Article 6: Legal Recognition

  • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

To understand article 6, we must understand what the definition of a person is. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word ‘Person’ means: ‘A human being regarded as an individual.’  If you were not regarded as a person before the law, you wouldn’t be entitled to any of the other rights, as Human Rights only apply to Human Beings. Therefore this right ensures that no one can legally strip you of your legal rights, whether that be your human rights or the rights you have within your country.

Many violations against this right occurred during World War II. The Nazis used enforced disappearances to silence the resistance. Enforced disappearance is the term used for when someone is abducted or arrested by a state or a political organization that afterward refuses to acknowledge it as illegal.  The Nazis would in the middle of the night with no warning, kidnap civilians and remove them from their homes. This was an operation they called “Nacht und Nebel”. The civilians would be taken to prison, concentration camps, etc. without having a hearing, trial or even knowing why they were detained and oftentimes killed. Their families would not know where they were taken or what happened to them. This is a violation of article 6 because enforced disappearances strip you of any of your legal rights and protection. It is very hard to hold the state or political organization accountable for using enforced disappearances, because when people just vanish, it is hard to evidently prove who is responsible, and the state or political organization will of course not acknowledge themselves as guilty. 

Enforced disappearances are still happening today in many countries most notably in Syria and Sri Lanka. This is an example of why article 6, is of paramount importance for all human rights regarding legal matters. It means that whoever or wherever in the world a person is, the person is entitled to the same level of legal protection and rights as everybody else.

Written by Nanna Orloff Mortensen

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