community is founded solely on repression and fear of legal sanctions. Most social organizations are based on the spontaneous adhesion of a majority of its members and on a respect for the rules governing corporate social life. Public duties, even when supported by penalties, must be firmly rooted in the national civil conscience. These duties can be roughly divided in three categories: those that require the citizen to be a convinced supporter of the fundamental principles underlying the functioning of the State; those that oblige the citizen to make a personal contribution; and those requiring a financial payment.
Loyalty to the Republic, respect and observance of the law and enjoyment of rights within legally established limits are consequences of a political, economic and social solidarity that is at the heart of a democratic state. Without this spontaneous support for the values represented by the State, the structures controlling public powers and organizing public actions would be undermined and the way left open for radical political and institutional change.
Such duties extend, however, also to individual citizens because they form an integral part of a citizen's obligations. As for example in the following two cases: a) duties of personal service, including voting, defending the country, military service, education, health controls and carrying out with discipline and honesty legal public functions; and b) duties of material and financial control, including paying taxes according to one's means and being restricted in the acquisition of wealth for the public good.