Wednesday, October 19, 2011
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?