You are on page 1of 2

The right to life vs.

capital punishment

Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.The right to life is the fundamental right, of which all other rights are corollaries. The right to life states that you own your own body. It is your property to do with as you please. No one may force you to do anything, no one may injure you in any way, and above all, no one may take your life .The opposite to the right to life is life as a slave, where someone or some people essentially own you -- they can dictate what you do, when you do it, and take your life if they please.It should be noted that rights are guarantees to freedom of actions. They do not provide for anything but freedom of action. Declaration of Independence enshrines three basic rights: the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The right to life is the only fundamental right, from which all other rights are derived. The right to life protects the individuals ability to take all those actions necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of his life. It is based on the idea that life is the standard of moral value. The right to liberty protects the individuals ability to think and to act on his own judgment. It is based on the idea that rationality is mans highest moral virtue. The taking of human life has been strongly condemned by most world religions over the centuries.. The life of an individual is clearly protected from being arbitrarily taken by the state.The right to life is not, however, as inviolable as it might seem at first sight. There are a number of situations where states may deprive individuals of life itself and to which international human rights law does not raise an objection. The use of the death penalty is one such example. Human rights law does not prohibit the use of the death penalty as a punishment for crimes but does encourage its abolition and seek to limit its use. The use of violence in self-defence lies at the base of other justifications for the taking of human life. Killing is permitted at times of war save for the murder of civilians and prisoners of war. Human rights law thus tries to respond to the myriad of ethical dilemmas raised by the right to life by establishing a range of prohibitions and exhortations. Death penalty: The death penalty or capital punishment as it is otherwise known continues to be legitimate and practiced in a number of states around the world. Some states have outlawed the death penalty except for most extreme cases e.x. crimes committed during war. Other states while they may not have outlawed the death penalty, are in practice abolitionist by not actually sentencing offenders to death. Some of the earliest human rights activism, for example, by Amnesty International concerned protecting political prisoners from being sentenced to death for their political beliefs.The death penalty might appear to constitute a violation of the right to life but human rights law falls short of insisting that it does. It leaves states the option to impose the death penalty but urges them to move towards abolition and also imposes certain limits on the way in which the death penalty can be imposed. Capital punishment: - may only be imposed for the most serious crimes, pursuant to a final judgement rendered by a court and providing it is not contrary to the provisions of human rights law e.g. not a crime of genocide. - anyone sentenced to death has the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence; - death sentence is not to be imposed on anyone below the age of 18 or carried out on pregnant women. Even for states which have agreed to abolish the death penalty, human rights law appears ambiguous, allowing them in some statutes to make reservations maintaining the right to use the death penalty at times of war for example. At the same time, the use of the death penalty is totally prohibited from use by the various international criminal courts, like the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Court. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly declared in article three:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms enshrined that Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person andd the right not to be deprived there of except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.The death penalty is incompatible with human rights and human dignity in my opinion the death penalty should be abolisched because it violates the right to life which happens to be the most basic of all human rights. It also violates the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. Furthermore, the death penalty undermines human dignity which is inherent to every human being..

Historical dates 1786 - death penalty abolished in Toscany 1787 - death penalty abolished in Austria 1847 - the state of Michigan (USA) first English-speaking territory in the world to abolish capital punishment 1948 - Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes the right to life 1985 - Council of Europe adopts Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights on the abolition of the death penalty 1989 - Second Optional Protocol to ICCPR on the abolition of the death penalty adopted by the UN General Assembly 2000 - Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights on the abolition of the death penalty 2003 - International Criminal Court