Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Death Penalty: A Human Rights Violation

October 10, 2011 marked the 35th year that the United States reinstated capital punishment. Human Rights Watch expresses its discontent with the death penalty, explaining that it is a fundamental human rights abuse:

"Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all countries and in all circumstances because the inherent dignity of the person is inconsistent with the death penalty. This form of punishment is unique in its cruelty and finality, and it is inevitably and universally plagued with arbitrariness, prejudice, and error."

There are many reasons, Human Rights Watch explains, why the death penalty is a violation of human rights. First, many innocent people have been unjustly killed because of the Death Penalty. Second, the death penalty violates the right to life found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights treaties. Third, the authorities often times discriminate based upon race, poverty, and geography; which can lead to the difference between life and death. For all these reasons, the death penalty is used less and less as a means of punishment in the United States.

I believe that the death penalty is a violation of human rights. Not only this, but punishing people upon death seems like a very barberic and ancient way of punishing people; and certainly does not help create the type of civil world we want to live in.

Of course, there are some real strong counter-arguments. Paying for murderers to live out their life in jail hardly seems fair. And, it is certainly a strong incentive not to commit crimes. Nonetheless, I still believe that the negatives of the death penalty greatly outweigh the positives. Any thoughts? Is the death penalty a human rights violation?


arabianknight said...

This is a very daring post. I believe the death penalty is a human rights violation only when it is given to innocent people. You may respond by asking, 'how do you make sure it's done fairly?' And honestly, I do not have a good answer for that. However, I disagree with the notion that the bad things about the penalty outweighs the good, because I believe the worst thing in our society are crimes and people who commit crimes. If the best way to ensure that they do not commit those crimes and to 'threaten' them or 'make examples' out of others, so be it. Death penalty, when implemented the right way, is not a human rights violations.

Rukhshana said...

I agree with you, Ross. I am very against the death penalty because I think it's wrong to simply execute criminals. I agree and do think that it is barbaric. I don't think that it's fair the death penalty is sentenced to serial killers because I don't think it's a black and white issue, which is the serial killers have clearly killed multiple people and thus deserve to be executed (obvious eye for an eye judgment). I think it's a much more complicated issue and has some grey areas. I have always believed that the court never takes into the psyche of the serial killer's mind. A normal person doesn't have a desire to kill innocent people so when there are individuals who have his thinking, something HAS to be wrong with their brain, something wrong with their hormone balance. So, when such people are just executed without a mental evaluation- I just think it's wrong. Obviously, I don't know what the solution should be then. An interesting movie that explores the death penalty is "The Life of David Gale." Check it out if you have time.

HumanRightsAdvocate23 said...

I believe that the death penalty is a human rights violation.

The death penalty diminishes the humanity of everyone it touches. Furthermore, mistakes can be made in our legal and crime systems, but the death penalty is permeant. Numerous individuals involved in cases that were up for the death penalty have been shown to be innocent. Moreover, historically the death penalty has disproportionately fallen on poor people and people of color.